1. The Midway Pub
Where: 552 Flat Shoals Ave SE
What: Tucked back from the drag of Glenwood Avenue is this unassuming joint with a giant patio. Midway housed what seemed like half the city during the dog days of last summer's World Cup, and did bang-up business thanks to its early operating hours, intelligent beer selections, free (and fast) Wi-Fi, and a menu that strives to rise above the lowly potato-skins-and-mozzarella-sticks fare.
We Recommend: The breakfast burrito, which showed up as thick as our forearm and which they will fill entirely with tater tots if you ask.
2. Brewhouse Cafe
Where: 401 Moreland Ave
What: Why this is called a cafe, we're still not sure, although they do serve food and it is tasty. The bartenders at the Brewhouse can and will find any obscure sporting event you can imagine, and will show it on one of their many televisions with all speed. Patronize them for everything from the Division III college football championships to rugby to cricket. There's another voluminous outdoor patio here that's thankfully covered for most of this sleety, nasty winter we've been having.
We Recommend: The pizzas, big enough to share and clearly not sealed in plastic or microwaved prior to arriving at your table.
3. Taco Mac
Where: All over the ATL metro area and lately expanding into Tennessee and North Carolina, but the original is at the corner of Virginia and Highland Avenues. Two crucial locations for sports fans sit conveniently close to the Georgia Dome and Phillips Arena.
What: Remember our knock on potato skins and mozzarella sticks? If you want bar food done right and deliciously, Taco Mac is our very own chain. They make a fine wing, have a staggeringly expansive selection of beer from across the country and around the globe, and stuff their cavernous locations with as many televisions as the fire marshal will allow. Also: Wi-Fi!
We Recommend: The Buffalo ranch salad. Remember that old radio commercial? "Is it healthy? Of course it is. IT'S A SALAD."
Where: 300 Marietta St.
What: Stats has five locations, but the first U.S. outpost is right here in town. The draw is a novel one: The beer taps are at your table, and you pay by volume dispensed. This is just another step on the downward spiral en route to total world domination by robots, but judging by the crowds, people seem to like it.
We Recommend: Prop bets with your buddies to see who can down the most disgusting concoction of mixed-together brews. Bottoms up!
5. Sweetwater 420 Fest
Where: Candler Park, April 15-17.
What: Not actually an Atlanta sports bar, for starters, but Atlanta's own Sweetwater Brewing Co. is throwing another park party this spring to celebrate Earth Day. There's live music, and lots of dancing, which counts as a sport when there's been five months of sleet outside and all you want to do is see the sunshine. (You can run around, bike or play tennis at the park, which are actual sports, if that helps.)
We Recommend: Local brewers will pour into this place, but if we're drinking Sweetwater stock, we're probably drinking Sweetwater Blue, which has enough berry flavor to please the delicate palate of a lady without cloying the sensibilities of a gentleman.