When you think of historical cities in America, you have to put Atlanta in the top 10. It may have burned in the Civil War, but the biggest city in the South came back stronger and better than ever. From “Gone With the Wind” to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement to Hank Aaron and culminating with the 1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta is a cosmopolitan city in every sense of the word. Some of the great bars in Atlanta have a history of their own, check out these fine establishments and the locations where they reside.
602 N. Highland Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
Walk up to Manuel’s Tavern in the Highlands and you can almost smell the history. Any talk of bars in Atlanta begins with Manuel’s as this is the place where journalists, politicians and even normal citizens have gone to hash out all of the world’s problems. Manuel Maloof started this joint in 1956 and even though he has passed, it still carries on the tradition of being a neighborhood bar. All of Atlanta’s mayors have been regulars at Manuel’s and it’s the spot where future President Jimmy Carter announced his intention to run for governor of Georgia in 1970. History is always being made at Manuel’s.
2840 S. Main St. N.W.
Kennesaw, GA 30144
The railroad has always played a major role in the history of Atlanta and other cities in the South. That is the case with the old railroad town and now growing city of Kennesaw. The Trackside Grill celebrates the railroad with many railroad relics scattered throughout this restaurant and bar that offers a casual dining environment. Come for the food, stay for the live music and take in the history of downtown Kennesaw and the fact that this eatery is located right on the railroad tracks.
The Museum Bar
181 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30312
This upscale bar isn’t located in a museum, but in a centuries-old building close to the Capitol and Turner Field. You can smell and taste the history in this building and part of town. Enjoy the best vodka in town while gazing out over the Atlanta skyline. The interior was designed by the famed Jim Weinberg, so you know you are going to have a great time at Museum Bar.
Footprints Jamaican Restaurant and Lounge
50 Lower Alabama St. S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
While Footprints is a fine establishment, the history comes into play here solely because it is located in Underground Atlanta. This historical section of Atlanta attracts both locals and tourists. Underground Atlanta is a series of viaducts that were built in the 1800s. The viaducts were built to bring a new rail system to Atlanta, but when that didn’t happen, this turned into a center of commerce. While the first merchants are long gone, the original storefronts remain to this day. Underground Atlanta is a living and vibrant piece of Atlanta history.
Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium
466 Edgewood Ave. S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30312
Don’t be fooled by the name as this is one of the best bars in town. It’s a bar that feels like a church with some ping pong tables thrown in. Sister Louisa’s is housed in an old building in the Historic Old Fourth Ward. Located right next to the Martin Luther King Center, this bar doubles as an art gallery. It’s the brainchild of Grant Henry who envisioned this as a church for people to relax. Wednesday night is “Church Organ Karaoke” where you can dress in church robes and sing along. This building is part of Atlanta’s history, and now you can come and make some of your own.
Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer in Atlanta and he loves covering anything Falcons-related. His work can be found at Examiner.com.