ATLGuide

Where To Watch Football & Eat Good Wings

Because we’ve finally found the perfect use for the word "wingding."
Where To Watch Football & Eat Good Wings image

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

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Bar Food

Old Fourth Ward

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The BarLate Night EatsDrinking Good Beer
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Good wings and great beer always rope in a crowd, so we're never surprised when see everyone from suits to artsy types in the booths of this O4W dive bar. Yes, it's also a lively scene with loud music, karaoke, and darts, but everyone is here for the crispy wings—arguably the best wings in ATL. The place doesn't do to-go orders, so you just gotta come and hang out, which isn't really a problem when you put a local brew on the table and combo of lemon pepper and Korean Buffalo wings.

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.

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.

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.

photo credit: Amisha Nair for Bites and Bev Media

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.

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.

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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?

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

$$$$Perfect For:Day DrinkingSports!

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’ lightly lemon-flavored sweet tea is some of the city’s best.

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