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Thinking Man Tavern for the thinker drinker

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The first thing that struck me about the Thinking Man Tavern is how big it feels. With its high ceiling, exposed piping and painted concrete floor, the pub appears to be a converted automobile garage/shop. Although the main floor is rather large, there are only 15 to 20 tables on it, which affords more privacy.

An abundance of bookshelves scattered about the room lends a distinct library feel. The majority of the wall-hangings are science-oriented: classroom-style posters of the periodic table, the skeletal system and the solar system, etc. There is even a Monopoly pinball machine for the business/marketing students. Strategically placed flags, globes, telescopes and music stands demonstrate the establishment's commitment to theme and detail. And finally, what would a tavern called Thinking Man be without a copy of Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" statue? The scaled-down reproduction of this masterpiece sits behind the bar on a shelf, perhaps contemplating what drink to order next.

Speaking of drinks, I was pleasantly surprised at the large selection of beers. They carry all the standard domestics and imports. For you speedy drinkers, they even have a big beer list (18- to 24-ouncers) which includes Grolsch, Fuller's ESB and of course, the Foster's oil can. The draft selection is eclectic, featuring obscure microbrews such as Dinkel Acker Pilsner, as well as the trusty standbys (Guinness, Bass, etc.). Additionally, Thinking Man is one of the few bars in metro Atlanta that offers all of its drafts in half-pints.

If you're on the wagon but still want to go out with your friends, fear not. The non-alcoholic beverage list is bigger than many pubs' beer lists. Red Bull, Orangina, IBC cream soda, Dr. Brown's black cherry soda, and regular sodas shouldn't interfere with your 12-step program.

The food menu is as diverse as the beer selection. Some of the more interesting appetizers include veggie samosas, Santiago egg rolls and the Thinking Man Fondue. Soup selections, which are available from early autumn to late spring, change daily. The salad, sandwich and burger selections are pretty standard. The most impressive thing about the menu is the vegetarian selection: the C.L.T. (a cucumber-based variation on the B.L.T.), spinach manicotti, fusili pasta, vegetarian burritos and eggplant parmesan.

Thinking Man Tavern offers all the amenities of city bars, however, it also adds its own flavor with its tastefully executed thinking man theme and its comfortable aura. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by.

Thinking Man Tavern. Mon. 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Tues.- Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun., noon-12 a.m. 537 W. Howard Ave., Decatur. 404-370-1717.

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