There is always a lively spirit of creativity at The Sound Table, but it changes throughout the night. The upstairs dining room boasts a menu that "zigzags through global influences: Belgian-style frites, Oaxacan hanger steak with salsa verde, Chinese grilled ribs redolent of soy and chile," says Atlanta magazine, which placed restaurant on its list of the area's 50 Best Restaurants. However, the menu's capricious nature doesn't stop at the recipes, it also affects the availability. The selection changes frequently as the chefs incorporate new, seasonal ingredients. On the downstairs level, the bar is a bit more consistent, although still inventive. In addition to the international assortment of wine and beer, the bartenders mix drinks that Creative Loafing Atlanta hailed as "some of the best cocktails in the city." These shaken and stirred concoctions are separated into categories that range from bright & dry to strong, rich & strange, and they occasionally feature nontraditional ingredients such as pine liqueur or garam masala. Although the food and drinks help keep spirits high, it's the live music that transforms the two stories of exposed brickwork, booths made of wooden slats, and soft industrial lighting into a lively neighborhood dwelling. Typically starting around 11 p.m., an ever-rotating lineup of DJs and bands performs throughout the week, energizing the crowds with anything from the raw, percussive fusion of African and Latin jazz-funk to globally-influenced psychedelic.
Divan Restaurant & Hookah Lounge serves Persian-influenced Mediterranean feasts amid exotic artwork, plush pillows, and flowing curtains. Hooded lanterns cast a warm glow on murals depicting a sultan's court, colorful modern canvases, and tucked-away corners where diners share mezzes amid crimson cushions or chairs wrapped in silver cloth. As they dine upon dishes such as duck confit with black-currant relish and grilled lamb with pomegranate-mint demi-glace, guests enjoy the comforts of the hookah⎯a traditional water pipe that relaxes users with smoke that combines a touch of tobacco, sweet notes from fruit molasses, and a dash of wispy ghost.
As wispy tendrils of hookah haze dissipate overhead, diners clink glasses filled with drinks such as fruit-flavored martinis and sup on plates of blackened salmon, garlic-butter grilled shrimp, and molten chocolate cakes with hints of tarragon and raspberry sauce.
The aroma of brewing organic, fair-trade coffee from Brazil wafts through the air at 50th Street Cafe during breakfast and lunch. Behind the breakfast counter, cooks work to reinvent classic breakfast dishes. They flip pancakes made with cookie dough and drizzle them with chocolate or add fresh mozzarella and basil-pesto hollandaise to unorthodox omelets. Farm-fresh eggs and housemade hash browns, early-morning staples, arrive alongside less traditional panko-battered walleye fillets. The griddle sizzles like a knight in shining armor left in a hot car, laden with half-pound patties of Cattleman?s Selection ground beef, which end up on thick-cut sourdough toast with Old Smokehouse bacon and melted swiss cheese. That heat is also reflected in the bright hues of yellow tile and orange accents as well as whimsical calico-patterned carpets. The staff at 50th Street Cafe works to reduce its collective carbon footprint by using recyclable materials.
Nabbing the top spot in Jezebel Magazine?s Best of 2013 contest for best night club, Opera Nightclub presents old-fashioned red-curtain glamour. After cracking the dress code, VIPs can romp freely through all areas under the club?s 100-foot ceilings, including a VIP-only upstairs area with cozy private nooks. Cash in two drink tickets for a beer or a cocktail to delicately balance while finally perfecting the Super Bowl Shuffle, or take in the deck?s panoramic view of the city and its galactic ceiling. Opera?s crowd-charming DJs spin top 40 hits alongside genre-specific jams, catering to hip-hop hankerings and salsa appetites alike.
MidCity Cafe sates hunger pangs and quenches thirsty throats with a menu stuffed with eclectic cuisine, soda and coffee drinks, and creative martinis. Un-pitted french olives adjudicate as slices of toasted pita bread swan dive into the Mediterranean-style hummus plate ($7.25), allowing chefs to focus their cooking goggles on artfully bundling pork, shrimp, and vegetables into crunch-laden fried spring rolls ($4.94). For heartier fare, hands can happily wrap around MidCity’s banh mi ($5.95–$8.95), a Saigon-style sandwich built on a foundation of crispy baguette and layered with pickled daikon, fresh jalapeño, and a choice of meaty or meat-free protein. Fuel liquid lust with a selection from 15 inventive Grey Goose martinis ($9 each), such as the French Toast martini, which whips up a Bond-style breakfast of Amarula fruit cream liqueur, Frangelico, and a dash of self-destructing cinnamon.