A week in Atlanta with for work. Need recommedations!
Coming to Atlanta for a week in mid-March with clients and with co-workers. We're a work hard, drink hard group that tries to get local flavor whenever we can - especially when we're trying to avoid the business travelers we deal with all day. We're staying near Peachtree Center so places within stumbling distance or are a reasonable cab ride away are best . I'm a southern boy originally so I'd love to get some real BBQ (not the stuff that passes for that in the Northeast) and some real soul food. The last night we'll need to impress some people with a great dining experience that has great food but isn't stuffy.
Where do we eat? Where do we drink? Where do we go to impress?
You're right in the heart of tourist alley at Peachtree Center. Hooters and Hard Rock are the closest restaurants around. You'll do good venturing north on Marietta Street, just north of the CNN Center/Philips Arena. There are some nice spots opening up over there and you'll avoid the corporate BS... though Hooters might be fun for the guys if you're in the mood. Look for: Ormsby's, Abbatoir, Bacchanalia, Miller Union, spoon, 5 Seasons Westside, Taqueria Del Sol, JCT Kitchen & Bar, Bocado. That should get you started. All of these places have websites (I'm pretty sure) and run the gamut from casual, to speakeasy-type bars, to foodie-centric places.
For your "impress" dinner, Bacchanalia is the first that jumps to mind. Very nice 4-course tasting menu, focus on regional foods that are in season (many of which are grown on the owner's farm). 4-star, white linen service in a non-stuffy, converted warehouse space. But don't be mistaken by the look - this is fine dining.
For BBQ, I like Harold's. Old Atlanta establishment down the the prison - really! The kind of BBQ joint that gets a mix of blue collar workers and suit/tie business for lunch.
Other good places near where you're staying are BLT Steak (from Laurent Tourendel in NYC), French American Brasserie, Room at 12, and Il Mulino (although you might run into your business travelers there).
Will have to rely on someone else to suggest soul food.
The Busy Bee used to be a good place for soul food, but I haven't been in years and years.
Other fancy watering holes include Drinkshop at the W or Holeman & Finch (great place, but I wouldn't go with a huge group b/c it's kinda tiny). Many of the restaurants mentioned already have mixologitastic offerings.
Fox Brothers would be a good place for Q.
If you're willing to take MARTA, you could do Decatur relatively easily. The Brick Store is one of the best beer bars in the country and their brother shop, Leon's, is the full-on gastropub experience.
Busy Bee is a short cab ride away and has a good reputation for soul food. Plenty to read here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/busy-bee-cafe-atlanta
Photos and more here: http://blissfulglutton.blogspot.com/search?q=busy+bee
Carver's Grocery is not that far and is another soul food option if you don't mind community seating: http://www.yelp.com/biz/carvers-grocery-atlanta#hrid:1cWTgfVFg3eSJkMw_bOdNQ/src:search/query:carvers
Fox Bros and Harold's are two for BBQ by cab. Harold's is an old shack with "local flavor" near the Federal Pen and famous for cracklin' cornbread. Fox Bros. is a new building with more different sides. Brick Store Pub is a short walk from the Decatur Marta station. If you go to Decatur Cakes and Ale gets good reviews.
For a more "pedestrian" beer drinking experience try Manuel's Tavern but take a cab there. A favorite of politicians and college students: