Atlanta may have a nasty reputation for bad traffic, but that doesn't mean residents have to face too much of either to enjoy a night out on the town.
Plenty of cool—literally and figuratively — spots have popped up along the Beltline to offer a respite complete with cold beverages, tasty bites and even low-cost live music.
Check out these six spots near the trail:
Venkman's 740 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta. 470-225-6162. venkmans.com
There's plenty to buzz about when it comes to Old Fourth Ward's Venkman's, whether it's the gourmet comfort food, top-notch live music or the too-good-to-be-true specials. The collaborative effort of chef Nick Melvin (the culinary mastermind formerly of Rosebud, Empire State South and Parish) and '70s cover band Yacht Rock Revue members Nicholas Niespodziani and Peter Olson. Night owls don't have all the fun at this restaurant-venue hybrid, either. Join Venkman's for a boisterous bottomless mimosa brunch complete with free live music or hit the location any night of the week for shows that generally run under $20.
Bookhouse Pub 736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta. 404-254-1176. thebookhousepub.net.
An extensive beer list and killer patio awaits those who venture a few steps off the Beltline onto Ponce, and with a schedule that extends libations and pub fare into the wee hours of the morning, it's a low-key destination that lets its patrons provide the good times. Reward a long walk with a big burger and toss some drinks back with old friends at this neighborhood staple.
City Winery 650 North Avenue, Atlanta. 404-946-3791. citywinery.com/atlanta
City Winery has become known nationally for its capability of pairing big-name acts with small rooms, good food and their own signature wine list. Now, despite a few delays, the venue has opened in Atlanta, making for a one-stop culture and culinary destination within the massively popular Ponce City Market. With a pedestrian bridge to the beltline and ample parking, pull up to the venue early and enjoy a walk on the Eastside Trail before settling in at City Winery for the main event.
Victory Sandwich Bar 913 Bernina Ave NE, Atlanta. 404-709-2892. vicsandwich.com
Small sandwich plates and Southern-inspired apps make Victory Sandwich Bar the ideal spot to graze on food while enjoying a cold beverage and coversation with friends, but this spot isn't just an eatery. Open until 2 a.m., the ping-pong table sees some pretty heated competition on weekend nights, and their well-known Jack & Coke slushies are a sweet treat fit to welcome out-of-towners to Atlanta the right way.
One of the menu highlights at Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall is the spatchcocked chicken. Grilled onions, chiles, cactus strips and a stack of hot tortillas come on the side with two salsas, a pan of roasted potatoes and a bowl of slaw. (Becky Stein / beckysteinphotography.com)
Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE, Atlanta. 404-458-6838. ladybirdatlanta.com Bring the pup for an evening of yard games, craft cocktails and a gourmet take on campfire food at Ladybird's buzzing spot on the Beltline. Communal tables make this neighborhood spot a good place to bring old friends or meet new ones, and an increased emphasis on "seasonal, vegetable-driven fare" this summer makes it a great choice for those watching a diet, too. The recent debut of Ladybird's outdoor grove means more seating and activities like ping-pong for those looking just for drinks, and string lights illuminate the place until closing time.
Saltyard 1820 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta. (404) 382-8088. saltyardatlanta.com While the Beltline's Eastside Trail is still the project's main attraction, that doesn't mean walking its less crowded sister on the Northside should leave its visitors hanging. After enjoying the surprisingly rustic views of the Beltline's Northside Trail, keep on trucking with a 20-minute walk to Saltyard, a small plates restaurant known for its craft beer and cocktails as well as its killer patio.