This is in no way meant to be a shot at anyone who likes $3 Bud Lights at the local TGI Fridays, but for beer connoisseurs with a bit of foodie in them, this combination simply won’t cut it as a dinner and drinks option. As someone who visits breweries on a regular basis and takes pride in the fact that I enjoyed over 500 different brews last year alone I feel my research on the subject is quite extensive.
Along the way, I’ve even converted a few of the Bud Light crew to hop on board the craft brew scene. However, in order to make a night out truly shine, the food has to be as passionately prepared as the beer (or wine if that is your thing) paired with it. If you are traveling for work or just on vacation, it is important to be brave and avoid chain restaurants at all costs, so you get a taste of the local fare.
That is why in my travels around the southeast, I am sure to drop in on the resident’s pick for best tavern, grill, gastro pub, or bar that also takes their food seriously.
Brick Store Pub (Atlanta, GA)
If you find yourself in the south’s largest city, don’t complete your visit without checking out Brick Store Pub. Located in the lively neighborhood of Decatur in Atlanta, Brick Store serves up the best blend of great pub food and insanely good brews. With multiple levels decked out in a rustic cabin feel, you’ll feel right at home and will find it hard to leave. Highlights of the menu include the warm Bavarian pretzels served until closing every night, as well as a meatloaf sandwich that kills.
If you are looking for a larger fare, they offer a chicken pot pie that will warm your soul. While the food is good, the beer list is what sets Brick Store apart from all pretenders is the beer cellar. This is heaven on earth for all craft brew enthusiasts looking to score a great brew that has been aged to perfection. There are two cellars, so the cellar menu is actually bigger than the food menu. In addition to the aged cellar brews, Brick Store also rotates great draft beer selection.
Avenue Gastrobar (Orlando, FL)
Just because you’ve ventured into the land of Mickey Mouse and seemingly every chain restaurant in the country within a few square miles does not mean you can’t find good eats to go with a solid brew list.
Look no further than Avenue Gastrobar the next time you venture to the big city that sits just outside the borders of Cinderella’s castle. Just a few minutes from Amway Arena, home of the Magic, you can skip the tailgating and enjoy a solid beer selection along with fun mix drinks and wine if you’d like to keep it classy. The food also beats anything you can grill up in a parking lot. The menu includes several highlights, but the one that gets me is the Chicken & Waffles.
This classic southern dish always pairs well with a night of good drinks. Avenue also has a great selection of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and other classic pub fare. If you go that route, be sure to pair dinner with two of the most bomb desserts found anywhere: Fried Oreos and Croissant Donuts. How do you top those?
Red Fish Grill (New Orleans, LA)
No list of best anything when it comes to restaurants can be complete without a little New Orleans flair. Red Fish Grill gets the nod though in a city of great bars and great restaurants because it does both exceptionally well. We’ll start with the food that consists of just about any fresh seafood fare you could want. You cannot pass on a dozen oysters and in truth you’ll probably order a couple dozen for the table.
The rest of the menu is served up with Cajun-inspired dishes that provide a kick to your taste buds. If you are looking for a drink, Red Fish Grill has you covered. They have an assortment of spirits and wine that is as grandiose as the giant oysters that line the walls around the bar. With so many great breweries in Louisiana it would be a shame not to feature as many of their brews as possible.
Red Fish has a selection from all of the locals along with some other great craft beers from around the country. Your NOLA trip is sure to be packed with all kinds of great meals and great drinks, just be sure to get to Red Fish located right on Bourbon street and just a paces from the Hustler store.. c’mon you know you noticed the Hustler store.
The writer, Brian Levesque, is a food critic who travels the world trying to find the best meals and drinks no matter where he happens to be. If you wish to learn more about Brian you can visit on Google+.