The Most Fun Dinner Spots In Atlanta
Admit it, when Dave & Buster’s took off in the late ‘90s, you thought the idea of eating a hot wing in one hand while holding a Terminator 2: Judgement Day arcade gun in the other would be a short-lived phase. Well, the joke's (and the mild buffalo sauce, probably) on you. The “eatertainment” segment has not only survived but is thriving in the A. So, if you’re hungry for a new date night spot, an outlet for settling in-office beefs, or just a place to half-ignore family, these are the best spots to eat tasty tavern cuisine while enjoying a fun activity.
Fowling is a new-ish game that involves chucking footballs at bowling pins. And the Upper Westside's Fowling Warehouse has plenty of lanes to practice your spiral. The full bar with typical pub food like tasty lemon pepper wings and get-the-job-done pizza make it easy to grab some solid bites in between games. And if anyone in the group would rather leave the actual football tossing to the Falcons, there are plenty of TVs to soak up whatever sporting event is on.
photo credit: Courtesy of Your 3rd Spot
Chattahoochee Row’s Your Third Spot has 27,000 square feet to fill with games and grub. It does just that with 12 lanes of bowling, old-school arcade games (yep, they have NBA Jam), dartboards, an impressive bar, and several spots, inside and out, for socializing. When you walk into this attention-grabbing multilevel space full of shiny woods and dangling foliage, you might think the dishes here are an afterthought, but the zesty tuna crudo and blue crab fritters show that these small plates want in on the fun, too. Under the premise that your home is No. 1 and work is No. 2, we’d say this Upper Westside location is doing a decent job trying to earn its name.
The Westside Motor Lounge is a former auto repair space that’s now a spacious eat-and-play complex with two bars, a roomy seating area, and sprawling green space with yard games. Grab one of their strong cocktails like the frozen Pink Cadillac Margarita, then find a good spot (and there are plenty) to post up and spectate all the gaming action. When you’ve finally mustered the courage to try your hand at shuffleboard or cornhole, just know the kitchen is waiting on you with a juicy smash burger and five-cheese mac with jalapeño cornbread crumbles if ever/whenever you’re all played out.
We hate to say any address is cursed, but the corner of Atlantic Station where this upscale bowling alley sits hasn’t exactly had the best track record for keeping businesses. Bowlero may have cracked the code, though, with an all-ages playground with 34 lanes, a mini arcade, and full kitchen. The buffalo-sauced cauliflower bites might sound like they have potential, but they’re better rolled into the gutter than chewed. Order the hefty double burger or crispy lemon pepper wings instead, and you’ll at least be full as you sulk about the 65 you just scored.
A centerpiece of the West Midtown's buzzing Interlock development, Puttshack has quickly become one of the city’s top destinations for couples and team-building outings, which is wild because most evenings Puttshack is so crowded, we can barely hear ourselves drink. When you can elbow your way to the bar, you’ll find solid cocktails like the dramatic Smokin’ Painkiller. Their American pub food won’t top the leaderboard, but the Atlanta hot chicken sandwich and Maryland crab dip have enough flavor to keep your mind off the fact that 12 groups are still ahead of you in the golfing queue.
Another shiny piece of Colony Square’s extensive makeover, Midtown’s IPIC might just be the city’s most elevated movie-going experience. After walking into the theater, you’ll take a dramatic escalator ride, Rain Man-style, from the ground level to the screening rooms. There, you’ll find couple-pods that have comfortable reclining leather seats and even a small cubby for bags. But if you think that’s the whole show, just wait until one of the stealthy “IPIC covert operatives” delivers your food during the trailers. While the juicy cheeseburger and plump wings are the headliners, the seasonal cocktails—Autumn Apple Falls is a cinnamon-infused vodka showstopper—deserve a spot on the marquee, too.
photo credit: Heidi Geldhauser
This Westside staple showcases vintage parlor games like duckpin bowling (smaller ball, three rolls per frame) and shuffleboard in a wood-covered, earth-toned setting that looks like the snazziest Bass Pro Shops you ever entered. The ambitious kitchen’s crispy brussels are the can’t-have-just-one snack you’ll cherish between strikes. Shrimp and filet mignon skewers are the alley foods you never knew you were missing. And there’s nothing quite like a panko-breaded duck nugget dipped in ranch to break up a heated round of snookball.
Between the incredibly heavy-handed cocktails and the eight entree options, there’s certainly a lot to feast on at this lively dinner theater and drag show on Buford Highway. At $32, which covers your three-course dinner, dishes like salmon with a mango salsa and mushroom ravioli actually deliver a pretty solid meal. The only bland thing on the menu is the al carte spinach dip appetizer. Running Wednesday through Sunday, themed shows include everything from Broadway numbers to celebrity impersonations—be sure to get a reservation for the best seating (there are cozy four-person booths, long communal tables in the middle, and a mezzanine area in the back of the room), or risk getting sat by the bar, out of stage view, in no man’s land.
Beat the Bomb on the Upper Westside is like an escape room on steroids. You'll feel like you’re preparing to enter some type of restricted toxic chemical spill area as you don hazmat suits and face shields. Make your way through a series of rooms, each with their own interactive puzzle to solve or obstacles like whirring lasers (cue the Mission Impossible theme song). Because the stifling suits can make bathroom trips a little more cumbersome, we recommend doing the bulk of your drinking after your session—try the refreshing rum-based Blue Hawaiian slushie. The food isn’t the main draw here, but the hot dogs are beyond credible—enough to make our Best Hot Dogs guide. We particularly enjoy the Seoul with spicy kimchi or the Texas Dawg that comes topped with Fritos, queso, and jalapeños.
When we’re ready to escape our boring lives, we like to hit Revery VR Bar to get medieval and slash things with a digital sword. Even without the VR headsets, the Midtown spot feels otherworldly with neon lights providing a red, hazy underground club vibe. Snap on their headsets and prepare yourself for games like archery and hand-to-hand combat that put you right in the action. Late night, the Midtown spot has DJs and a full bar. And while you still can’t eat in the virtual world (is someone working on that?), visit the Heartbreakers food truck to get a large, greasy cheeseburger, which rivals Grindhouse and comes paired with cajun, lemon pepper, or sour cream and onion fries (we’re here for the mayo-based sauce, too).
photo credit: Mhandy Gerard
When not booked out for a corporate event, this two-level eat-and-play venue in the Battery Atlanta is a great place to bring family and friends for a more interesting pub-quality meal. In between bites of loaded fries, you can tackle everything from Nippy’s “One Moment in Time” to Nipsey’s “Dedication” in one of their private karaoke rooms. Or, if you prefer hitting pins to high notes, there’s bowling—but also ping pong, darts, and other table games. With big central bars on both levels and waiters who service the game areas, a stiff drink is never out of reach. And you can opt for the massive four- and eight-serving punch bowl cocktails to keep your crew quenched (plus, who would dare sing Whitney with a dry throat?).
We’re not really sure what corporate event planners did before Topgolf. Sticking a bunch of suits in a golf bay with food and drinks seems like an easy no-brainer and a win over the goat yoga retreat in Serenbe that the HR team has been pushing for years. With everything from a full-service bar and trendy cocktails to breakfast and kids meals, the three-level, 65,000-square-foot Upper Westside venue (there are three metro locations) has something for everyone. And the temperature-controlled outdoor bays provide a fun, year-round escape for some fresh air and an acceptable excuse to hit things with metal clubs. The food delivers a few wins too—we like the fried mac and cheese bites and the steak nachos that come paired with a commendable chimichurri sauce.
If it’s been far too long since you cursed at a giant screen of Pac-Man desperately trying to eat the final dot, then head to Slingshot Social in West Midtown to rectify this consuming problem. They have every kind of game imaginable, from digital selections like Galaga and Big Buck Hunter to tactile options like basketball and Dance Revolution. You can get electronic wristbands for the beer wall (think Pour), making it easy to refill drinks while you heckle your friends playing Skee-Ball. You’re not really here for the food, but the nachos with spicy chili and jalapeños or the pretty standard hot dog with fries are decent when you need a break from your losing streak in duckpin or jet pong.