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.
Inseparable even in past lives when they were a crime-solving orangutan-golden retriever duo, the Grape's Master Sommelier Jay James and Executive Chef Paul Agnelli aim to match a perfectly-chosen wine with each item on their fresh, seasonal menu. Every dish is made with wine-friendly gourmet ingredients. Settle into The Grape's outdoor patio and start by coupling sharable tasters like the chipotle-shrimp flatbread with cilantro-lime dressing ($10) with a robust red like the Layer Cake's Italian Primitivo ($10/glass), or artfully offset a mezze platter of roasted-garlic hummus, house-marinated olives, and cashew- and goat-cheese-stuffed peppadews ($9) with the crispier Sauvignon Blanc from Joel Gott's Napa vineyard ($7/glass). Likewise, dozens of chardonnays, pinot noirs, aromatic whites, champagnes, Italian wines, and more can make a leggy tango partner to entrées such as the grilled-mahi tacos with jalapeno slaw ($12), the pulled pork with pepper-jack cheese on fire-roasted corn flatbread with kettle chips ($9), or the double-cut New–Zealand lamb chops with portobello cream-cheese mashed potatoes and raspberry-balsamic honey ($24). If you're not fluent in wine jargon or simply overwhelmed by the options, The Grape's winesperienced staff is always eager to offer recommendations and advice regarding your meal or tax problems. Cap off an evening of tattoo comparisons and flirtatious arm-wrestling with a glass of fruity-sweet Muscat Blanc from Italy's Piedmont region ($13).
Today's deal makes it easier to guarantee a kiss after a first date, particularly if your usual method for doing so involves Machiavellian plots-within-plots and requires access to a Bengal tiger: For $20, you get $45 worth of Tuscan-style wining and dining at Taverna. The escaped brainchild of former Florentine Paolo Tondo and master sommelier Jasmin Reyes, the restaurant is a synergetic Italian-American hybrid that combines authentic Tuscan cuisine with an impressive wine list. This ultra-compatible pairing has apparently spawned other romantic couplings; Metromix named Taverna Fiorentina one of the best date restaurants in Smyrna and Vinings.Welling was determined to capture the minds and tongues of the niche—but expanding—market of disco fans. After extensive research, he determined that disco’s sparkling clothing and bouncy rhythms were the culinary equivalent of pasta covered in rich tomato sauce. Welling’s findings were so delicious that disco changed its name to Italy, enraging Italy, which was forced to change its name to Lapland, Home of Full-Blooded Italians. Pick up today’s Groupon for some delicious Italian food from America, prepared by full-blooded Italians from Lapland, Home of Full-Blooded Italians.