The following comes from Ellen T. (elterchi), a die-hard Syracuse Orange fan living in Atlanta. It's her run-down of everything you need to know, everywhere you need to be and everything you need to consume. Big huzzah and kudos to her for going above and beyond and actually negotiating some deals with local bars & restaurants for Syracuse fans. Take advantage of them!
There are already tons of resources out there outlining the many activities Syracuse fans can partake in this weekend, including the team practice, SU alumni/fan tailgate, games, etc. The concerts including awesome acts like Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Ludacris are all FREE and the weather looks to be beautiful all weekend. The entire lineup is here: http://www.ncaa.com/final-four#!daily_schedule.
This post is meant to help folks that want to get out of downtown to have some fun and explore this phenomenal city. Trust me, you want to do this.
BTW I’m from the Northeast and have lived in Atlanta for about 6 years now, and contrary to what certain publications have stated, there isn’t much difference between "north time" and "south time." If someone here calls you "Ma'am, Sir, or Miss Maria" for that matter while you’re here, I’ll gladly buy you a mimosa (see brunch section below).
Here are some ideas from a local for bars, restaurants, etc. I’ve worked with some fantastic local peeps to secure deals for SU fans as well which are in BOLD.
Brunch is huge in the south. We thoroughly enjoy raising a glass (or 4) of champeezy with a dollop of OJ or a bloody on a Saturday or Sunday. Some great brunch options are Murphy’s, The Nook on Piedmont Park, Highland Baker, West Egg and Einstein’s.
Speaking of the Nook, their patio is one of the best around. Wear ‘Cuse gear for: $4 Bacardi Bombs, OR a cheeseburger, tots (highly recommend nacho totchos) and 2 Nook brews for $10.
Both the Nook and Einstein’s have great patios, plus they’re within a block of…
…Piedmont Park. This is our version of Central Park and it’s gorgeous for a stroll. You can do some fantastic people-watching from the patio at Park Tavern (http://www.parktavern.com/) which is a local favorite hangout on Sunday afternoons for dish and drink.
If you’re looking for nightlife, you’ll want to high tail it out of downtown by taxi or car service as quickly as possible. The "Uber" app is great and has really caught on in Atlanta as well as other large cities. Receive $10 off your first ride when you sign up and use code uber.com/invite/tpf89. Uber is slightly more expensive than regular taxi but not by much, and you get a town car or SUV. It’s much more reliable than taxis in my experience.
Your main choices for nightlife are Midtown, Virginia Highlands, and Buckhead. Let me break them down for you. I’m sure others will beg to differ but these are my opinions. Fellow Atlantans – please feel free to add your own opinions!
Classy bars & lounges. I live here so I’m probably biased. Ages are varied from college up through 30s. Lots of bars and restaurants within walking distance.
Try: Flip Flops to throw a few back or its downstairs neighbor Koo Koo Room, my personal fave for a night out. Don’t go there in a tee shirt or they’ll turn you away. This is more like a smaller NYC lounge and DJ’s are some of the best around. There is a good chance you will see Charles Barkley there. Mention Syracuse Orange and receive free entry into Flip Flops on Fri OR Sat before 11:30, or Koo Koo Room on Fri before 11:30.
A great little Italian spot for pizzas and pastas near these bars is Piola. Mention Syracuse Orange Friday-Monday to your server for 10% off your tab.
The Cheetah – Being a gentleman's club, I'm sure you can't imagine me knowing much about it. I mean, why would I have reason to go there? Entry is free before 4pm, $4 between 4-7pm, $12 between 7-10pm, and $20 after 10pm. As a reminder for all you northerners, these time slots are all on "south time". Two other insider tips from someone who knows nothing about the place. If you go earlier in the day for "lunch" (their food is amazing and 4 star quality, for real), you can get your hand stamped and get back in free later in the night. They usually take ticket stubs from sporting events as free admission, but that’s not in effect this weekend. I didn’t tell you this, but you may be able to use a concierge business card from local hotels for free admission, even at night.
A favorite local hangout of mine is Marlow’s Tavern in Midtown (practically next door to the Cheetah, both accessible by Midtown station of Marta train. ‘Cuse fans will receive 10% of food purchases from Friday-Monday by sporting ‘Cuse gear or mentioning the Orange to your server. I would classify this as an upscale sports bar with awesome food. Try the fish tacos.
A bunch of bars all in walking distance to one another. Pretty casual and all ages. Read: I don’t feel old when I go there. Not as far from Downtown as Buckhead. Try Hand in Hand, Atkins Park or Dark Horse.
The scene is young and people get really drunk. It’s a blast if you’re still in that phase of life and looking for a frat guy with shaggy hair or a sorority girl. Read: Otto’s Army. I personally kind of outgrew it a few years back but enjoyed many fun nights there and probably jealous I can’t still hang. Try 5 paces, Dive Bar, Stagecoach, Pool Hall, etc. They’re all within a block of one another. And if you make it to Pool Hall, tell bartender "John John" that Ellen sent you. At the very least you’ll get a free hug, and probably some verrrrrrrry cheap shots. DJs there are great too!
There are also some great bars on the Edgewood Avenue, which is close to downtown. Many celebs have frequented Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, and Corner Tavern and Sound Table are worth checking out.
If any ladies (or gents, no gender bias permitted here in the proper south) have shopaholic issues as I do and are looking to kill some time, we have some amazing spots for retail therapy:
Lenox Mall – I think of it as our "normal" mall but it’s huge and contains the usual suspects like Bloomies, Macy’s & Neiman’s, as well as some higher end shops. You could spend all day in there. Not that you would want to this weekend.
Phipps Plaza – if you stop by and DON’T spot a celebrity, well you just didn’t look hard enough. At a minimum, a real housewife of Atlanta. Nene, anyone? All kidding aside, this is a really great mall for those that don’t have a budget. At all. Ever. Shops Around Lenox – Tootsies, Fabrik, Deka, Lululemon, Cosabella) if you don't want to enter the mall.
Some of my favorite restaurants in town:
- Barcelona (half price bottles of wine on Sundays)
- Kevin Rathbun Steak
- Empire State South (Ed. Note: HUGH ACHESON!)
- Hal’s Steakhouse
- Tin Lizzies (multiple locations)
- Cucina Asellina
This is kinda random but if you’re into horses, the Budweiser Clydesdales will be at Turner Field on Friday 5:30pm - 7:30pm and Sunday 11:30am - 1:30pm. They will be located on RDA (Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. – between the Green Lot and Monument Plaza). The Braves are at home all weekend vs. the Cubs. But hopefully we will all be way too busy witnessing Orange Basketball Domination to care.
It’s worth mentioning that Anchorman 2 is currently filming in Atlanta, so if you spot a Will Ferrell or Paul Rudd lookalike in a ‘stache...it's probably them.
We are so excited to see all of our Orange friends here in "The A"…I mean "The A-T-L"…I mean "A-Town" this weekend! And you can feel free to just refer to it as "Atlanta", thank you very much.