Dan Vallish has been homebrewing beer as a hobby for more than 20 years. During that time, he often envisioned the perfect place to shop for his supplies. It would have all the specialty grains one could want, an onsite milling facility, and fresh yeast and hops. Ultimately, he made that vision a reality, founding Barley & Vine to be a one-stop shop for beer lovers and beer brewers, complete with a 27-tap growler bar with 26 craft beers and a cider on tap at all times.
Of course, Dan offers more than just disparate beer-brewing supplies. He teaches classes on the subject, or provides cloning kits for beginners, which contain all the ingredients to mimic Irish stouts or American pale ales. He also provides winemaking kits, which produce 6 gallons of fermented libations at a time. He even offers instructions and supplies to make cheese, so that his customers can pair their homemade beverages with the perfect snack.
Sprig's elegant yet casual atmosphere plays host to a locally grown smorgasbord of seasonal savories, with this summer's menu showcasing the foodsmarts of Marsala master Christopher Neff. For lunch, revel in tasty treasures from the wood-fire grill, such as the grilled-chicken club with applewood bacon (a $9 value) or the bratwurst's bursting wallet of caramelized cabbage and apples (a $10 value). Or, spend your midday charitably finding a more permanent home for the oyster po boy (a $9 value), drenched in spicy rémoulade. All lunchtime sandwich plates are accompanied by creamy slaw, fries, or sweet-potato chips, and tongue-prepping appetizers like the fried pickles in beer-cheese sauce (a $4 value) and tomato-jam'd cornbread (a $3 value) are served all day long. For dinner, dig into a spicy stew of andouille sausage, shrimp, and corn on the cob (a $14 value) while a tablemate tackles a wood-fired chimichurri flat iron bolstered by a lemon-kissed arugula salad (a $21 value).
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.
Grape Wine Bar and Bistro's resident culinary mastermind and wine-whisperer, Lavender Morrison, perfectly pairs crafted sips with their gastronomic soul mates to entice visiting palates. Every month, a host of new and unusual wines are showcased in the Discover Wine special, which lets guests sip, sample, and savor sweet nectars selected by region or varietal. These handpicked vinos arrive in 3-ounce flights for optimal grape-blood supping and enthusiastic slurping. This month's toothy tribute to wines of Italy showcases an upstanding cast of key players, including Casteggio Pinot Grigio, Contisssa Vermentino, Masseria Salice Salentino, Gran Sasso Sangiovese, and Casteggio Moscato. Sippers keen for nibbling will be privy to a weekly rotating selection of gourmet small plates, with recent offerings including charcuterie and cheese, porcini-rubbed hangar steak, and a daily flatbread of the chef’s selection.
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.