The Atlanta Ballet and the Atlanta Opera seasons are underway at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. And both are perfect for getting gussied up in that fancy frock or tailored suit you’ve been saving for a special occasion. A glittering evening at the ballet or opera is also a great excuse for indulging in a fine meal beforehand, followed by cocktails and late-night bites once the curtain comes down after the show.
Looking for suggestions? Consider dinner at one of these five restaurants within five miles of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre before the house lights dim. It’s best to arrive at the ballet or opera between 30 and 45 minutes prior to the start of a performance, which also allows plenty of time to enjoy a glass of wine or champagne in the lobby. Afterwards, pop over to a late-night spot nearby for drinks and snacks to cap off the evening.
Dinner before a show
South City Kitchen - Vinings (less than 5 miles)
For anyone seeking refined Southern fare before a night at the opera or ballet, consider heading to South City Kitchen in Vinings. Warm, welcoming, and elegant, the menu is chock-full of Southern food classics like fried catfish and shrimp and grits. But it’s the fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and red pepper coulis and the fried chicken that keep people coming back for more. South City Kitchen is also a great place for whiskey and whiskey cocktails like the Old Fashioned. Reservations highly encouraged.
Canoe (less than 3 miles)
This Atlanta restaurant institution resides along the Chattahoochee River in Vinings. Serving a farm-to-table menu for over 27 years, sprinkled with a bit of chef Matthew Basford’s Australian roots, dine on dishes like foie gras parfait, Cornish game hen, and even peppercorn-crusted kangaroo. Canoe boasts a lovely wine list, too, which is updated often. Consider ordering the maple-marinated duck breast with a Willamette Valley pinot noir. Be sure to take a stroll in the restaurant’s riverfront gardens before heading out the performance later that evening. Reservations highly encouraged.
101 Steak (2 miles)
For a fancy dinner out, nothing quite fits the bill like a great steakhouse. From caviar and lobster to the juiciest filet mignon and porterhouse, 101 Steak ticks all the boxes. The wine list here is classic and offers plenty of bottle options. Begin the meal with wagyu beef carpaccio and a sparkling rose. Order a bold red to decant at least 20 minutes before your entree arrives at the table. Reservations highly encouraged.
C. Ellet’s Steakhouse (2 miles)
This elegant steakhouse at The Battery Atlanta, home to Truist Park and the Atlanta Braves, is owned by James Beard award-winning chef Linton Hopkins. While the Battery may be sports central through the spring, summer, and fall, this Southern-American steakhouse is chic and sophisticated when a night calls for it, yet casual enough to take in a meal before heading to a Braves game. The menu offers prime cuts of beef, including true A5 wagyu strip loin, and plenty of surf and turf dishes paired with wine and crafty cocktails. The modern decor and ambiance also make this a great spot for date night. Reservations highly encouraged.
C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar (1 mile)
Oysters with a martini is a good look, and a solid pairing. And C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar offers both in Vinings. Located just one mile from the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, this restaurant is a great place for indulging in oysters and other seafood dishes (even a steak) before a night at the ballet or opera. Start off with a round of oysters or the bone marrow and escargot with a glass of champagne. Reservations encouraged.
Late-night bites and cocktails afterwards
Park Bench (less than 2 miles)
Double up on the night’s entertainment and head to another show near the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Live music venue Park Bench at the Battery Atlanta stays open late for music from local and national bands and dueling piano shows. Grab a pizza from the slice bar at Antico nearby, then order drinks at Park Bench and enjoy some music. Make sure to reserve a showtime. Open until 2:30 a.m.
Bartaco (less than 2 miles)
Pop into Bartaco’s newest location at Vinings Jubliee for a quick drink and light snack after a night at the opera or ballet. The tiny tacos here are the perfect portion size for after-show eats. Try the sesame ribeye or Baja fish taco with an Old Thymer cocktail made with bourbon, cocchi torino, vermouth, and thyme. Open until 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Burn by Rocky Patel (2 miles)
The show is over and it’s time for a nightcap and maybe a cigar before heading home for the evening. Located at the Battery, Burn by Rocky Patel is a moody cigar and cocktail lounge open until 2 a.m. on the weekends. Order dessert like a slice of molten chocolate lava cake or split of thin-crust pizza.
Dixie Tavern (3 miles)
Another live music venue near the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Dixie Tavern is the place to let your hair down, dance to local bands, and unwind after a fancy night out at the theater. The loaded potato skins and fried pickles here are crowd favorites. Open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Zucca Bar and Pizzeria (4 miles)
Looking for New York-style pizza and a glass of wine after the ballet or opera? Head to Zucca Bar and Pizzeria at Smyrna Market Village, which offers late-night specials after 10 p.m. Split a Victory Pie topped with tangy plum tomato sauce, cheese and parsley sausage, basil, fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, and shaved parmesan. Slices are $3 each. Or order a basket of fries, wings, or even chicken egg rolls. This causal neighborhood joint is open until 4 a.m. most nights. Atkins Park is located nearby and is also open into the wee hours of the morning.
Henna Bakshi (@hennabakshi on Instagram) is a food and wine writer, TV producer, and on-air talent who carries a WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) level 2 certification. Bakshi previously worked for HLN/CNN as a writer, producer, and on-air talent focused on food and wine. She has also written for Chowhound and Indian-American community magazine Khabar, based in Duluth, Georgia.