When I first encountered Atlanta's new slogan -- "Every Day Is an Opening Day" -- I hoped against hope that it meant a return to the grimy, lascivious (and convention-friendly) Atlanta of noir/yore; because the city and its Council sure could use a moist, warm opening to relieve its uptight agenda. I soon learned, however, the Brand Atlanta motto actually meant welcoming a much more corporate, less kinky type of "big business" to thrust its way into the city center. Ah, for the days when Peachtree was, um, packed tight with seediness.
But seeing as I'm a man of simple pleasures, I'll concede and celebrate some of Atlanta's recent streetwise openings. I can always use a slick new slice of real estate in which to wrangle the dangle.
First in the week's explorations was a visit to Midtown's Enoteca Carbonari, the new venture annexed by and to Baraonda. A cozy, convivial hearth of a space, Enoteca Carbonari affords the same enthusiasm to wine selection as Baraonda does wood-fired pizza. In two hours I toured Italy -- north to south, flinty whites to chewy reds -- while my companion supped on cheeses and prosciutto. I barely had time to look at the menu, however, as I was having too much fun amid the dense, lustrous selections going through the wine manual's micro-varietals and their point of origins' descriptions ("enoteca" means "wine library," after all). The wine was delicious, but almost overshadowed by roast suckling pig, succulent and served with a crackling skin. By the end of the meal, juices -- from the wine to mine -- were indeed flowing. Enoteca Carbonari makes a nice new addition to the grab-a-seat-and-a-glass-of-wine culture of Krog Bar, the Grape, etc.
While Enoteca Carbonari feels like a splendid place to spark an evening, the week's other opening aims to cap one. BED, open in downtown's Glenn Hotel, is the third branch of a chain with locations in New York and Miami. The first time I encountered the dine-in-a-daybed concept was in Amsterdam at Supper Club, where one bleary morning at 8, after a night of numerous inequities, I had the pleasure of being served trays of chocolate-covered strawberries and popsicles by topless women. It's a fond memory.
Well, nothing quite so decadent happened during my serene Super Bowl Sunday visit to BED, though the standout cocktail did feature freshly muddled strawberry (a menu of revolving, seasonal fruit-infused cocktails is BED's hallmark). It was a thoroughly pleasant experience, nonetheless, primarily thanks to the sociable, striking, multicultural staff (that's an unnecessarily PC way of saying gorgeous black women, y'all). The earthy palate of dining in BED is like if you were mingling inside a topaz geode, or perhaps a Serengeti cross-section. Basked in beige and dappled in burnt sienna, jazzy hip-hop/hip-hop jazz playing, BED is muted Mata-Hari-meets-safari-chic. While I don't know how a jam-packed Friday or Saturday might fare, I do know that playing in bed -- whether in a twosome, foursome or moresome -- can lead to some exciting openings.
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