Food & Drink » Bar Review

Crescent City on Crescent Avenue

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Genre: Yuppie bar

Where to?: With Midtown's skyscrapers providing a contrasting backdrop, cross through the wrought-iron fence and row of trees on Crescent Avenue into FRONT PAGE NEWS, where New Orleans and Atlanta meet.

The Scene: Out front, a "New Orleans Courtyard" has replaced a small parking lot, and is paved in slate and reclaimed brick. Its centerpiece is a 12-foot tiered iron fountain/Koi pond. An exterior gas fireplace and a half-dozen gas-lamp heaters provide warmth. The adjacent outside "Patio Bar" is as large as the "Tavern Bar" inside, however it was a bit busier outside on this Wednesday night, as more people enjoyed the fall air rather than watching the Cubs-Marlins game on several TVs inside.

Drinks: The booze options are ample, but not hugely extensive. Among the bottled beers, four New Orleans brews are highlighted, and 10 other brands are labeled "everything else." There's also an 18.5-ounce Newcastle Brown Ale.

Specialty drinks fit the New Orleans theme, including the "Cajun Bloody Mary," which uses Absolut Peppar and Tabasco hot sauce, or the "Blue Bayou," which combines the fruity flavors of Absolut Melon, Pineapple and Blue Curacao. All 15 whites and 16 reds on the wine list are offered by the glass or by the bottle. There's also a "Live Jazz Brunch" on weekends, which features a large build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar.

Munchies: Front Page definitely offers more than standard bar fare. When asked whether the owners considered this a bar with food or a restaurant with a strong bar business, a bartender wavered, finally deciding on the latter. But I'm not so sure. As a bar, the food is great. As a restaurant, it's less so. That night, I had a decent, but uninspiring, grilled veggie plate, and my friend ordered an "OK" blackened chicken wrap.

Wallet Impact: Beer will run anywhere from $3.50-$5 per bottle. Wine by the glass ranges from $5.50-$8, $18-$30 by the bottle. Specialty drinks cost from $6-$9. As for food: starters and appetizers are $7-10; sandwiches, $6.50-$9; salads, $6-$10; most entrees, $10-$13, with a steak option at $17; desserts around $5.

The Clientele: Inside, there were a few younger folks at the bar watching the game, a few couples and a table or two of ladies on a "girls' night out." Outside, several tables were all-male -- clearly businessmen out for an after-work beer and a casual meal. Most patrons were casually dressed, professional types in their 30s or 40s.

Big Easy style: The founders of Front Page News didn't want to run a New Orleans theme bar, though they do love the easygoing environments that are the norm in that Louisiana city. So, instead, they created a newspaper-themed establishment that feels teleported in from the French Quarter. The newspaper motif is fairly understated -- it's most obvious in the interior dining room ("The News Room"), with its numerous framed front pages of various newspapers during the past 150 years or so.

Front Page News. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-midnight, Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-midnight. 1104 Crescent Ave. 404-897-3500. www.newsyoucanswallow.com.

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