LIFESTYLE An Unexpected Time in Atlanta

5 min

Welcome to the series that swerves your stopover into a whole new dimension.

One of America’s most ‘up-and-coming’ cities, Atlanta has so much more to offer in 2021 than Southern Hospitality and good ol’ ‘Sweet Tea’ (although we’re not knocking either of these institutions). Explore Atlanta’s exploding fusion cuisine scene, cutting-edge architecture, art installations and nostalgic gems for Gen-X kids… and leave room to take in a bit of ‘time travel’ for dessert.

Unite Past and Present at Miller Union

While it’s always advisable to get your mits on some real down-home ribs and/or diner grits when you visit Georgia, if you can wangle a reservation at Miller Union the experience is not to be missed. Get ready for Southern food at its most refined, with a truly inspired creative edge from Georgia native Steven Satterfield.  Understated masterpieces (see: a single silky farm egg in luxurious celery cream) and subtle explorations of local cuisine (see: fried pork chop with creamed greens or duck breast with hoecakes and strawberry) are served in a truly unpretentious high-end setting. Yes, we know that’s an oxymoron…but it’s true in the best possible way. Put it like this: you could lounge at Miller Union for a long, lazy lunch or splash out on a very special foodie birthday celebration. Miller Union is a warm, welcoming, forward-thinking bastion of Southern Hospitality sure to put a smile on even the sourest face (especially if you add a whiskey sour or two to sweeten the deal).

Goggle at a Glass Tree House 

Forget Grand Designs, this original bit of construction will inspire and delight even the most cynical of archi-skeptics. Suspended above the ground in a thicket of towering Georgia trees is a modern architectural wonder: hidden in a grove of hardwood trees near Ormewood park, Atlanta’s glass treehouse is a sleek modern marvel. From the street, it’s virtually invisible, as the elevated, transparent dwelling is surrounded by greenery. Made from mostly recycled materials, this two-story structure is built with glass panels and steel hardware, and appears to elegantly defy gravity.  Planning ahead? It can even be rented on Airbnb if you’re lucky enough to find an available slot!  Word to the wise – people really do live here, so be respectful as you ogle its glorious wonders.

Georgia Aquarium - Photo by Matt Helbig on Unsplash

Trip out with Tiny Doors ATL 

Less you fear you’re falling into some kind of Alice-in Wonderland-type trance as you walk the streets of Atalanta… let us explain. A subtle conceptual art installation graces the city, creating a strange and wonderful sense of mystery. Aptly named ‘Tiny Doors ATL’, this immersive ‘exhibit’ includes a series of, er… tiny doors… located in random streets and unannounced to any but those in the know.  Beautifully decorative, quietly subversive, these tiny portals seem to lead to magical worlds beyond the everyday city – passage to a ‘hidden’ Atlanta’, in miniature. There are seventeen of these doors to find if you feel like a personalized scavenger hunt (or a guided tour) – including one gigantic door designed to make you the tiny one.  Clue number one? Begin at the Georgia Aquarium…. which, by the by, isn’t just the largest aquarium in the world, but the only one outside Asia with a (24 million litre) tank big enough to host whale sharks!

Courtesy of Kimball House, Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Have a Highball at Kimball House 

Located in an original 1891 train depot, this restaurant—and its award-winning cocktail menu—is the opulent setting of Atlanta’s best period bar. Slow-whirring fans add to the atmosphere of original ‘Southern hospitality’ and liquor shelves rise impressively right up to the high ceiling. Superhuman barkeep and co-owner Miles Macquarrie ensures that every drink is served in its authentic glass  – and can be seen climbing the bar ladder to dramatically call last orders. Pair a dozen of the city’s best oysters with an extensive list of absinthes in a setting that takes you back in time with an elegant turn-of-the-century vibe.

Courtesy of Kimball House, Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Get your kicks at Joystick Gamebar 

Overgrown children, nostalgic hipsters, and chic geeks alike can be found in this arcade-themed bar that was one of the first revivals of its kind to surface in 2012 (with a ‘Friends’-style Mrs. Pac-Man machine) on Edgewood Avenue.  Lounge along to this self-identified “nerdy dive bar,” and get stuck into such classics from the old-school arcade genre as Galaga, Mortal Kombat, and Space Invaders (for only 25 cents a game). Get your grown-up on with the bar’s boozy slushies, picklebacks, and cans of local craft beer… safe in the knowledge that nerds are now sexy, and millenials need never grow up.

And if all that southern hospitality hasn’t lulled you toward a four-poster, trot down to Bloomingdale’s at Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road, 30326 Atlanta for a trip to the TAG Heuer Boutique, where our very own wearable works of art are on display for a well-timed bit of retail therapy.