By Anne Graham
Officially founded in 1837 as Terminus, the end of a rail line starting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Atlanta has emerged as an economic powerhouse in the southern United States. It’s known for its diverse neighborhoods, lush tree canopy, and a penchant for continuous reinvention. The latter is epitomized by the city’s seal, which features a phoenix rising from the ashes. These characteristics combine to make some amazing craft breweries, brew pubs, and beer bars. After a hectic day in sessions and meetings, book a ride, share a taxi, or, if you’re lucky, ride the train or walk and explore the city’s neighborhoods and brews.
Avondale Estates, Decatur, and Emory Village are cities and areas located east of Atlanta in neighboring DeKalb County. Decatur offers a walkable downtown area with shops, restaurants, and bars. Avondale Estates has an English Tudor design in its downtown area, although is not as pedestrian friendly. The Emory Village area is a small collection of shops and restaurants located on the North Decatur Road entrance. Downtown Decatur is accessible from the Decatur trains stop on the MARTA East-West line. Visitors will need to arrange transportation to Avondale Estates and the Emory Village.
- Brick Store Pub (brickstorepub.com)
- My Parent’s Basement (www.myparentsbasementcbcb.com)
- Slice and Pint (sliceandpint.info)
- Steinbeck’s Ale House (www.steinbecksbar.com)
- Thinking Man Tavern (www.thinkingmantavern.com)
- Twain’s Brewpub & Billiards (www.twains.net)
Don’t want to stray too far from the conference hotel? There are two great beer bars within walking distance, although you may want to wear some comfortable shoes.
East Atlanta/Grant Park
Grant Park is an established neighborhood that encompasses a lot of different areas: Victorian homes and small bungalows, as well as Memorial Drive, a 4-lane road that links downtown Atlanta with Stone Mountain in the east, and historic Oakland cemetery. East Atlanta is a more recently developed area with lots of new shops and restaurants. Oakland cemetery, Augustine’s, Republic Social House, and Six Feet Under are all accessible from the King Memorial station on MARTA’s East-West line. You’ll need to arrange transportation to visit Argosy.
- Argosy (argosy-east.com)
- Augustine’s (augustinesatlanta.com)
- Republic Social House (therepublicsocialhouse.com)
- Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House (sixfeetunderatlanta.com)
The Howell Mill Road/Westside area is a developing neighborhood that borders the Georgia Tech campus to the west of Atlanta. Previously made up of industrial parks, it is now full of eclectic shops, restaurants, and bars. There are no MARTA train stops within walking distance, so you’ll need to arrange transportation to visit.
Little 5 Points
Little 5 Points is an established neighborhood with an identity all its own. There is a pedestrian-friendly commercial area with music and theater venues, eclectic shops, diverse restaurants, and comfortable bars, ranging from gastropubs to dives. It is accessible from the Inman Park station on the East-West MARTA train line, walking 2 blocks to Euclid Avenue.
Midtown is used to describe the rambling area between downtown Atlanta and Buckhead. It includes Ponce de Leon (pronounced ponts de LEE-on by locals), the High Museum and Woodruff Arts Center, and Piedmont Park, among other areas. Visitors will need to arrange transportation. One note: The Highlander is included in the list because I’m a regular from way back. It’s a comfortable neighborhood bar with a punk attitude.
- Bookhouse Pub (thebookhousepub.net)
- Cypress Street Pint & Plate (cypressbar.com)
- The Highlander (thehighlanderatlanta.com)
- Publik Draft House (publikatl.com)
- TAP (tap1180.com)
- Torched Hop Brewing Company (torchedhopbrewing.com)
Want to forget about the bars and get right down to the beer? Atlanta has a growing craft brewery scene. Listed are the major breweries in metro-Atlanta. Check out their websites and schedule a tour and tasting.
Atlanta Area Breweries
- BlueTarp Brewing Company (bluetarpbrew.com), Decatur
- Eventide Brewing (eventidebrewing.com), Atlanta
- Monday Night Brewing (mondaynightbrewing.com), Atlanta
- Orpheus Brewing (orpheusbrewing.com) Atlanta
- Red Brick Brewing Company (redbrickbrewing.com) Atlanta
- Second Self Beer Company (secondselfbeer.com) Atlanta
- SweetWater Brewing Company (sweetwaterbrew.com) Atlanta
- Three Taverns Craft Brewery (threetavernsbrewery.com) Decatur
- Wild Heaven Craft Beers (wildheavencraftbeers.com) Avondale Estates
Atlanta also has a number of growler stores if you’re interested in sampling a wide variety of beers or taking home some local brews.
- Ale Yeah! Craft Beer Market (aleyeahbeer.com) Decatur, Roswell
- Beer Growler (thebeergrowler.net) Avondale Estates and Brookhaven
- Moondog Grownlers (moondoggrowlers.com) Dunwoody
- My Friend’s Growler Shop (myfriendsgrowlershop.com) Atlanta
- Tap City Growlers (No website) Atlanta
Interested in taking a day trip? Athens, the home of the University of Georgia, is a great little town about an hour east of Atlanta. It has a quaint downtown area with a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars and is very pedestrian-friendly. The breweries alone are detailed because there really is no wrong answer regarding beer bars. Walk in to any random establishment and you’ll be happy. If you are interested in incredible mixed drinks, check out the Trappeze Pub (trappezepub.com).
- Copper Creek Brewing (www.coppercreekbrewingathens.com)
- Creature Comforts Brewery (www.creaturecomfortsbeer.com)
- Southern Brewing Company (www.sobrewco.com)
- Terrapin Beer Company (terrapinbeer.com)
Looking for an overnight trip to begin or end your annual meeting experience? Savannah is a little over 4 hours south of Atlanta. It’s a charming city with a lovely and walkable historic district with lots to do and see. Savannah is all about hospitality. People in Atlanta ask what you do and people in Savannah ask what you drink.