Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Elder Tree Public House: An Irish Pub Grows in East Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Elder Tree Public House
Springing forth this past February in the former home of Blue Frog Cantina, The Elder Tree Public House aims to bring a wee bit o' Irish to Atlanta's Hipster Disneyland, East Atlanta.  Elder Tree boasts 35 whiskeys, a full complement of Irish beer, and a menu full of hearty fare served in portions sure to stuff those whose Irish eyes are bigger than their stomachs.

Chef Sean Culpepper, formerly of Buckhead's Fado, has put together an impressive menu featuring Irish pub staples--including fish and chips that are already gaining a rep as some of the best in Atlanta--and modern dishes like lamb sliders and a full roster of sandwiches.  No Irish bar would be complete without a hangover-busting, heavy-duty breakfast, and the Public House Breakfast does not disappoint, featuring bangers, white and black pudding, fried eggs and cured pork loin. 

Regardless of whether the dish is traditional or not, the menu makes clear that there's a chef in the kitchen, with plenty of gourmet touches adorning every dish.  The duck-fat fries we started with were definitely a cut above normal fries.  Perfectly crisp and served with a fantastic curry dip, they were the kind of irresistible fries you simply cannot stop eating.

Duck fat fries w/ curry

Bangers and mash
We tried to make room for both the bangers and mash, pictured above, and the Cumberland Pie, a close cousin to the more familiar Shepherd's Pie. Four huge sausages on top of a dollop of potatoes and delicious mashed peas are a steal for $13 - a lot of banger for your buck (ugh!).  The Cumberland Pie was perfectly seasoned, with a crispy top above layers of potatoes and savory meat.  It was textbook comfort food that will taste even better when the heat of summer passes.

Cumberland Pie
The good folks at Elder Tree were kind of enough to treat us to a sampling of their menu, including some great cocktails (who said you can only drink beer and whiskey at an Irish pub?) but we didn't quite save room for dessert, which is a shame since I hear the bread pudding is something special.

As for the surroundings, Elder Tree doesn't lack for true Irish pub atmosphere. While it doesn't have the patina of a bar centuries--or even decades--old, the pressed-tin ceiling, ample dark wood and dart boards in the back give Elder Tree character.  Cozy, high-backed booths ring a huge L-shaped bar blessedly lacking in neon Bud Light signs.  The smattering of TVs is just enough for patrons to catch a football match without giving Elder Tree a sports bar feel.  

All told, Elder Tree is a great destination for a drink, a meal, or both. Hearty portions, daily specials, live music on weekends, and half-priced apps from 10p-12a on Friday and Saturday make it a great value, too.  Especially compared to airfare to Dublin.

The Elder Tree Public House
469 Flat Shoals Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30316



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