atlanta saturday

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my group of friends is starting to become co-mingled, folks from college and folks from work.  with that, we have different allegiances to our alma maters, the main rivalry being between uga and georgia tech.  a heated conversation came up at lunch last week over which town, atlanta or athens, is more fun to explore and enjoy.  so, to give both cities a fighting chance, we decided we would spend a saturday in atlanta and then a weekend in athens.  things started with a day in atlanta this past saturday.  let’s see how things shook out!

if you are an atlantan, you know that the city has lots of breweries all over town.  red brick is the top of my list right now, but we wanted to try something new, so we cabbed it over to the west side to visit monday night brewing (mnb).  the line was already out the door when we arrived, but they moved through pretty quickly to get us inside.  for $10 you get a souvenir pint glass and six tickets, which can amount to roughly 3-4 beers, depending on how you use them.  mnb has a spacious indoor area with plenty of standing room but lots of lounge furniture as well.  the outdoor patio, where we spent most of the afternoon, will be wonderful when the weather warms up, but since it is not the largest space, i can imagine it getting pretty crowded pretty quickly.

this visit was my first time trying any of the mnb concoctions, so i sipped and stuck with only two.  the first was the drafty kilt scotch ale that i liked just fine but would probably pass on if it were offered to me again.  it is a “dark, malty bombshell of a beer” if that is your thing.  the other brew i tried and liked much more was the fu manbrew belgian-style wit.  it looked a little dark for my taste, but it was an “effervescent, easy-drinking wheat beer” that kept me coming back for more.

we made our departure from mnb around five that afternoon and moseyed on over to park tavern, an atlanta establishment that has called piedmont park home since 1999.  i have been to park tavern a handful of times, but it has been a couple of years since my last visit.  we had wanted to sit in the covered outdoor area, but all the tables were already taken or reserved for other groups, so we weaved around the ice skating rink and found a table inside.  park tavern has a decent beer selection, but i stuck with the tried-and-true blue moon.  we ordered the queso and black bean dip to hold us over until dinner.  it was so nice to just sit and talk and be with one another.  andrew, batkinson, and i made conversation about work, the olympics, and everything in between.  our waitress was a bit lackadaisical, but since we weren’t in a hurry, it wasn’t too big of a deal at all.

as our plates and glasses emptied, we finally pinned down the dinner plans and extended the invitation to anyone and everyone.  we paid our checks, hopped in the cars, and ventured to cypress street pint and plate in midtown.

the inside dining area was quite full, so we plopped ourselves down right next to a fire and some heaters on the patio.  the olympics were on all around us and it was so refreshing to just be outdoors and enjoying some fresh air for a change.  after being cooped up because of another ice storm, being out-and-about was a must for this day.

our group was winding down for the most part, so we had a couple of rounds, some small plates, and great conversation and jokes.  hannah was able to join us, and so were nathan, alison, eric, and claire.  i like that our group is now becoming a bit spontaneous, with folks who are able joining us on a whim if someone is up for something.  we’re young and adventurous, and we should be jumping into those moments whenever they come around.

all-in-all, atlanta delivered.  the day was relaxing and low-key, which was just the ticket.  i look forward to doing it again when spring decides to make an appearance down here.

so, are you team atlanta or team athens?  stay tuned to find out which city takes the cake!

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