Flanked by rustic stone columns and carved lions, 5 Seasons Brewing's entrance looks like the secluded front to a Napa Valley villa, belying its cozy atmosphere and community-focused mission to provide tasty, affordable food and drink. Founded by chef David Larkworthy—son of a pioneering advocate of using organic food in restaurants—Five Seasons Brewing carries its commitment to community to its ingredients, cooking with a cornucopia of regularly shifting local produce from a gaggle of affiliated farms. The menu features such fusion dishes as crispy alligator served with a blackened chili glaze and Remoulade. At tables, guests dig in to home-baked bread, whose warm crust exudes tangy scents from the brewery's spent beer grain.
In the towering tanks that skirt the pub, brewmaster Kevin McNerney creates a kaleidoscopic selection of unique small-batch beers. The cofounder of flagship Georgia brewer SweetWater, McNerney brings two decades of experience to his craft, making refreshing brews such as the Chug Monkey and turning to ancient Belgian traditions to make his crisp, orange-infused witbier.
When Wine Shoe owners Nora and Shannon Wiley started planning the shop's design, they wanted something that would blend their worldly travels with the historic culture of the surrounding Castleberry Hill neighborhood. The result was promptly recognized by Atlanta magazine, which compared Wine Shoe to a "private wine cellar in France stocked with wines from all over the world."
Today, the facility's floor-to-ceiling wine wall stands as a new challenge to rock climbers and as a stunning backdrop to an assortment of wine-related activities, including classes that drew more than 3,000 total students during 2011. Many of those students gathered around Wine Shoe's 12-foot rustic table, where, sitting beneath a glistening bronze and crystal chandelier, they paired sips with scrumptious hunks of education.
The shop carries more than 150 different wines, the majority of which come from small producers. It also keeps its door open to pooches, as Nora and Shannon's security dog, Beeren, is always looking for new buddies with whom to discuss the nuanced flavors of rawhide bones.
A night on the town can take many directions: dinner can lead to a comedy show, dancing can transition to quiet drinks in a shadowy booth, a raucous concert can segue into a slice of pizza. Hitting all those spots in one night, however, can require a small fortune in cab fare. Not at the Andrews Entertainment District. Like a toddler trying to draw their city, this 30,000-square-foot nightlife oasis puts eight restaurants, bars, and clubs under one roof.
Patrons sample sushi and infused Russian vodkas atop the frozen counter of Czar Ice Bar or dig into eclectic small plates from around the world at Cellar 56. Prohibition, meanwhile, serves classic cocktails in an environment reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy, complete with plush leather furniture. Nearby, Atlanta's branch of the Improv Comedy Club hosts jokesters on nationwide tours while Andrew's Upstairs fuels floor-thumping dance parties late into the night.
The moonshine is always flowing at P'cheen. Bartenders at this local bistro create seasonal cocktails from a selection of 10 or more moonshines, with flavors that include cherry, apple pie, and black tea. They also serve a full list of classic cocktails, such as the speakeasy old fashioned—a mix of bourbon, angostura + orange bitters—and craft beers. In the kitchen, chef Alex prepares a menu of international fusion dishes that complement the throwback libations. His specialties change with the season, since he sources many of his ingredients locally, but may include gazpacho made with local veggies, Guinness-battered fish and chips, and braised short ribs. Brunch is a favorite among regulars, with bottomless mimosas and a good mix of breakfast and lunch foods.
At Hop City Craft Beer and Wine, staff members weave through a forest of bottle-lined shelves and coolers, seeking out perennial favorites or new, hidden gems for each customer. In addition to more than 1,700 varieties of beer, Hop City features an assortment of specialty grains, yeasts, and hops for home brewing, earning it a World-Class rating from Beer Advocate. As many as 60 functional taps line one of the store's walls, allowing patrons to fill growlers with their choice of macro- or microbrew, such as the Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA or the Avery Czar Imperial Russian stout. Divided by style and California Raisin content, a nearly 800-bottle-strong wine selection fills its own impressive space.
The Great Urban Race is a one-day event pitting teams of two against one another in a race combining physical challenges, scavenger hunts, and puzzles. Up to 700 twosomes will traverse 4 to 8 miles of Toronto terrain on foot and by public transportation as they solve 12 challenging clues in a fun quest to reach the finish line first. Sample clues and challenges from past Great Urban Races include charades, bubble-gum chewing, pig Latin deciphering, bicycle races, and word scrambles, making this race ideal for competitive eaters and cryptographers alike. Teams are encouraged to dress up in matching outfits, and prizes will be awarded for best costume. Prizes are also given for race results, with $300 going to first place, $200 to second place, and $100 to third place. The top 25 teams will qualify for the National Championship in New Orleans in November, with the top three teams receiving free entry. Each participant gets a T-shirt and postrace refreshments of fruit, granola bars, and a run through a Perrier sprinkler. Read over the rules and FAQs for more information.