It doesn’t get much better for a Bourbon aficionado to see a wall of Bourbon that reaches the high ceiling inside the lobby of the hotel they’re staying at. The Bourbon Bar offers that sight, along with personal select barrels of Four Roses Bourbon. ~ J.T. The Bourbon Review
I was born in the wrong decade. I would have been a perfect fit back in the days of the Speakeasy. Ladies were always fashionable and glamorous, Lucite purses and shades of cherry red lipstick were all the rage and bourbon…well, good bourbon was king. Give me a Rob Roy, Manhattan or a well crafted Old Fashioned and I’d be your girl forever.
What do you think? The lipstick is a perfect cherry red. 😉 I am so misplaced in time.
Following the years of prohibition, and after somewhat of a rocky period in the 1950s with bland and mass produced spirits, craft cocktails have made a roaring comeback. A craft cocktail renaissance is occurring through the dedication of talented, passionate bartenders devoted to their craft, the remake and innovation of the modern bourbon bar and really good, unadulterated Bourbon.
Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, located at the Intercontinental Hotel in Atlanta, was recently named one of the Top 75 Bourbon Bars in the nation. The Bourbon Review states, “It doesn’t get much better for a Bourbon aficionado to see a wall of Bourbon that reaches the high ceiling inside the lobby of the hotel they’re staying at. The Bourbon Bar offers that sight, along with personal select barrels of Four Roses Bourbon.” ~ J.T. The Bourbon Review
What a beauty.
The criteria for the Top 75 Bourbon Bars is stringent:
- Variation: Having a broad and wide selection of Bourbon is certainly the leading variable to operating one of the top Bourbon bars in America. You need to offer your patrons all the brands they’ve heard of and are comfortable with, but also introduce them to many more they might not have tried or are able to buy at a retail store.
- Staff: Knowing the history of Bourbon and the staple brands is a must if you want to be one of the 75 bars on this list. Bartenders and managers should be able to walk their customers through the different nuances of each Bourbon, such as the mashbill, distillery origin, proof and basic tasting procedures like examining the hue and aroma.
- Events: A bar that promotes and offers their customers special Bourbon gatherings is always a good way to stand out. Courting special Bourbon distillers as speaking guests or offering Bourbon pairings with interesting food or other drink pairings is something that should get you extra attention as a Bourbon haven.
- Menu: Bourbon should be the dominate category of your menu and should also have a strong presence if craft cocktails are served.
- Location: Know your surrounding competition. Having 80 Bourbons on the shelf probably won’t get you too much attention in Bourbon Country or other strongholds like Chicago or New York. But if you offer a decent variety in a remote location or city that is not considered a Bourbon hotspot and follow the other criteria, your chances of being considered a Bourbon Oasis are very high.
Southern Art and Bourbon Bar rose to the occasion and has created a new echelon of Bourbon Bars in Atlanta.
During the award celebration, guests were graciously offered enticing appetizers and exquisite samples of Four Roses Bourbon.
The menu at Southern Art is a blend of chef Art Smith’s Southern cooking heritage and a strong commitment to serving traditional classics prepared with his light, modern approach. Embracing farm-to-table and regional cooking, Smith encourages diners to celebrate comfort and health. The menu also is reflective of Smith’s own family traditions with roots deep in the South.
Southern Art makes fabulous pimento cheese, served with homemade saltines that pair beautifully with the charcuterie on the Butcher’s Board. Their hams are bar none with more than a generous amount of in-house cured offerings.
On any given day, you can find an impeccable selection of hams including domestic Prosciutto, salt cured and aged 12 months; Surryano, vegetarian-fed, free range hogs aged for 400 days, rich buttery flavor with hickory smoked finish; and Father’s, 100 year-old family recipe, sugar cured, hickory smoked, aged 8-12 months with a slightly sweet, smoky finish, and that’s only the beginning.
The pate’ is a sheer work of art.
A staple on the Southern Art menu are the crab cakes made with Granny Smith apple salad, cider and a rich mayo.
Also offered is Southern Art’s rendition of a “Southern Teriyaki” chicken wing using sesame seeds and grilled lime. These were most excellent in creativity and flavor.
A delicious addition to the menu was Chef Art’s Church Lady deviled eggs with smoked bacon.
During the course of the evening we were treated to a spectacular tasting of Four Roses Bourbons. Tastings of the single barrel, small batch and yellow were immensely enjoyed.
Four Roses began when Paul Jones, Jr., the founder of Four Roses Bourbon, became smitten by the beauty of a Southern belle. It is said that he sent a proposal to her, and she replied that if her answer were “Yes,” she would wear a corsage of roses on her gown to the upcoming grand ball. Paul Jones waited for her answer excitedly on that night of the grand ball…when she arrived in her beautiful gown, she wore a corsage of four red roses. He later named his Bourbon “Four Roses” as a symbol of his devout passion for the lovely belle, a passion he thereafter transferred to making his beloved Four Roses Bourbon.
Only Four Roses handcrafts 10 distinct and extraordinary Bourbon recipes, then mingles them by hand to create their family of award-winning brands. Artistry such as this is how they survived Prohibition, The Great Depression, two World Wars, and 40 years of exile from the US, only to be named American Whisky Distiller of the Year for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 – four times in the last five years – by Whisky Magazine. Handcrafting this way may be a bit more time consuming, but one sip, and you’ll no doubt agree, it’s worth the extra effort.
Superb bourbon and smiling faces made for an incredibly enjoyable and entertaining evening.
Then came dessert; a sinfully decadent Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie with thin flaky crust filled with pecans, white chocolate and whipped cream. Of course. What a heavenly pairing. What could have possibly been more appropriate?
…except maybe these whimsical Bourbon Cake Pops. Yes Virginia, they really do exist.
…and they made the best doggie bag EVER.
A huge thank you to Southern Art & Bourbon Bar, and Four Roses Bourbon for a breathtaking evening filled with extravagant delicacies and a first-class bourbon. Southern Art, you earned your place as the best Bourbon Bar in Atlanta and one of the best in the nation.
Life is too short to eat ugly food or drink bland bourbon y’all.
*Thank you to Southern Art & Bourbon Bar, and Four Roses Bourbon for providing all food & beverages for the evening. Although these offerings were complimentary, all thoughts, opinions, words, over indulging and drooling are strictly my own. For more information on Southern Art & Bourbon Bar, visit http://southernart.com/. For more information on Four Roses Bourbon, please visit http://fourrosesbourbon.com/, and remember to drink responsibly.
Southern Art & Bourbon Bar Location:
3315 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30326
Located on the lobby level of InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta
Complimentary 3-hour valet parking
6:30 – 10:30am (Mon – Fri)
6:30 – 10:30am (Sat – Sun)
11:30am – 2:30pm (Mon – Sat)
11:00am – 3:00pm (Sun)
5:30 – 10:00pm (Sun – Thu)
5:30 – 11:00pm (Fri – Sat)
11:30 – 2:00am (Mon – Sat)
12:30pm – 12:00am (Sun)