Tucked away beneath Helmet hair salon on Piedmont Avenue, Kat's Café is a secret worth discovering. The low-ceilinged lounge has the aesthetic of an upscale juke joint with its cozy cafe tables, gently worn couches set into conversation nooks and a tiny stage where live music is played most nights.
Behind the bar, husband-and-wife owners Mike Freeman and Katarina Mia greet patrons like old friends as they mix up one of several specialty martinis, such as the popular "Lady Sings the Blues." A fitting name, since not only does Mia make a mean cocktail, she occasionally takes the stage to sing a few tunes. The menu offers an affordable array of wraps, pizzas and other bar food that's fair, but not inspiring.
By offering a variety of nightly entertainment options, the 6-month-old establishment is starting to build a steady following. Thursday night's jam session spotlights different local musicians; Fridays feature $5 martinis and a $3 appetizer from 5-9 p.m.; and on the second Saturday of every month, there's live salsa and dancing. Kat's Café is what a neighborhood bar should be. Even if it's not in your neighborhood.
Kat's Cafe, 970 Piedmont Ave. 404-347-2263. Mon.-Sat., 5 p.m.-until.