Thursday, May 17, 2012

Places I Love to Get Smashed: Bookhouse Pub

You know the place: the neighborhood restaurant/bar/shop that is so good and so welcoming that whenever you walk in you feel a bit guilty that you aren't a more frequent visitor.  I was overcome with that pang of guilt on a recent visit to Bookhouse Pub, tucked away on Ponce across from Murder Kroger and Greens, a/k/a the drive-through liquor store.

There's a lot to love about Bookhouse.  It has patios in front and back and a dark, cozy bar/dining room that looks like the library of a small monastery.  It's filled with some of Atlanta's most genuine hipsters.  Not the poseur, look-at-me I'm more hipster than thou hipsters that infest L5P, but real-deal hipsters who just want to relax at their local watering hole.  The waitstaff is friendly but not-too-friendly.  Pleasant but detached is more like it.  Then there's the main event, the food and drinks.

The beer list is solid, with eighteen craft brews on draft and a solid bottle selection to back it up.   There's no pretense.  When Hopslam-mania overtook one of my other favorite spots, Little 5's The Porter, the hordes packed in hoping to get a taste of the godly nectar before it was tapped out.  At the same time, it was on tap at Bookhouse with little-to-no fanfare.  Not looking for suds?  Plenty of cocktails to choose from as well, like the seriously spicy Wow Bob Wow margarita or the yerba maté tea-infused Audrey Horne.

When it comes to food, Bookhouse has some serious street cred.  Former up-and-coming and now established Atlanta chef Julia LeRoy was the first to wear the apron at Bookhouse.  Though LeRoy's since moved on and is currently at the about-to-be-reopened Watershed, she set the bar high.  Fortunately, current chef William Silbernagel continues to crank out surprisingly sophisticated, high-quality food.  A trout dish (yeah, I ordered trout at a bar) I sampled recently was excellent, perfectly cooked, topped with a delicious mustard sauce and served on a bed of English peas and carrots.  It blew away my last seafood dinner, at VaHi's Goin' Coastal, yet was less than half the price.

It's easy to miss Bookhouse, sandwiched between a tattoo parlor and a big earthen retaining wall on Ponce, and even easier to underestimate it, but those who make a point of stopping in will leave happy.

Bookhouse Pub
736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
 The Bookhouse Pub on Urbanspoon
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