We're already learning where Atlanta chefs like to eat in our Go-To Guide. Now we're also finding out where our favorite bartenders love to drink (and eat) when they're off the clock. Welcome to the Boozin' Go-To Guide. Cheers!
Paige Lane. [Photo: Matthew Wong]
As part of the Ford Fry empire, Paige Lane crafts cocktails that represent Buckhead hotspot King + Duke perfectly with literature-inspired whimsy and seasonal ingredients. It's a natural fit for Lane, who has a background in art from GSU. She was lured away by the industry in 2010 by none other than Holeman & Finch. Greg Best anointed her with the pirate nickname "Spitfire," and as anyone who has witnessed her work at H&F, Empire State South, and now King + Duke can see, the name fits. Here's where you can find Lane when she's not dreaming up or mixing up your new favorite drink.
Prohibition is where I like to go late-night. Tom McGuire can make anything your tongue desires, with some of the best stories to go with them. Ask him about the CATO cocktail sometime.
The Local—I mean, it's a dive bar with Fernet Branca.
Happy hour bar/lounge:
Diesel is a no-brainer for happy hour (but I'm always working), with a good beer selection and super laid back atmosphere. Happy hour turns into a "happy few hours."
Now, I don't get out to brunch very often, but when I get the chance, One Eared Stag is my go-to. The Chef's Breakfast is always different, seasonal, and killer. Plus, there's a bunch of bearded "men's men" to make sure you don't leave without a Redneck Mimosa (or five).
Place for drinking and dining:
Wrecking Bar has it all. Ian Cox makes cocktails that get national attention; the restaurant brews their own delicious beer; and Chef Terry serves mouthwatering food. It's a triple threat for sure!
Bar where you're a regular:
Every time I get cut early or get the night off, you can find me at the bar at Umi. I'm lucky to work in the same [building] quad as Michael Searles and his team of bartenders. I always leave my drink order up to them, and they blow me away every time.
Top three bars not mentioned above:
One Flew South
Out-of-town fave (regional):
Easy Bistro and Bar in Chattanooga, TN, where my girls Laura Kelton and Sara Keith are doing great things for the city and the industry.
Out-of-town fave (national):
I went to an event at Oven and Shaker in Portland, OR, and I was blown away by it. It's a gorgeous spot, and they're doing very cool things.
Out-of-the-whole-country fave (if you've got one):
I haven't been out of the country in some time—I hope to change that soon. I'm open to suggestions!
Last but certainly not least, go-to cocktail order:
It's a controversial order and no one does it the same way. But I love a great Wet Gin Martini, 2 to 1 gin (I like a great London dry) and dry vermouth. The garnish and bitters (or none) I leave up to the bartender.
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