Trendy comes. And trendy goes. But atmosphere – well, if it’s the perfect atmosphere – is everlasting. Now don’t get us wrong. We’ve got nothing against trendy new bars, but sometimes nothing will do, but the old favorites where little has changed over the decades. You walk in and -- oh that atmosphere – you know that you feel right at home.
Here’s our list of Atlanta’s favorite, been-around-a-long-time bars. We asked veterans of these comfortable old spots to rank them. No surprise to us, Manuel’s claimed the top spot.
1. Manuel’s Tavern. Perennial hang-out of politicos and journalists, Manuel’s is one of those places where, if you walk in after not having been there for a while, you’ll probably run into someone you know. Reserve the back room for birthday parties, club meetings, even memorial services. Everyone who’s anyone loves Manuel’s.
2. Moe’s & Joe’s. Students from Emory University and Georgia Tech are devoted to Moe’s & Joe’s, even after they are no longer students. Come to this Atlanta institution for the basics: beer, burgers and hot dogs. Ain’t no place like it.
3. George’s Bar & Restaurant. Another Atlanta institution, George’s is the place to go for terrific burgers, great conversation and a welcome greeting. Feels like home inside, just a few doors down from Moe’s and Joe’s.
4. Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. If you don’t feel comfy at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, then there’s probably something wrong with you. It’s a little wild and a lot crazy. Come for trivia, stop in for live music. Order some barbecue or a burger. We’re talking atmosphere, baby.
5. Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar (in-town location). Sure it’s a restaurant, but the bar at Atkins Park feels like it’s been there since before Coca-Cola. Check out the folks bellied up to the bar, and you’ll get the feeling they’ve got some tales to tell. Cool place in Virginia-Highland.
6. Clermont Lounge. Yes, there are strippers at the Clermont, but that’s not the main reason people go there. Well, maybe it is for, say, freshmen, at Georgia Tech. But once patrons get past the, um, dancers they go for the nostalgia and the Clermont’s dive factor. You can hear it on Saturday nights, “Hey, let’s go to the Clermont.” Yeah, why not?
7. Star Bar. Come for comedy on Mondays, ‘80s dance on Tuesdays, live music Wednesdays through Saturdays. If you love Little Five Points, then you’ll love the Star Bar.
8. Northside Tavern. Once named No. 7 on a list of the top 10 Dive Bars in America, Northside Tavern is the epitome of a serious bar. Even better: Every night is blues night.
9. The Original Churchill’s British Pub. Throw some darts, shoot a little pool, get Saturday-night silly. Not your typical Buckhead spot.
10. The Highlander. Games, beer, bar bingo, crab legs. This place feels the way a bar ought to feel. A little nitty and a little gritty. Tacos for $2.95 on Thursdays. What a deal.
Carol Carter, a journalist, writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.