9 Places To Eat And Drink Near The Fox Theatre
All less than a half mile from ATL's famous Fox Theatre, the following Midtown restaurants and bars are great places to grab a drink and bite pre-show—and some are worthy of a curtain call of their own.
A cute hairstyle. A new outfit. We definitely see you. But since you’re heading into a two-hour production of Dancing With The Stars: Live in Midtown's dark, cavernous Fox Theatre, not many others will. So as always, we got you. From trendy venues where you can strut in like a fancy art market scammer to places where you really just need a strong buzz to get through yet another musical your friend bought nonrefundable tickets to, here are a few places to eat around the Fox.
The Ponce Room Bar & Kitchen
The Ponce Room Bar & Kitchen offers casual Southern bites in the laid-back atmosphere at Courtyard by Marriott, just about 200 feet away from the Fox, where it feels like time is irrelevant and folks are constantly coming and going. While nothing you get here will be bad, it won’t be memorable either. Go for the burger, which has a tasty comeback sauce, plenty of cheese, and sweet pickles. And the wings with a smoky dry rub are a nice snack as you watch Midtown traffic whiz by through the floor-to-ceiling windows that open to their patio.
Publik Draft House
Don’t get us wrong, there are quite a few Fox showings when you’ll blend right in wearing that holey, well-worn concert t-shirt that you still have from the late ’90s. In those cases, beer, strong bourbon drinks, pub fare, and a dark tavern atmosphere will be more of your calling. That’s also when the two-level Publik Draft House delivers with sweet potato fries and a hearty burger. Just steer clear of entrees like the gamey duck quesadilla and the unseasoned fried catfish.
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photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee
When we’re on a mission to see if our date's face actually looks like their profile pic, we hit Lila Lyla’s well-lit but small dining room. When that’s full, and it usually is, we'll settle for the dim bar and accept our catfish fate. This Midtown spot is the area’s most upscale pasta place, so you can get all dressed up in your finest threads to dine on fancy-sounding things like duck lasagna before or after a show. But we prefer the appetizers over most of the pasta dishes (if there was wagyu beef in the black truffle ravioli, we sure couldn’t find it). But the crispy artichoke appetizer, intricately shaped into roses, is crunchy on the outside with a buttery center, and we would gladly eat the lemon-mint aioli out of a tub.
With Livingston solely focused on breakfast until further notice, fans of The Georgian Terrace restaurant’s American fare or its proximity to the Fox must settle for this adjacent hotel bar come dinnertime. Though the modest seating setup won’t wow like the dining room’s bright, column-filled space did, thankfully, its menu showcases some of Livingston’s culinary flair. Juicy burgers and light bites are the headliners now. When the sprawling, wrap-around patio is open, it's the perfect place to sit with a drink and watch the glam (and not-so-glam) entrances to the Fox. But the fact you can still wait until the last second to finish your meal because you’re right across the street from the venue is the best perk.
El Viñedo Local
This cozy South American wine bar and tapas shop is definitely the place we'd go if we're just looking for a quick glass of vino (perhaps Chilean Pinot) and a tiny (and tidy) empanada, so we don't mess up our theater outfits. But when we’re less fearful of splattering their garlicky, wine-based mussel broth, we're here asking for a spot on their well-lit patio or for the long, communal wooden high top so there's more table space to order three-quarters of the menu. The minimalist-chic interior is enough of a blank slate to make El Viñedo a good pick for an intimate romantic date night setting or for a chill gathering with friends.
photo credit: Karen Calver
Finding a sleek and stylish restaurant in Midtown isn’t really a surprise, but there’s something particularly charming about El Valle. From the intricate black and white star-patterned floor to the emerald chairs, the Mexican restaurant dials up the gloss and dims down the lights. Toss back a Bonita y Mentirosa, a crisp and fresh tequila cocktail, as you decide between the light but flavorful risotto with scallops or the Mole de Ajo Negro, which reminds us of one of those generations-perfected family pot roast recipes. If an entree seems too heavy before you sit through a two-hour production at the Fox, their tacos are excellent substitutes. And since they're open late, roll in for another cocktail after the show, too.
Bon Ton is an ultra casual Cajun-Vietnamese bar and restaurant with a glow-up Instagram filter. This is a spot to feel comfortable getting down and dirty, cracking crab legs with your teeth, and eating broth-soaked potatoes with bare hands. But then you'll peep the "Fancy Service" neon sign that casts a rosy hue over the whole restaurant and wonder if you missed a memo. Especially since the Posh and Becks look-alikes next to you happen to be sipping sazeracs and eating charbroiled oysters with miniature forks. But then you'll opt to hold the bowl to your mouth and chug down the remaining seafood boil broth, and somehow that feels just right too.
If you spot a sea of folks between West Peachtree and Peachtree streets on the weekend, it’s probably because of Negril’s popular One Love Brunch. Expect things to be a bit more subdued at this Caribbean spot on weekday evenings, when reggae tunes and soft conversations lightly bounce off the walls of the converted firehouse. Kitchen highlights include collard green spring rolls and a hearty oxtail pasta that goes down like pot roast, which you can attempt to walk off during the five-minute stroll from your table to the Fox.
We’re always in danger of missing showtime when we say we’re just doing a "quick drink" at Poor Calvin’s before an event. That’s because we always need a considerable amount of time to taste our way through their full menu of tasty, creative cocktails, like their glass flask-presented long island with chai tea. The Asian fusion restaurant also has some of the best food in town, so build in some extra time to chow down on hit dishes, such as the lobster fried rice and fried grouper prik kingh in a halved pineapple. And trust you’ll be joined by a merry band of other theater-goers, special occasion diners, date nighters, and everyday regulars, who will occupy every available bar space and table of this beloved Atlanta restaurant.