The Secrets of Atlanta, Georgia
From secret yoga classes to off-the-menu delicacies, we present the Atlanta you never knew existed.
GEE... THEY'RE BYOB?
Popping wine-store-bought bottles isn't just for liquor license-less holes-in-the-wall anymore. Increasingly, Atlanta's top eateries double as secret BYOB spots.
BY ALLISON WEISS ENTREKIN
RATHBUN'S The flagship restaurant of celebrated chef Kevin Rathbun (who beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America), this fine dining legend has a 12-page wine list with $300 bottles. But shh, you can bring your own without a corkage fee. There's just one catch: Rathbun gets the first glass. "That's so he can taste new and interesting wines that are taken into the restaurant," explains co-owner Cliff Bramble. In other words — you might not want to bring cheapo vino. www.rathbunsrestaurant.com
SPICE MARKET Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ultra-hip Asian fusion food temple in the W Midtown is best known for its massive , hangover-inducing cocktail list. And if you want to skip the house wine list to sip a selection from your own collection of vino with your pork vindaloo, it would normally cost $15. But this summer, the restaurant is quietly knocking off the second digit, lowering the corkage fee to $1. (We dare you to pay in dimes.) www.spicemarketatlanta.com
DOUBLE ZERO NAPOLETANA You may consider yourself a wine connoisseur, but will the folks here agree? At this Southern Italian restaurant — where the many wines are organized by grape, origin, year and taste — the management rewards regular customers with a secret "exclusive diner" card, which forever waives the $15 corking fee. How can locals prove their passion for wine to earn this accolade? We suggest breaking into song as you discuss the merits of your Malbec. www.doublezeroatl.com
Nine places people simply pass by every day — but shouldn't. Atlanta has more secret landmarks than you'd think...
BY ALLISON WEISS ENTREKIN
HARMONY GROVE CEMETERY
Until recently, this 142-year-old cemetery was so overgrown it looked like little more than a weedy field of green. Most passersby hardly gave the lot a second look. The Buckhead Heritage Society has done some serious weed whacking, but the site's still easy to miss when you're zipping down West Paces Ferry Road. Slow down and view this segregated graveyard (Julia Roberts' great grandparents are buried here), where archeologists have found historic "grave offerings" like pottery located near the headstones for African Americans. Seven of the headstones have been painstakingly restored, including a mysterious infant crypt. 214 West Paces Ferry Rd, NW
THE SURRENDER OF ATLANTA SITE
In 1864, Confederate leaders surrendered the city to Union forces at this spot on the western side of the Georgia Tech campus. Today, students surrender their dissertations to picky professors at almost the same location, hardly noticing the faded historical marker posted nearby. Corner of Northside Dr and Marietta St.
FIRST TREE PLANTED DOWNTOWN
The city is known for its leafy canopy of trees, but it wasn't always this way. In fact, it was 1964 when the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta planted the very first tree downtown right here. It's just an average-looking tree shading a small strip of sidewalk, but it sure started a trend — according to the USDA Forest Service, nearly 37 percent of the city is now covered by trees, making it one of the lushest metropolitan areas in the country. 15 Edgewood Ave NE
FORMER WINECOFF HOTEL
In 1946, the WinecoffHotel in downtown Atlanta caught on fire, killing 119 people — the deadliest hotel fire in American history to date. It took six years for the property to reopen, and it has changed hands and names three times since. It is now the swanky Ellis Hotel, and those enjoying sustainable snacks and stunning skyline views on its terrace rarely realize it was once the hottest hotel in the country. 176 Peachtree St NW
LITTLE WHITE HOUSE REPLICA
Many know that FDR had a "Little White House" in Warm Springs, GA. But few realize that he built a replica of this house in downtown Atlanta for musician Graham Jackson, one of his favorite entertainers. No markers commemorate the house, but you can tell which one it is by the distinctive white columns. White House Dr SW
FORMER HERNDON BARBERSHOP
Owned by one of the wealthiest African Americans in Atlanta in the early 20th century, this barbershop (now an empty retail space downtown) was known as the glitziest in the entire South (massive mahogany doors, crystal chandeliers, gilt-framed mirrors) at the turn of the century. During the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, it was mobbed by racists who viewed it as a symbol of upward mobility. Its owner, Alonzo Herndon, was undeterred — he went on to found the Atlanta Life Insurance Company and became the city's first black millionaire. 66 Peachtree St NW
FORMER THOMAS KILE'S STORE
At first glance, you might think the history behind the William Oliver Building in Five Points traces back only as far as its 1930s art deco architecture. But more than 80 years before the building was erected, the property was home to Thomas Kile's Store, a grocery store and "drinking shop," and the site of the very first city election on January 29, 1848. Perhaps it was because of the shop's booze that the Free and Rowdy mayoral candidate, Moses Formwalt, defeated the Moral candidate, Jonathan Norcross that day. 32 Peachtree St NW
ZERO MILE POST
It's now the police headquarters of the Georgia Building Authority, but in 1842 this site was the southeastern terminus of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. A settlement, appropriately named Terminus, mushroomed around it. By 1847, the settlement's name had changed to Atlanta, and it was incorporated into a city, with boundaries extending about a mile in every direction. You can still see the stone marker for the Zero Mile Post if you enter the GBA from the Central Avenue parking garage and ride the elevator down to the first floor. 1 Martin Luther King Junior Dr SW
FULTON COUNTY ALMSHOUSES
It's hard to imagine bustling Chastain Park as a rural, unincorporated section of Fulton County. But that's just what it was in the early 20th century when the county hired architect Thomas Henry Morgan to build two segregated almshouses (or poorhouses) for area residents. The Neo-Classical buildings are now the homes of Chastain Arts Center and the Gresham Building at the Galloway School. Chastain: 135 W Wieuca Rd NW; Galloway: 215 W Wieuca Rd NW