Highland Avenue Bars and Restaurants:
Highland Avenue, stretching from Old Fourth Ward all the way into Virginia-Highland, is a magnet for restaurants, bars, and shops. The three-block stretch in Old Fourth Ward is home to a number of great dining options.
Highland Bakery has long been praised as the best spot for brunch in the city, but be prepared for a long wait during prime, weekend hours. They offer both traditional breakfast dishes and a large sandwich selection, putting a healthy spin on many of their offerings.
P'cheen International Bistor and Pub has gained a strong following with their sophisticated bar classics, award-winning fish and chips and special offerings like Monday night BBQ and an All-You-Can-Eat Low Country Boil. They have a rotating selection of specialty beers along with custom cocktails (I love the Fourth Ward Lemonade) and late night the cozy restaurant transforms into a happening bar scene.
Next door, Zuma Sushi serves up all your sushi bar favorites in a contemporary atmosphere. Their lunch specials are a great value and they have a small patio for people watching.
Across the street is, well... Across the Street, a Mexican restaurant serving gussied up versions of favorites, like enchiladas with the addition of creamy goat cheese. Go on Wednesdays for $10 all-you-can-eat tacos and stay for the tequila shots (if you're brave, try the fiery stuff steeped in chili peppers). Across the Street has a killer patio overlooking the Freedom Trail.
A few doors down, Jacks's Pizza & Wings (formerly Johnny's) serves up slices in a neighborhood bar atmosphere with super cheap pitchers of beer. They also occasional play host to local bands and have poker night and bingo night.
Edgewood Avenue Bars and Restaurants:
The other area in Old Fourth Ward that's exploding with growth is Edgewood Avenue between Inman Park and downtown. Many new bars and restaurants have opened on this stretch and it continues to be an area of growth. These spots are fairly popular with the hipster crowd.
A couple of blocks removed from the action is Miso Izakaya, a Japanese bar and restaurant with smaller plates meant for snacking while you drink with friends.
Down on the main drag, you'll find The Sound Table, a newish spot from the guys behind TOP FLR in Midtown. Sound Table has an eclectic upscale bar menu, but really shines with their specialty cocktail selection. You'll find drinks with raw egg, homemade jams and all sorts of other interesting additions. Late night, they clear the tables downstairs to make room for a hoppin' dance party.
Just across the way, Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium (or Church for short) is a recently opened bar with colorful artwork and social commentary by Atlanta's own Sister Louisa. They sling a limited selection of low brow beers and an awesome, fruit-laden sangria. Snacks are fair food like hot dogs or chips and onion dip. As you'd suspect - there is a ping pong table!
Corner Tavern is a well-known local watering hole with a few Atlanta locations. The Edgewood spot is a two-story outpost with darts, pool tables, board games and the occasional bought of karaoke. A classic local bar, the food is pretty good and the beer selection spans a wide variety of American brews.
Next to Corner Tavern, you'll find Cafe Circa, a swank lounge with an urban vibe. They also recently added a rooftop lounge area, The Reserve at Cafe Circa, which boasts skyline views of Atlanta. At Cafe Circa you'll find trendy cocktails and tapas, along with a selection of larger plates. Also check out their cigar selection.
Scoot on down to Rolling Bones, a gas station turned BBQ joint that serves up simple fare in a casual setting. This place has a tiny dining room but serves up big flavors, so many people grab their food to-go. No alcohol here, so for a drink head down to Noni's.
Noni's, is a homey Italian restaurant and bar with a solid nightlife scene. Homemade pastas and killer paninis make the menu here. There's also a large patio for warm Atlanta evenings.
Rounding out the street (for now, at least) is Pizzeria Vesuvius. With wood-fired pizzas and a secret speakeasy in the back, it's a popular spot for a slice. Check out local bands in the Music Room.