Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm back...and with a Virginia Highlands Pub Crawl!

To my avid followers, friends, curious visitors and family:

I feel the need to send my apologies for dropping off the face of the earth until now! Trust's not you, it's me. In all honesty, I have been slack over the past year dealing with a hospitalized parent, a job change, and more moves throughout this great city of Atlanta than I care to count. All excuses aside, I am finally settled in my own place in the great neighborhood of Candler Park, enjoying a healthy family and an amazing group of friends I would not be sane without. All in all, life is fabulous now and I am committed to sharing the Atlanta bucket list with each of you from this point on....until death do us part, or something.

Enough play-by-plays of my's bucket list time! Up on deck is a slew of Virginia Highlands bars that I'm sure each of you have strolled by after a walk with your pup or lova, and perhaps maybe poked your head into from time to time. Well, I'm here to give you the low down of each cover-free bar that was ventured through during the first annual Shadili pub crawl!

Our crawling began at Moe's & Joe's off North Highland.  Open until at least midnight daily, this low maintenance bar is privy to guests of all appropriate ages, drunken locals included. We grabbed a beer and enjoyed the luminescent beer signs and sports playing on surrounding TV's.

All was well in the world until we realized Moe's & Joe's is a beer and wine only establishment. Dun dun dun. No liquor for party? Me no likey. A great place to start OFF a pub crawl, sure, but don't expect hot toddies or jager bombs at this establishment. Take my advice and enjoy the mini-miller high life beer buckets for under $10 on a sunny Saturday, but bounce around to some other establishments that are a little more equipped to quench your thirst.

A little disappointed but excited for round two, we skipped (literally) to Highland Tap across the street. A sigh of relief as we made our way downstairs to the enclosed tavern....there is a full bar. Here we ran into old friends and a rival pub crawl we eventually befriended.

The restaurant/bar proved successful not only in service and variety, but in ambiance as well. This would be a great place to grab a beer, watch a game, or take your lady friend to dinner, because guess what guys...Highland Tap is versatile like that.

Two drinks down and a small buzz later, we found ourselves next door at Fontaine's. Great food? Yes. Good for groups? No. So much in fact, that a fellow Fontaine's customer actually passed out at the bar it was so crowded...sans alcohol. We quickly finished our beers after assisting the woman from floor to friends...good company can only go so far. I recommend this for a quick nosh, but don't even think about having your high school reunion here.

We walked our butts right out of there and didn't look back. The gorg day was perfect for our walk to Diesel for the fourth adventure. Almost a century later, we arrived to an empty bar with the best AC I've felt in any retail store. The alternative staff was quick to raise eye brows as their bar packed out with VA preppies in about half a second. A quick visit to the John relapsed my depression of the women's World Cup game a few weeks prior wrong....

After a few friendly confessions I looked around and realized that Diesel was by far my favorite venue we had taken over. They have indoor and outdoor seating, trivia during the week, great happy hour and appetizer specials and live music on the patio on occasion. I've been known for a quick bite and a few beers after working my nine to five in years past...which was a good reminder seeing as 2011 had been sans Diesel until this moment.

Ok, we're halfway through...WHEW. Down the street was a surprisingly perfect addition to the pub crawl, Pozole. Slightly hidden in a nook on Greenwood and known to many as "the cheapest tequila shots in town", this Latino restaurant was packed out with couples, families and fellow drinkers like ourselves. Pozole has very tasty and affordable food and is a great spot for dinner or a drink in between bar hops. Lunch is only available on the weekends, but as we all know cheese dip is not bound by a time of day. A quick shot by some, a Corona by others and we were off to the next location.

Originally our next stop was Limerick Junction, but they insisted we pay a cover for entry. Homie don't play that game on a night like tonight, so we quickly dashed to Dark Horse Tavern. While this was an obvious must have on the VA Highlands list....I simply do not see this as a necessary step in anyones night.

Ironically enough, Dark Horse is almost always packed from ear-to-ear with 20 to 30 somethings who apparently enjoy claustrophobic environments, star 94 music and brown sandals. I've given it my best, but I just cannot get on board with this place. However, if you're looking to run into at least 16 people that went to high school in or around the Atlanta area, this is the place for you.

With eight items marked off the list, everyone was still standing. Kudos to us, I must say. Neighbors proved to be a great resting spot after our near panic attack at Dark Horse. After meeting up with my bestie and her fiance (gorg ring in tow), we sipped on beers and people watched. I'm sure in the light of day I would "pull a Monica" and deep clean this not-so-hole-in-the-wall bar, but it served its purpose as a good pause in our night to catch up with everyone on their take so far on the event.

Last but certainly not least, we ended the night at our oldie but goodie Hand-in-Hand. Voted Highlands Best Patio, this pub is always packed with local Highlands residents, gal pal, besties and hubbies included. The service is a bit frustrating, seeing as the bar itself takes up half the room, but other than that it's a great place to end a night with good friends. Don't forget to noch on some fish tacos and PBR pitchers on will cost you under $10 and you'll leave feeling satisfied.

As you can see, we all had a blast and memories to last a lifetime from this fun-filled weekend of bar hopping. I hope I have redeemed my blogging capabilities to you all, and I look forward to informing you on the next drink in hand or nosh in your mouth as fall fast approaches. Onto the next!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

#30 - Draft on Taft

Several weeks ago I began skimming over my summer calendar and thought to myself "something is missing here..." but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Thankfully I received an email from a close friend just moments later with, "Draft on Taft tickets are on sale....let's do this." Done and done! $30 later I smiled at the sight of my eticket to the 10th Anniversary of Draft on Taft!

I know what you're thinking. "Thirty bucks for a festival?? Nuh-uh, not cool." Ok hold on there is TOTALLY worth it...$30 covers it all. Charles Allen is blocked off for just you and your fellow ticket holders, all you can drink Bud Light products, live music and lunch from Moe's & Schlotzksy's? What a deal! This is by far the most bang for your buck as far as Atlanta festivals go. But best of all, every dime made goes straight to

Now a little 411 on the festival 2000 Atlanta native twins Patrick & Mike sought out to host a party with friends and family to kick off the summer...Atlanta style. It began as a crawfish boil in two front yards down the street in Midtown....on the corner of 10th and Taft street to be exact. Believe it or not, this first attempt brought over 300 people! So seeing the popularity of the event, Patrick & Mike decided to turn their party-harty into an opportunity to give back.

Soon after their hangovers subsided, they established a non-profit organization to raise funds for worthy causes. In an attempt to cast their net a little further, they choose a different charity to donate to each year. Come to find out, they have been able to donate over $100,000 to local AND national charities! Hats off to the hottie twins...both of which I had the opportunity to meet and congratulate on the increased attendance from the two years past I had attended.

Back on track....this year the event chose to support Bert's Big Adventure. This non-profit organization is designed to allow children agents 5-12 with a chronic or terminal illness (that prove financial need and live in The Bert Show radio listening area), to experience a magical weekend with their families at Walt Disney World. So above all else, we participated for the kids ya'll!

We had a fun time consuming beverages, noshing on lunch and listening to fabu tunes from local bands and well known rockers Drivin' N Cryin'. Which may or may not have ended in a cartwheel contest between me and Nat.

Drivin' N Cryin'

Shakin' our groove thang

Packed out

Snagged a pic with lead singer of Drivin' N Cryin' Kevin Kinney on our way out


Unlike other festivals, you won't be getting a "We Need Volunteers!" email from them anytime soon. It's such a success that they have an overwhelming amount of raised hands just through friends and family. Hopefully my email written on a napkin and stuffed in Patrick's pocket results in me and my besties being a part of their team next year. A girl can hope.

All in all this simplistic festival has received an overflow of success each year and rightfully so. Any festival that contributes to those in need I am a fan of....and having bottomless booze and food doesn't hurt my chances of making future appearances. Bucket list worthy? You betcha!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#29 - The Porter Beer Bar

Endless work week number 123,098 required some immediate vino and a home cooked meal with midtown bestie Nat. After a few glasses went down the hatch, I was easily convinced to go man shopping with my taken wingman nearby. A quick wardrobe change later we were off to the four mile commute down to The Porter Beer Bar in Little Five!

I must say that out of all the bars I have blogged about thus far, this is BY FAR my fav. Period. "Porter" (as the locals call it) has everything you need. Not so small you can't enjoy bringing a few of your besties with you, but not so large you lose your mind finding the bathroom? CHECK. Outdoor seating? CHECK. Tons of variety in local and national beer? CHECK. Great tunes? CHECK.  Amazing, affordable food? CHECK. Super friendly staff? CHECK. Nearby, free parking? CHECK. Walking distance to a gazillion other bars, restaurants and musical venues? CHECK. You get the point....the list is as endless as their beer list.

Pretty sure their beer list is 10 pages...front and back. That's what I call impressive.

After bonding with our new fav bartender Ty who sported their trendy catch phrase on a t-shirt "Where the Wild Beers Are", I was introduced to owner Molly Gunn. We chatted for a few minutes while I sipped on my irresistible Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier (say that five times fast) per Ty's recommendation.

Team Ty

thank you very much....

...and down the hatch it went

A little background for you....Molly and Porter-chef hubby have owned the L5P newbie for almost two years now. It began as a bare and open ally way, and was enclosed years ago to become what is now my fav spot. Aka Porter. Exposed brick throughout, dim lighting provided by Mason jar lighting's heaven on earth people.

Love, love, love the Mason jar lighting idea

Front bar seating for just you or a plus one

Walk down the hallway and it opens up to larger tables great for groups

Anywho, they moved into the neighborhood just a few steps away and instantly had an eye for the spot. They dreamed of a place where you could integrate the taste of fine dining with great beer and a laid back atmosphere, all while chatting away with local Five Points residents. In fact, much of their menu items include food from their very own organic garden! My mouth is watering, and I'm sure yours is too.

mouth watering...engage

I enjoyed myself so much I made a second appearance with late night wingman Adriatic the very next night, where I had the pleasure of noshing on some herb fries. I am still dreaming about them as I type. They also host frequent beer classes to keep you up to snuff on all the hops you crave, and according to Ty a Sunday brunch that will knock your socks off. That will be my next appearance during daylight hours I can assure you.

So whether you're a beer snob or PBR-for-life type, this not so hole-in-the-wall-esque bar is a great place to meet up for a quick bite at lunch, alcoholic beverage after work, dinner for two or ten, and of course a late night top off. Tell Ty I sent you and he'll make you feel right at home just as he did me. Bucket list worthy? Obvi!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#28 - Atlanta Braves Game

Last weekend came and went with no bucket list worthy events...sorry guys, my wallet needed a break. The weekend prior was "Amy is ATL Bound" weekend and we lived it up with all her ATL favs...most of which have been checked off the list already.....all but one of course!  The dreary weather provided a not-so-gorg hair day, but MARTA didn't mind at all. I scooped up Seany and headed to the blue lot for the Atlanta Braves Game vs. Houston Astros! 

Side note, did anyone else notice that the MARTA prices went up? Um, it's $4.50 for a roundtrip. GASP. Depending on where you're living at the moment, it may not be cheaper than the drive down to Turner Field...even if gas is close to $3.00 these days. It still beats the heck out of being stuck in traffic and finding a parking spot...says me, the person who has an hour commute to work every morning. Again...GASP.

Ok, back on track. There is nothing I like better than a group email with 19 "reply all" responses with subject: BRAVES GAME SATURDAY - BE THERE! I had yet to be to a game this season, and despite their losing streak, I needed my boys to feel the love from this ATL gal. Only a few MARTA stations later I was steps away from our amazing tailgate spot with Amy and company waiting for our arrival, beer in hand.

If you're going with a group, get one person to purchase the $10 parking ticket and split the cost if need be. Also, always get the cheapest tickets, then hang out at the chop house if you're looking for more of a social gathering than watching the score board.

I was with some big Bravos fans, so we headed up to our seats up in the sky....well, pretty much....

We didn't care. The breeze was amazing and despite my semi-panic attack due to my fear of heights, it was a spectacular event. We sipped on tall boys, ate hot dogs, tomahawked and cheered with the best of em!


after...poor thing never even saw it comin'

I'd like to think my appearance played a part in them finally winning a game (10-1, I believe), putting an end to their nine game losing streak, but I suppose I could be more humble than that....don't get used to it.

All in all, it doesn't matter if you're an Atlanta native, newbie or just passing through on should be making an appearance and supporting the big boys aka Atlanta Braves. If nothing else you get to see the fancy cars they drive and do some major manscouting....wowie wow wow, call me.

 Bucket list worthy? Um, anything with Tim Hudson involved is worthy of my presence...and this bucket list. Sooooo yuppers! Onto the next...

Friday, April 30, 2010

#27 - Inman Park Festival

Waking up to thunderstorms last weekend almost put a damper on my bucket list plans, but knowing that my adventure would be a brand new experience for me I had to pack up a weekend bag, get on the road and power through the thunderstorms for Inman Park Festival!

The event lasted several days and boy did they provide some bipolar Atlanta weather. Does everyone remember last Saturday? one was monsoon central. Street parking wasn't horrible to find but definitely took a drive by or two. 

Thanks to my previous roomie Adriatic, we had the festival at our fingertips, literally. Her house sat right on one of the busiest vendor streets! After a quick costume change, we headed out with our umbrella's to watch the parade...

Unforunately the majority of the vendors closed down early or were hard to get in and out of because of the rain, but we did make a quick cameo at the one's that caught our eyes.....and ultimately our wallets.

Amazing sculptures of people made from junk yard scraps!

Necklaces that can turn into headbands...made out of t-shirts.What a cute idea!

Day two was a whole new ballgame. Hello street parking, where did you go? I can't find you through the sea of vehicles that took over you. Horrendous. A 78 degree cloudless follow-up to the monsoon the day prior invited about 50 times the amount of people! Check out this crowd....

So if this isn't an obvious testament to taking MARTA, I don't know what is. Skip the stress of getting towed with your creative parking job and pay the $2 for a stress free transit. Get off at the Five Points station and you are steps away from hundreds of food, booze and white tents as far as the eye can see.

I was thankful for the rays since this girl can offird a sun bathing session here and there....not to mention I finally got to weave from street to street to see ALL that the local artists, cooks and entertainment had to offer. Jessie Parks, aspiring artists, photographer and all things adorable, served as wingman for the day.

It was hard to keep up with the crowd, but we did an excellent job of talking each other out of ridiculously expensive purchases. Here are a few that made my credit card want to jump out of my purse and into its Mecca.

Out of all the festivals I have attended thus far this spring, this one wins the best of the a landside. Perfect mix of vendors, food and entertainment....but above all else LOCAL VENDORS. I can't tell you how many times my heart would skip a beat when I found myself falling in love with an item that my wallet said no to at Dogwood or 420fest. "I'll get that next paycheck" I'd tell myself. Really? You're going to drive to Minnesota to try on that dress are you? Ugh. I know we can all purchase our favs online these days, but we all need the touch and feel or a good old fasioned retail store from time to time right? Right. So thank you Inman Park community, for providing more local vendors than any other festival has this year. Well played.

Bucket list worthy? Rain, sleet, snow or tornados could not keep me from coming back next year. Definitely one for the books!