by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
Bars in Decatur aren't necessarily thought of as ?hot,? but don't overlook the nightlife in this sleepy mini-metro due east of Atlanta. With a slew of outstanding, visionary bars in or around Decatur Square, and a diverse demographic, Decatur is one of the more colorful and cultured Atlanta neighborhoods in which to drink. From Atlanta's best beer bar to a watering hole that revolves its menu around desserts (Chocolate Bar, pictured), we give you our top Decatur bars.
Updated: July 16, 2010
There are certainly great beer joints around town, but not one can rival the Brick Store. Lodged in a historic downtown building in the middle of the square, this is a bar for beer purists: There are no televisions, no neon signs and no major domestic beers. Pints get served in proper glassware, while the upstairs Belgium Bar is the single best environment in Atlanta to enjoy a proper pint.
What the legendary 40 Watt is to Athens, Eddie's Attic is to Atlanta. This sleepy singer-songwriter bar on the square was the launching pad for the Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins and John Mayer, and continues its tradition of having acoustic stars on the rise play in a setting that's equally beautiful and respectful. Eddie himself will kick you out if you're being distracting in any way.
Located on the edge of Decatur's downtown district, the Marlay House tempts neighborhood passersby with Irish pub grub and cozy confines. Sitting under towering trees, it's a dark space that boasts sunken booths, a brick-walled patio and a no-frills attitude ? exactly what you?d expect from an Irish-owned and operated joint. So get a Guinness, enjoy traditional, live Irish music and stay awhile.
Lodged in a beautifully restored filling station, Leon's Full Service is the gastropub sister of the legendary aforementioned Brick Store. Besides boasting a fabulously sharable menu and a hipster bocce ball court, Leon's booze list is worthy of any drinking agenda. Specific emphasis gets placed in the cocktail selection, where the likes of rhubarb-infused rum and house-made ginger beer give ordinary drinks a sophisticated upgrade.
A hop, skip and a jump down from the square on Trinity, Twain's is a brewery that takes pride in its house-crafted beer, but does so without the brew-head ego. Brewer Jordan Fleetwood is always working on a new seasonal favorite (Mad Happy Pale Ale, Stubborn River ESB), but he also hand-picks a few ?guest draughts? like Terrapin or Old Rasputin to round out the selection. The fact the pool hall also has shuffleboard makes it all the better.
Drinkers who have an equal passion for desserts should get ready to have their mind blown here. Dessert plates come in small sizes and as sharable platters, and the alcoholic specialties include a butternut mudslide, a chocolate cosmopolitan and an espresso-mocha martini. Not all drinks are chocolate-based; there's a beer float with orange sherbet and a mango mojito for something on the lighter side.
Though a relative newcomer on the Decatur Square, Mac McGee's looks like it's been there for decades. This cozy, understated Irish joint is perfect for the young family looking to grab an early bite before the drinking rush or the nightly booze hounds pumped to venture into Mac McGee's 100 varieties of whiskey. Of the Irish menu staples, the curry chips are our favorite.