Food & Drink » Bar Review

Warm and Fuzzy's

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Where can you find fashion faux pas, old ladies dancing to Steely Dan and dead-to-rights Cajun cooking all in one spot? At Fuzzy's Place on North Druid Hills Road. This bastion for old timers and youngsters who can keep up with their partying elders has been sliding longneck Buds across its well-worn bar since the disco era. Originally opened in the '70s as the Bearded Clam by Fuzzy Cawthon and several partners, it closed after a falling out between owners. The new owner opened a disco that failed miserably, and Fuzzy came back to reopen it as a cozy pub in 1983.

Fuzzy's tavern food with a twist is one of the best-kept secrets in Atlanta. Master of the kitchen Joe Dale serves up Cajun specialties like crawfish etoufee ($10.50) and andouille sausage with red beans and rice ($9.95), along with sandwiches like a grouper po'boy ($9.95) and a grilled or Cajun chicken sandwich ($7.25). This is bayou comfort food pure and simple, served in a casual atmosphere that brings to mind a Louisiana roadhouse. You can wash it down with the aforementioned Bud longnecks, or have a draft of Sweetwater 420 or Sierra Nevada ($4.75). Mixed drinks come in a tall glass for about the same price.

A friendly vibe emanates from a crowd that is clearly comfortable in its usual haunt. Manager Dan Burns, a fixture in his trademark Hawaiian shirt and Panama hat, greets everyone in sight. TVs carry Braves games and CNN. Old-fashioned touches seem so quaint it's like being in a time warp. Free popcorn? A phone on the bar to call a cab or tell your friends where you are? Penny loafers and blue jeans? Live music with no cover during the week? Welcome to Atlanta when it was still hometown.

Fuzzy's has nurtured many of Atlanta's great blues artists, including Tinsley Ellis and Francine Reed, who return the favor by dropping in to play the tiny room. During July, you can catch the mellow rock groove of Java Monkey every Monday night, the scorchin' blues of Donna Hopkins Tuesdays, and Mike Veal Wednesdays. The Electromatics, Barry Richman and the Filthy Rich Band have weekend stints this month. There's a $5 cover Friday and Saturday nights. The crowd appreciates good tunes and happily dances without care or pretense, a rare sight in frequently uptight Atlanta. Remember that old expression, "If it feels good, do it?" They haven't forgotten it at Fuzzy's.

Fuzzy's Place, 2015 North Druid Hills Road. Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-4 a.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.- 3 a.m.; Sun. 12:30 p.m.-4 a.m. 404-321-6166. www.fuzzysplace.com

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