- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
No need to do the same old, same old, Decatur.
Next time you set out for a night on the town, try one of these little-known hot spots:
Cakes & Ale Café
You may already be familiar with Billy Allin's chef-driven Cakes & Ale full-scale restaurant, but this wine bar spinoff is fairly new (and right next door). The café starts serving counter culture coffee and homemade pastries 7 a.m. weekdays. Now, the place also transforms into a full wine bar complete with small plates at 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.The small plates are as intriguing as you would expect -- buckwheat gnocchi or lamb's tongue, for example. The whole setup is friendly, European sidewalk style. Try Tuesdays when there's no corkage fee for bottles purchased at the café's retail wine shop.
151 Sycamore St, Decatur
Thinking Man Tavern
You can think hard here if you want to, but Thinking Man Tavern is really just a great place to goof around with your friends. Where else are you gonna play Sorry, Battleship and Trivial Pursuit straight out of the box?
They are devotees of trivia, with giant squads vying at Team Trivia Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and quarterly special Theme Trivia events.
Their alcohol? 'Merica. Twenty-one craft beer taps, 100-plus hand-crafted spirits and 20 West Coast wines showcase the nation's finest. The housemade small plates and suppers celebrate the region with locally sourced ingredients. Another nice touch: Organic deviled eggs on the late-night menu.
537 W Howard Ave, Decatur
Twain's Brewpub & Billiards
These folks were regional brewers before regional brewing was cool, 20 years back. The brewery is super visible, but you have to come inside to truly appreciate the big old bunch of pool tables and dart boards with ample elbow room.
They're dedicated providers of fresh food from local organic farms and the burgers are to die for. Pair them with house quaffs in assorted sizes up to pitchers. Twain's Tonic Ale is mighty tasty, inspired by G&T's. The Wednesday and Sunday $11 Burger and Beer is a good bet and includes chicken burgers or housemade smoked beet burgers.
There may be another item for the list of intriguing Decatur lounges soon. Twain's has acquired the former Suburban Lanes, about a mile from their place, and will reopen it later this summer as The Comet Pub & Lanes.
211 E Trinity Pl, Decatur
Come on in to take advantage of a couple of pool tables and your favorite local beer. The longtime favorite of Agnes Scott students offers plenty for anyone with a penchant for dive bars, comfort food and art. There's even a blue plate special, which often includes Trackside's beloved corn dog and creamy mac n' cheese, and a rotating soup of the day. Trackside also hosts a popular sketch night courtesy of the Atlanta Sketch Society, weekly trivia and, for most of the year, a monthly art show which showcases the work of local artists. They're open 3 p.m. to 4 a.m. Monday-Friday and Saturdays and Sundays 1 p.m. to 3 a.m.
313 E College Ave, Decatur