As big-city as meeting for cocktails at a swank hotel bar may be, the trend has somehow escaped Atlanta's metropolitan mimickers. Maybe that's because Paul (brother of Chloe) Sevigny and Naomi Campbell aren't among the A-listers tickling turntables in local lobbies, or maybe it's because few intown Atlanta hotels offer lounges with the panache of NYC's Tribeca Grand or L.A.'s The Standard.
It's OTP, almost Dunwoody to be exact, where the boutique hotel W lies. With a mod lobby, pale hardwood floors, patio sheltered by gauzy linen and the requisite taupe/tan scheme that oozes luxe simplicity, it provides the urbane surroundings missing from many urban Atlanta hotels. It's a gamble, but, in many ways, worth the risk.
The Come Line:
Sexy surroundings call for dirty drinks, plentiful in the bar's 22 martinis that include five W Atlanta originals. Though it felt strange ordering "Come" from a girl, the white chocolate martini with an evocative, dripping marshmallow fluff rim was impossible to resist. For subtler options delivered with a coy smile, try the thin mint-inspired Dirty Girl Scout or blueberry Blue Ball.
Cleaning You Out:
More innocent drinks do exist, including the fruity Caramel Apple Sour. This cinnamon-infused martini, which is the bar's most popular drink, will rekindle fond memories of dipped apples rather than dirty bedroom deeds, thanks to its buttery caramel rim. Gobble it down if you don't want to end up with a stem, base and hand covered in goo.
Martini purists will not find their drinks under fancy pseudonyms and must order their preferred versions of dirty vodkas and gins off menu. It's advisable to check prices before requesting favorite liquors, however, as the house choice for W's $11 martinis is Fris. Made with Grey Goose, one drink alone could break the bank.Poker face:
Despite sex appeal, the bar lacks a regular crowd that would make it a see-and-be-seen-style pickup joint. Seating abounds in enclave-like settings perfect for chatting with the friends you brought, as it's somewhat doubtful you'll make new ones. When there isn't a party being hosted there, the W's bar is frequented mainly by guests who tend to be upscale businesspeople or families rather than young, sexy hipsters.
When electronic music isn't thumping through speakers, there's a surprising selection of adult contemporary jazz that will have you working to drown its blandness with sparkling conversation. Though a DJ playing in the lobby would make for a more interesting setting, the current wait staff of what look to be former models -- accompanied by the bar's addictive concoctions -- is a definite step in the right direction.
W Hotel Atlanta. 111 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta. 770-396-6800.