Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My (weak attempt at a) Guide to Atlanta for my coffee friends

So a few people have been asking me for "Guide to Atlanta" of some sorts for people attending the World Barista Championships in a couple weeks. One Atlanta's many flaws, however, is that it is a really spread out city and there's so many parts of the city i haven't even been to or restaurants my friends have told me about and i still haven't been to, and i've lived here a long time..... Lame.

So instead of a thorough guide, i'm just going to list some of my favorite places in Atlanta that i recommend visiting if people have the time. Note that this list is not complete in any way, and most of my friends would yell at me for things i've left out...

  • Octane Coffee (www.octanecoffee.com) - Okay, so this is an easy one. I work here, and i know my view may be slanted, but i think Octane is the best coffee shop in Atlanta... It'd be weird if i didn't think so, right?
  • Method (www.methodcoffeebar.com) - Method is a great coffee shop, and Danielle and I go here for our weekly meetings quite regularly. They're an Intelligentsia account, and do all Chemex. Great baristas and great friends of Octane.
  • Park Grounds (www.parkgrounds.com) - This is coffee shop/dog park located in my neighborhood. They've recently switched to Counter Culture and are really stepping up their quality. They don't do drip either, like Method, and instead do pour-over.
  • Dancing Goats (www.dancinggoats.com) - Batdorf and Bronson's flagship store here in Atlanta. Only coffee shop with a Clover in the city (at least that i'm aware of). They're not in the city though, they're over in Decatur, which is about 10-15 minutes from Downtown Atlanta.

  • Bone Garden (www.bonegardencantina.com) - Bone Garden is a Mexican place, but a REALLY good one. Almost everything is A La Carte, and they've got a good tequila selection too. My girlfriend and i go there about 3 times a week on average. Sometimes more. They're pretty close to Octane, but are tucked away in a corner of a little industrial park. Worth the search though. Cool decor and super awesome staff and owners.
  • Taqueria del Sol (www.taqueriadelsol.com) - Another taco place, but a little more "Americanized". The Westside location is pretty close to Octane, and it's a very big local favorite.
  • Spoon (www.spoonatlanta.com) - Again close to Octane. However, it is also the best Thai food in Atlanta. And i've been to most of the Thai places in Atlanta.
  • Chinese Buddha (www.buddharestaurant.com) - Chinese Buddha is a 24 hour Chinese place and used to be super sketchy (while still be awesome), but they've moved to a way nicer location, still 24 hours (i think) and have the BEST vegetarian/vegan Chinese food you will probably ever have. You here me, Mike White? This place has your name all over it. Oh, and it also has great non-veggie Chinese food too.
  • Las Palmeras (they don't have a website) - I almost feel guilty for sharing this with the world... This Cuban restaurant is in a house. In a neighborhood. Like surrounded by residences. One of those cool well kept secrets. The Pollo Frito will blow your mind. And you should ask for extra onions.

Places to get drunk (also known as Bars)
  • Octane Coffee - Yeah, we actually have 10 great drafts that we rotate, and some wine and liquir too. And a REALLY awesome Espresso Martini. And Irish Coffee too. Jameson + Bailey's Irish Cream + French pressed coffee + little bit of steamed milk = awesomeness.
  • Brick Store Pub (www.brickstorepub.com) - National recognized in beer nerd magazine on a regular basis as an amazing place to get an awesome beer. Crazy selection, knowledgable bartenders, an Atlanta beer drinkers' favorite.

Sadly, that's the end of my list! The bars section would be bigger, but i never go out. And i don't want to send any of you to some of the sketchy places i go, hehe....

Feel free to ask questions in the comments and i'll do my best to answer them!


Has Bean steve said...

Perfect, I cant wait to find the Cuban place

Craig Butcher said...

I'll be getting amongst it -- thanks for the tips!

The_Keith said...


I'm excited to get down there and check these places out!
Thanks for the help!

Pete said...

This is a big help, thank you!
Please keep the link up during the Expo so it can be referenced 'live'. Getting insider information is always a good thing!
Now, I just have to figure out the best way to get to these places (via public transport) from the Expo! Fortunately, there's google maps for that now. (whew!)

Ben said...

Yeah, unfortunately public transportation here in Atlanta is notoriously horrible. It exists, and if you're downtown it's better, but it can still be confusing and take way too long to get to certain areas.

Almost all the places on this list within a few miles of the convention center though.

bwf said...

Yay this is So great! A few of us have been compiling a list of Atlanta restaurants and bars compiled by some locals which we will give to the WBC judges and are happy to share with competitors, attendees, etc. I might add some of these places to that list. Thanks for the suggestions, its always good to hear it from local sources.

Andrew Lopez said...

Don't forget The Varsity. Some of the best burgers on the east coast. http://www.thevarsity.com/index.php

Unknown said...

Really Ben? Dirty South ATL and no recommendations for a place to "get down"?!? I am excited for the Thai food however...

onocoffee said...

How about some recommendations for fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, soul food and bbq?

We're gonna be in the capital of The South, let's eat some traditional Southern Food a la Edna Lewis!

onocoffee said...

Also, I usually like to check out "The Best of" listings from the local alternative newspaper for an unfamiliar city I am visiting. Typically they're filled with readers recommendations and I've found some great places to eat this way.

Atlanta has Creative Loafing:

Ben said...

Yeah, Creative Loafing is a good idea. I don't know why i didn't think of that!

I would suggested Daddy-D's for BBQ. It's a hole in the wall kinda, but super delicious.

Ben said...

I left out another good coffee place! Tilt is another coffee shop friend of Octane's, and they're located in Castleberry Hill, even closer to the Convention Center than we are! Address is 274 Walker St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313

blahblah said...

hey what about the little five points area?? great little shops and record stores and skate shops. i used to like the little five when i was a regular ATL visitor. and then there is the coca cola museum.