Where To Watch Football And Eat Good Wings guide image

ATLGuide

Where To Watch Football And Eat Good Wings

Because we’ve finally found the perfect use for the word "wingding."

You could argue that the only thing native Atlantans take more seriously than their Falcons football is their Buffalo wings. But unlike the Dirty Birds in high stakes games, the ATL’s roster of flavor-packed appetizers rarely comes up short. In fact, most of the places in this roundup have become go-to spots to huddle up before/during/after the action because of their consistency in the kitchen. Be it with lemon-pepper flats or Szechuan-flavored drums, these are the places that score big when it comes to taste.

THE SPOTS

Big Game Sports Bar & Grill imageoverride image
8.0

Big Game Sports Bar & Grill

$$$$

720 Ralph McGill Blvd NE Unit 1, Atlanta
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Options are the name of the game at this new Old Fourth Ward sports bar. You can either sit in the elevated viewing area, at one of the high-top tables near the dartboards, around the horseshoe-shaped bar, or out on the covered patio. Once you get to your chair, you’ll have five flavors of good-sized wings to pick from: mild, hot, teriyaki, barbecue, and lemon pepper. We’ll save you decision-making time. The latter soaks best in Big Game’s crispy-but-not-too-hard wing skin.

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

Taco Mac imageoverride image
7.3

Taco Mac

Staring rival Hudson Grille down from across Peachtree Street in Midtown, this ATL fave doesn’t blink an eye because it knows it’s got history (locals have wiped their chins at area Taco Mac locations since ’79), a booth-filled dining area, and a whopping 17 wing flavors on its side. If you’re in the mood for some heat, fried Cajun Voodoo Magic wings hit the spot. But where Taco Mac separates itself from its neighbors is with juicy, oven-roasted options you can coat in barbecue or any other sauce.

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With six locations in the metro area (including this sometimes slept-on Midtown option), Hudson Grille has earned a reputation for being a straightforward stop for watching a game or UFC fight while getting a decent bite to eat. On your next visit, skip the thick, almost-ketchupy Maker’s Mark BBQ wings and, instead, go for sweet-and-spicy ones with a slight mustard zip that’ll leave you smacking. But since there are so many TVs and projector screens in here, nobody will ever hear you.

Colorful NFL quarterback Cam Newton and brother C.J. opened this Castleberry Hills barbecue spot as a place for sports fans to congregate on game days and for hungry folks to gather just about any day (they’re closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). The tone is set with ESPN-glued TVs, a full bar, and a generally festive energy. As far as the food goes, just know Smokey Stallion’s MVPs are the tender rib tips and ranch-sprinkled Dirty Bird wings.

Because this beloved Ponce De Leon location is closing its doors soon to prep for a Northlake relocation in 2023, time is running out to sample these wings. Before the moving trucks arrive, though, pull up to the spacious bar and order a 10-piece Tennessee Hot. While these have some certified kick, the wings are on the smaller side, so we’re confident in saying you’ll be aiight.

STATS’ open, brick-and-steel feel works for a quick bite before tipoff at State Farm Arena down the street or a full-fledge birthday party in one of the impressive event spaces. Trust us—we’ve done both here. The one thing that rang true on both occasions was how quickly folks ran through the mild Buffalo wings. Just plump enough. Just fiery enough, too. These hand-held treats are a perfect starter at a perfectly placed downtown sports bar.

While not technically a sports bar, this Virginia-Highland favorite wins with fans because of $3 draft beers, UGA games on the tube, and delicious food. And while you’ll spot traditional terms such as “pulled pork” and “smoked wings” on the menu, know that these dishes will be presented in untypical (and rather good) ways. A prime example are lemon pepper wings tossed in an amazing Szechuan sauce. Who knew the combination of spiciness, smoke, and SEC football could blend so well?

The Original JR Crickets on North Ave. in Midtown is like that one cousin you have—hella loud and a little unkempt, but you two always have a good time. Though some of our starch-collared friends have wanted no part of the place for the past decade, we still love the taste of a good 10-piece Dirty Bird (a wild mix of mild, barbecue, and lemon pepper sauces) and fries after a long, hard night of celebrating. Yeah, the wings are itsy-bitsy and are sometimes fried a little hard, but Crickets is family. You love ’em. You hate ’em. You douse ’em in ranch, and keep it pushin’.

A quick drive from Mercedes-Benz Stadium and a quicker walk from Georgia State’s Center Parc Credit Union Stadium, this Summerhill spot works for any pre-game revelry, game-time gathering,  or post-game celebration. Though the clubby feel (loud music, a metal detector, hookah smoke) won’t be for everyone trying to enjoy the action, the spot does enough to keep plenty of fans happy—since good spirit (and good spirits) is especially needed during those always-tense conference matchups. We counted roughly 20 TVs on the wall and nearly 10 wing flavors on the menu—most being a variation of the phrase “hot as hell.” It’s great that 656 Sports’ lemon-hinted sweet tea is some of the city’s best.

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