While I still try to avoid natural light at all costs, I do occasionally leave my man cave. It is in this vein I go to my favor dive bar. Now, I mean no disrespect. Dive bars are bars without themes, bars without pretension, and bars that remember you. They have games, darts, pool, and you leave smelling like smoke. (Yes, America, some bars still let you smoke.)
The greatest bar in the city for this is the Independent. There is no question. Other bars are great and really worth trying, but there are few that even compare.
Why do I love the Independent? They have great rotating taps (Duvel Green, St. Bernardus Abbey 12, Ace Pear Cider) and keep a few classics on constant rotation (420, Guinness, something Terrapin). They also always have beer deals; usually priced at $3 dollars, these are not cheap beers, I have had Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball.) There is a wall of old games, N64 in the corner, two touch-screen barcades, six pool tables, and two dartboards. They do trivia and deep fried bar food. They remember my name.
However, the best thing about any favorite place is that it is personal and familiar. I have always found the Independent welcoming and friendly. I have never been hustled or hassled. Occasionally, the beer drifts past bar beer, but the bartenders always serve it right. The bar actually sends around waiters and they know you well enough to not need to ask. There is a satire about the decor and a wonderful randomness about the music that requires few to pay for a song. All in all the cacophonous sounds of happiness drown out the jukebox anyway. The Independent is still my neighborhood dive, though now it takes me twenty minutes to get there.
P.S. As an aside, the bar directly below it, the Highlander is good too. Their food is incredible, as seen on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. However, I went there only once and was not terribly impressed. The games area was dingy and poorly lit and my buddy Scott got hustled by a pool shark. However, Playboy has named it one of the top bars in America, so I guess it is time for another go, but I would not be surprised if I ended up back up stairs.
931 Monroe Drive NE, Suite 205
Atlanta, GA 30308