NFT Atlanta Ansley Park / Piedmont Heights

Ansley Park / Piedmont Heights

Featuring gorgeous estates and winding roads where even locals get lost, Ansley Park is one of Atlanta’s most picturesque neighborhoods. Too bad there’s a snowball’s chance in hell you’ll be able to afford to live here. Feel better knowing that your child will never be beaten up for living on Robin Hood Road in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood. Should the jealousy linger, wander your way through the Atlanta Botanical Garden and pretend all the other guests are your humble servants, if only for a couple hours.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
...But My In-Laws Don't Drink

By Jared Cobb
So find a nice place to walk with them then. Like a sports bar, a Civil War burial ground or a park.

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A Walk in the Park

By Mariam Qureshi
A dog in a park, like a dog in a bun. Has there ever been a more decorous union? No, there has not.



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Guide to Entertaining Tourists

By Sara Cheshire
It's not just peach tree climbing anymore.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Atlantic Station Christmas
Say what you will about Atlantic Station, it gives people joy come Christmas time. Call it a synthetic city, a forced community, and I’ll show you a kid posing by the giant tree, his tourist parents tipsy off the Grape’s overpriced cabernet. Call it the Sims, and I'll point to Cafe Nineteen, brimming with latte-sippers in candy-cane T-shirts. Call it what it is, a roofless mall that's a pretty damn convenient shopping district. It wasn't so long ago that this 130-plus acre site was home to vagrants and a contaminated, defunct steel mill. A brownfield wasteland. A useless slag of grime. So keep your snide remarks to yourself. I'm going to H&M, then Express, then Dillard's. Christmas shopping over. Fuck it.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Unplugged in the Park
What a treat Atlantans have in Unplugged in the Park. I'd venture to call this summery tradition underappreciated, what with the talent these guys line up. There's no better way to spend absolutely no money on a Sunday evening, the breeze off Piedmont Park’s great meadow sweeping in, the Midtown skyline beyond. Atlanta's longest running concert series is heading down the home stretch of its seventh season, preparing to end sometime around October. The title is a misnomer, as most bands I've seen have gone electric. Alumni included national studs like Pete Yorn, Rocco DeLuca, Regina Spektor, Band of Horses and Ben Kweller. I recently saw this Philly band, Hoots & Hellmouth, pull a bona fide hoedown off, right there in yuppieland. Worth every penny.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

By Design
Sick of that el-cheapo look inherent in IKEA build-it-yourselfers? Not willing to finance a second mortgage to have a comfy, cool spot on which to plop your ass? By Design is calling you. This is quality furniture--much of it Scandinavian built--without the pretentious price tags. For example: A much cheaper-looking bedroom combo at RTG was about to cost me several hundred more than a similar (but much sleeker) set here. They'll deliver in metro Atlanta for $90. After four pieces, add an additional $6. Each staffer I've come across is goaded with information, which is cool when you haven't a clue. In case you're in North Carolina or New Jersey, there's locations there, too. There's also a distribution center in Norcross that's practically oozing bargains.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Taco Cabana
The last time we ventured in Taco Cabana it was nearing dawn and we'd just seen a pretentious underwear fashion show at Club Fever, now defunct. I'd managed to blow my budget on Highballs and Martinis and $8 Heinies trying to jell with the Calvin Klein crowd. So a full-size Cabana Bowl for $3 was predawn salvation. That's the thing about Taco Cabana, it redeems you. It's always there, open long after the Wendy's scrubs are half-blinded on Boones Farm behind your local Publix. My advice for beer-drunks is to aim for the fajitas, and the el cheapo bowls for liquor-heads. Something about lettuce removes the violent edge.



Posted By:  Carrie Neal Walden
Photo:  Carrie Neal Walden

Woodfire Grill
Woodfire Grill, an Atlanta favorite for years under Michael Tuohy's direction, has gotten a new lease on life this month! Under brand-new ownership and with the former sous chef now taking the reins in the kitchen, this gem remains available to us all. Specializing in seasonal ingredients with a focus on careful vegetable and side selections, the California-influenced menu is a rare treat in Atlanta. Start with a "taste" like the bowl of marinated olives or artisanal cheese selection, move on to appetizers of the fritto misto or Sonoma foie gras, and round out your meal with entrée picks like the pork leg with a green chile sauce or the divine pan roasted snapper. Cheshire Bridge's fanciest spot shines on.



Posted By:  Carrie Neal Walden
Photo:  Carrie Neal Walden

Fat Matt's Rib Shack
Who likes ribs? I do! And there are many places in town that could tempt my taste buds to get them. But, fortunately for you, experts have done the research and it really comes down to just two picks. Want the pricier, “fancy” version? With two sides, perfect service and as many white cloth napkins as you need? Then Houston’s is your place. The one on Peachtree is my most favorite—I highly recommend eating at the bar, where a full menu is served and great people-watching abounds—though all four Atlanta locations serve delicious, fall-off-the-bone ribs made to order. But if you want a more down-scale, less expensive but equally delicious and satisfying version, then head on over to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! The line of people waiting to be seated may extend out side the door, but the wait is worth it. This blue-collar version rivals the uptown in taste and satisfaction and did I mention the groovy bands that play there? Happy ribbing!



Posted By:  Carrie Neal Walden
Photo:  Carrie Neal Walden

Allegro
I live upstairs from the best new Italian place in town. When I walk in the door, cries of "Buena Sera!" and "It's so good to see you again!" make me feel like I'm back in Rome for my semester abroad. Allegro's gracious service is teamed with a sleek décor and some of the best food I've had in years. The intimate bar is perfect for a weeknight dinner of Chef Rego's divine caprese salad and the plates of pure happiness that are his pastas. Have a bigger party or feel like a cozy table for two in the dining room? From the complimentary prosecco to the sublime tiramisu, wherever you sit, this is the place to go whenever you're in the mood to mangia!



Posted By:  Cary McNeal
Photo:  Cary McNeal

Atlanta Botanical Garden
I’m not a plant guy. Gardening, dirt, bushes…not my idea of fun. But that didn’t stop my family from dragging me to the Atlanta Botanical Garden recently. Luckily, they have two great exhibits going on right now. The first is Big Bugs and Killer Plants, a collection of—yep—huge insects (sculpted in hardwood by artist David Rogers) and real carnivorous plants. The pièce de résistance is surely the praying mantis. Those things are daunting enough in miniature—I’ve seen one dispatch a mouse—so imagine a mantis as tall as a house, looking down on you like its next meal. Actual size, but equally deadly if you’re an insect, are the Venus Fly Traps, sundews, and other plants where bugs check in but don’t check out. Exhibit number two is Scarecrows In The Garden, a Halloween tradition of more than seventy funky, themed scarecrows created by local artists, businesses, and organizations. Our favorite was a Hitchcock homage in vintage lime-green dress and jacket ensemble, stuffed crows pecking at her head. In hindsight I realize that we didn’t see one live bird all day, so I guess even whimsical scarecrows get the job done. Both exhibits end October 31, so see them while you can.



Posted By:  Cary McNeal
Photo:  Cary McNeal

Two-Minute Car Wash
Know what sucks? Spending an hour doing something that should take 15 minutes. Like watching “American Idol.” Or getting your car washed. This town is full of car washes that want you to make an afternoon out of having the dirt removed from your motor vehicle. Some have colossal waiting rooms full of snack machines, soft chairs, and TVs. It’s like they’re telling you from the get-go, “This is gonna take a while, so get comfy.” And people do. Those waiting rooms are filled with suckers lounging around, reading the paper, eating stale Payday bars and watching Judge Joe Brown. Fuck that. It’s a car wash, not La Traviata. Why would anyone want to stay here one second longer than they need to? I bet these are the same folks who take the Sunday paper into the crapper. The Gorilla isn’t like that. (Real name: Two-Minute Car Wash. We call it “The Gorilla” because of the large fake gorilla out front that rotates back and forth, waving customers in.) The Gorilla wants you in and out, stat. You drive up and place your order. You walk through the tiny waiting room and pay the cashier (skip the small talk; she’s not interested). You wait outside by the broken soda machine until they honk. Get in. Get out. Drive off in a clean car, and with more time spent better elsewhere. Anywhere. Even the crapper.



Posted By:  Larissa Erin Greer
Photo:  Robert Gill

In theory, Smith’s should be a great bar-slash-venue – they’ve got two stories of ample swaggering room for barflies and band members to strut their stuff, it’s dark and moderately seedy (in that loveable dive bar way), the pool tables beckon for drunken games to break out and the Atlanta room is a fantastic intimate venue for live performers. I actually really love the low lights and café seating that line the edges of the stage area in the upstairs Music Room, and wish that I had more excuses to hang here–the reasonably priced cover charge just isn’t enough. The problem is, most people don’t stop in to Smith’s unless they have friends playing the venue or on the rare occasion that there is some sort of touring band from the mid-90’s rocking out on a random week night. Plenty of local musicians make appearances here, as well as low profile touring acts, but where’s the fire? My advice would be to catch a show at Smith’s without any expectations of greatness attached to your evening, because after a few rounds of stiff drinks even Widespread Panic cover bands have the potential to sound good.



Posted By:  Beth Malone
Photo:  Beth Malone

SweetWater Brewery
We have two local breweries in Atlanta that offer weekly “tasting tours.” Basically you pay $6, get a pint glass with 5-6 tickets, and “sample” signature beers. I never can finish six drinks and usually leave buzzed after two—bring a DD. Both Atlanta Brewing Company and SweetWater Brewery book music each week. ABC is more into Singer/Songwriters and Americana, while Sweetwater sticks to jam bands or Southern rock. Each brewery is distinctive in its own way. I prefer the SweetWater beer, but think the atmosphere and music are better at ABC. The crowds vary from yuppies to GaTech’s finest. ABC tours are Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from 5-7 pm. SweetWater tours are Wednesday to Friday 4:20 pm (dude!)-7 pm. I get lost every time I go to SweetWater; get directions from their website. This is a great way to support our local economy, and to enjoy Atlanta’s best happy hours.



Posted By:  Beth Malone
Photo:  Beth Malone

The Cottage
I have yet to see “Swami go bananas,” but the evidence is there so I can only believe it to be true. A stage covered in tie-dyed sarongs and a pretty nice sound system; this is where he performs the weekend show at Cottage Ethiopian Restaurant on Piedmont Ave. The once Burger King has been converted into an Ethiopian diner; however, there is still a residual feel of fast food. Lots of cheap tile, an unused drive-through, and a Burger King sign on the door leading into the kitchen. We pulled into the taxi-filled parking lot out of shear curiosity to check out this Swami business. Cabbies were drinking Corona and watching African music videos at the bar. We sat down and ordered an appetizer platter. Three stew-like dips came on top of injera: twenty-inch, spongy flat-bread that tastes like sour dough. We chose two lamb sides and a vegetarian lentil. The proper way to eat is to rip the injera, lop up a healthy heap of lamb, and pop it in your mouth. Wash down the spice with an Ethiopian beer. Eating with your fingers is always fun—plus the food is delicious. We didn’t see Swami, but I plan on going back for a weekend show.



Posted By:  Mark Rogers
Photo:  Mark Rogers

I wish I had known about this place years ago when I was a malnourished vegetarian. Back then, I resigned myself to the extremes of the American vegetarian dining experience, which ranged from either bland or absurdly fiery. Also, the restaurants usually lacked warmth and balance, and were politically intimidating—no wonder so many Americans stick to Pizza Hut and Denny’s. But today I sing the praises of Green Sprout! The menu states “All of the beef, chicken, pork, and seafood in our dishes are made from soy, potatoes, and other non-meat products.” And the relaxed atmosphere and attentive wait staff makes you feel comfortable. Mock beef, pork, fish, and poultry aren’t cutesy—they are serious, satisfying, textured creations aimed to please a discriminating palate. The expertly prepared food shows balance; they can bring the blistering spice but they also employ restraint to reveal subtle flavors—the essence of eating vegetarian, right? Whether or not you are a vegan or just watching your diet, Green Sprout is a treasure.



Posted By:  Beth Linder
Photo:  Beth Linder

Agnes and Muriel's
Remember the good ol’ days? Coffee cost a nickel and every night, you could count on Ed Sullivan to introduce the next big celebrity into the comfort of your living room. Nowadays, you need to take out a second mortgage to buy a latté, while reality TV continues to infect our Tivos. Every now and again, it’s nice to indulge in a hearty helping of nostalgia. Enter the front door of Agnes & Muriel’s, and you’re teleported back to a Technicolor kitchen, complete with a robin’s egg blue Frigidaire and the kind of service Zagat would rate as “swell.” As you enjoy your Catskill Scrambler or Muriel’s Homemade Noodle Kugel, you’ll feel the warmth and fuzziness of being surrounded by friends and an obscene collection of vintage Barbie Dolls and stuffed yarn poodles. The portions are generous and served on only the finest plastic. And if you don’t have a seizure from the pattern on your tablecloth, you’ll be sure to enjoy a feast fit for Ralph Cramden, a reasonable tab for our 21st century, and an aching need to go home and watch I Love Lucy reruns.



Posted By:  Deanna Jue
Photo:  Deanna Jue

Twenty-four hour businesses inevitably gain a certain respect to warrant enough appeal for said establishment to be open at, oh, say 4 am on Tuesday. Usually reserved for gas stations, grocery stores, and locksmiths, Midtown Bowl is not only one Atlanta’s few in-town bowling alleys but also a place that gains the respect of 24-hour aficionados around the globe. Night bowlers are a diverse crowd from 20-somethings celebrating a birthday clad in vintage bowling shirts, to the sweatpants wearing college freshman. Afternoons bring corporate team building events, the occasional bowling league, or the truly dedicated taking advantage of the weekday ‘lunch and bowl’ snack bar special. Early morning patrons use the alley as the last stop of a late night or perhaps a quick pre-work game. The retro exterior is faithful to its 1960s heritage, and those not willing to break a nail bowling on one of the 32 lanes can relax in quiet Sugar Daddy’s Lounge with a drink from the full service bar. The reasonably well-edited jukebox selection makes Midtown Bowl the ultimate (and quite possibly only) anytime place to hold a top-shelf vodka tonic and chicken strips basket in one hand and bowling ball in the other.



Posted By:  Mark Rogers
Photo: 

Aurora Coffee
Being a musician in Atlanta isn’t hard. But getting a gig is different. You need a big, beer-swilling crowd and it can take a year to get a headline. And though it used to be that a coffee shop gig was relegated to folkies, today it’s a viable alternative to the zero-sum club game. Brad Jones is a solo performer whose self-admitted mid-life crisis has not included a blonde or a Ferrari—he’s a talented instrumentalist and a local scene advocate. He’s also good friends with Eric King—owner of Criminal Records and, now, Aurora Coffee. They came up with an idea for a Saturday night gig where—along with Brad’s engaging set of music—Atlanta’s musicians have a low-pressure chance to show their stuff. Now everyone plays here—local stars and unknowns. And it’s not just folk, either; electro bands, hip-hop duos, chamber popsters, indie rockers, and blues bands all make your coffee-drinking experience even more stimulating. It’s a great warm-up for your wild weekend romping. Besides, it is really funny when, during a sensitive moment of a song, the baristas crank up the coffee grinder. WHIZZ-RRRRR-CRUNCH!



Posted By:  Sara Kim
Photo:  Sara Kim

Green Sprout
Recently I found myself craving soy protein drenched in Asian sauces, but I didn’t think there was a restaurant closer than Harmony on Buford Highway. Then the other day my coworker told me about Green Sprout, and I ended up there for lunch that same day and found myself back again two days later. Green Sprout offers a five-page menu, and every single “meat” dish—beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp—is made from soy, potatoes, and other non-meat products. In those two days, I was able to try the Hot and Sour Soup, Curry Spring Roll, General Tso’s Chicken, Chicken with Honey Walnut, and Orange Flavored Beef. Of these dishes, my favorite was General Tso’s which had a light, fluffy consistency, which I favored to the dense, tofu-like cubes of Chicken with Honey Walnut. The Hot and Sour Soup was too spicy for my taste, and my friend had to eat half of it while I blew my nose. The Orange Flavored Beef was okay, but I had to eat around the orange rinds since they were burnt and made me cringe when I bit down on them.



Posted By:  Jessica Harbour
Photo:  none

Fat Matt's Rib Shack
Is Fat Matt’s the best barbecue place in Atlanta? Some people swear by it. Some consider it a paltry Morningside also-ran to such real ’cue joints as Aleck’s and Harold’s further south. And then there’s the friend of mine who declares, “It is not barbecue. It is pulled pork.” Fortunately, you don’t have to know much about the barbecue, the blues, or the musicians whose pictures line the walls to enjoy Fat Matt’s—either inside, enjoying the live blues performing every night of the week, or outside, where you’ll be able to hear your friends. There’s no sharing charge, so feel free to split a full rack, and don’t neglect the sides; another friend of mine swears by the Brunswick stew. One more tip: these are not dry ribs (or dry pulled pork). If you’re not happily covered in orange sauce at the end of the meal, you’re doing something wrong.



Posted By:  Jason Cent
Photo:  Jason Cent

piebar
Driving along I-85 in the northbound lanes, your eyes will inescapably be drawn to the funky, white awnings that drape the patio and façade of Piebar. Formerly a bank, complete with a vault and drive-through lanes, Piebar is a hip, modern looking place that doesn’t try to be dressy. Even the wait staff wears t-shirts as part of their uniform, but that doesn’t detract from their extensive knowledge of the menu and wine list. We had to ask our server about multiple menu items, and he was helpful, even offering two wines based on our description of taste preferences. The thin-crust pizzas can be topped with anything from the traditional to the slightly exotic such as green apple, rabbit, and smoked gouda. I recommend trying the antipastos too, which are priced based on selections from three categories: meats, cheeses, and accessories.



Posted By:  Sara Cheshire
Photo: 

Gesundheit. What? Oh, you said Phidippides. If you want to see how many times you get asked to repeat yourself, tell everyone about your new favorite running shoe store. Named after an ancient Greek marathon runner, this store is for the runner by the runner. You won't find high school kids in baggy pants behind the counter confusing pronation with patriotism. Instead, you sign in when you arrive and you are given your very own personal shoe shopper who will check out your gait and foot type before recommending the best shoes for your body. It is never too early to start training for the Peachtree Road Race or stocking up on walking shoes for their monthly organized walk/runs. Sport and nutrition clinics are also available. Now you have no more excuses to sit inside on a smog-free Saturday—go get fit, or fitted.




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Nightlife (6)
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