At Savor Wine Boutique, natural wines reign. That's because the store painstakingly selects artisan wines from independent producers and small family-owned vineyards. The fair trade and organic selections are known as slow wines, since they're harvested by hand and allowed to ferment naturally without the aid of chemical additives or a fake ID. The result: savory wines from both local vineyards and well-known regions in France, Italy, and South America that aren't commonly found on liquor store shelves.
In addition to sampling unique, hard-to-find selections, visitors can brush up on their wine knowledge in the wine library and reading lounge, attend weekly tastings, and augment their living spaces with wine furniture.
Visiting CRÜ Urban Lounge is less like drinking in a bar and more like hanging out at your hippest friend's ultra-trendy loft, largely thanks to founder Chetan Goud's keenly upscale and eclectic sensibilities. Goud drew from his extensive travels through Europe, New York, and California in the creation of his hyper-modern yet intimate restaurant and cocktail lounge. With its high ceilings, luxurious black leather furniture, two-story layout, and unabashed use of umlauts, CRÜ Urban Lounge exudes a cosmopolitan, European-tinged vibe, matched to a T by its food and drink offerings.
The menu swings effortlessly from udon noodles and chicken tacos to hot dogs, as well as grass-fed burgers culled from local and seasonal ingredients, mirroring an international selection of wines and craft beers. Weekend brunches ply guests with hearty smoked-salmon frittatas and sweet apple-bourbon pancakes, and creative cocktails bring classic drinks to the 21st century—adding apple bourbon to a shandy or creamy egg white to a whiskey-amaretto sour.
Divided across two floors, Top Flr exudes a trendy vibe that’s "claiming the attention of the in-town youthful, slightly offbeat crowd with modest pockets and good taste," according to Gayot. DJs perform on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, ensuring that patrons' toes tap and heads bob as they sip the bar's signature cocktails or ask the capable bartenders to invent new drinks on the spot. This revelry-inducing spirit endures throughout the night, and the restaurant stays open until 1 a.m. on weeknights and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The kitchen keeps the same late-night hours, and Executive Chef Travis Carroll continues cooking his eclectic menu of upscale comfort foods until the doors close. The selection is New American with international influences. Hickory-smoked duck breast arrives with fennel salt and lavender jus, and the mussels steep in a soy broth tinged with the contrasting, yet complementary, flavors of coconut and lime. Damask-patterned walls and simple wooden floorboards aside, Top Flr's ambiance mimics the contemporary spirit of its menu and its clientele. The decor is minimalist, with low-slung black-and-white chairs, dark tables, and art-free walls. The lounge section mirrors this color scheme with a black couch that functions as booth seating for the intimately clustered, bistro-style tables.
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.
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.
In spite of its name, Cellar 56 features more than 56 wines from grape-growing regions throughout the world. The emphasis is on accessibility, though; the bar helpfully sells a number of wines by the half glass, allowing guests to sample a variety of wines for a fraction of the price of a bottle. To make the selection even more accessible, reds and whites are divided into small groups by style. That means that tracking down anything from a crisp, grapefruit-tinged New Zealand sauvignon blanc to a spicy Italian primitivo is as simple as scanning the list. The seasonal food menu of tapas-style small plates demonstrates a similarly eclectic approach. Old-World flavors meet New World comfort in dishes such as the truffle-scented wild-mushroom finger sandwiches on toasted french baguettes. Guinness-braised short rib with whipped potatoes evokes memories of a home-cooked stew and the pan-seared salmon demonstrates a bit more refinement with its coriander-caper glaze. Cellar 56's main seating area seems more like a den than a dining room. Bottles fill the three racks that adorn one wall, presenting diners with a neatly arranged display of wines that stretches from the top of the booths to the ceiling. Dark wooden accents, earthen tiles, and warm lighting contribute to the inviting atmosphere at what CBS Atlanta called one of the Best Wine Bars in Atlanta in 2011.