Strings of hot-pepper-shaped lights hang over the bar at Mezcalitos Cocina & Tequila Bar's main location, where they're accented by colorful toy parrots and bullfighting posters. This lively decor helps distract from the lurking menace behind the bar: a housemade 10-pepper tequila known as Devil's Water. Adventurous sorts can gulp it straight as a shot, and more timid diners can take its spicy edge off by blending it with one of the restaurant's other signature tequilas. It's a tradition so popular that Mezcalitos has carried it over to their newly opened Grant Park location, too.
When it comes to the food, everything on the menu is made from scratch, from the hand-rolled tamales to the cilantro-infused rice and mole sauces. Chipotle-cheese grits complement grilled ribeye steak, and oranges and cinnamon add an unexpected sweetness to the slow-cooked red pork mole. Vegetarians and vegans can fill up on tofu tacos or salads piled high with pumpkin seeds, grilled zucchini, and roasted red peppers.
Part tapas restaurant and part upscale lounge, bar ONE offers a sultry retreat from Atlanta's daily bustle and peach-avalanches. The lounge's ivory sofas, artful semi-nude photos, and mirror-polished surfaces create a chic background, no matter where or how guests choose to situate themselves. The best foreground, however, is a spread of small plates that blend the classic flavors of southern food with the spices and fruits of the Caribbean. Coconut curry shrimp, for instance, shares the spotlight with sweet potato waffles, and jerk chicken is folded into quesadillas. That combination of tastes is personal for Chef Natasha Wong, who draws on culinary know-how gleaned from both her years of cooking professionally in the states and her childhood spent in the Virgin Islands helping out in her parents' kitchen.
Surrounded by rustic brick walls, the guests at MillTown Arms Tavern raise frosty pints in celebration of their favorite teams' triumphs. Flat-screen televisions flicker with the evening's games, and dartboards aid guests in deciding who pays the tab or who is slightly lopsided. The patio seating gives diners an infusion of vitamin D as they enjoy a full menu of pub-style grub, including fish 'n' chips, enchiladas, hot dogs, and caprese salads.
Cartoon skulls color the ragged wooden sign outside Matador's, creating a rustic, yet playful, atmosphere where cuisine from the Michoacán region treats taste buds to an authentic taste of Mexico. Pulled pork, tilapia, and tofu are just a sample of what's stuffed into the tortillas of 14 types of tacos, which sate south-of-the-border cravings quicker than a deep-fried bolo tie. Combination plates and vegetarian options round out the menu at the restaurant's two locations, both of which offer spacious patio seating. At the newer Glenwood Park location, patrons can relax in a separate bar area as flat-screen TVs glimmer across intoxicating bottles of top-shelf spirits.
Jerry Slater’s goal for H. Harper Station was a simple one: he envisioned it as a place where he and his friends would spend time on their days off. What resulted was a cozy mix of old and new, a combination that represents more than just the former train depot that the bar and restaurant inhabits. “Slater comes up with a slew of original cocktails, as the times demand. But his mastery of the classics is what really stands out,” a review in Garden & Gun says. Slater’s cocktails span from the fernet egg cream—a blend of crème de cacao, heavy cream, chocolate bitters, a whole egg, and, of course, fernet—to traditional brazilian caipirinhas and old-fashioneds. He also fills punch bowls for four–six people, each spiked with jamaican rum and peach whiskey or bourbon and housemade ginger beer. As for H. Harper’s food menu, diners can share small plates of shrimp and grits or ask for a few spare ones to juggle while they wait for entrees, such as the carolina trout with hazelnut vinaigrette. The kitchen also serves up brunch and dessert. In the dining room, the rustic wood-beam ceiling and exposed-brick walls are set against softer accents such as chandeliers, votive candles, and fresh flowers.