Atlanta Pharyngufest?

Next week at this time I’ll be in lovely downtown Atlanta, staying at the Renaissance Atlanta Hotel. If we’re going to have a Pharyngufest, probably the best time would be Saturday, 12 July, and somewhere not too far away from the hotel. Anyone interested? Any locals want to make suggestions for good meeting places? We need something that isn’t too noisy, that serves good refreshments, and offers exemplary Southern hospitality, ’cause that’s what I expect when I go to Georgia. If nothing else, the hotel has two bars, and I suppose we could hit one of those.

If anyone wants to suggest better days, I could probably make it either Sunday the 13th or Tuesday the 15th.


  1. Josh West says

    Allright, an Atlanta visit.

    I can’t say I’m too much for the bar scene, but theres a place called The Vortex that has a good beer selection and great food.

  2. Antangil says

    12th or 13th is great; I’m not a local, so I don’t have any useful libation-type ideas, but the wife and I were planning on making the trek to the big city here soon anyhow.

  3. says

    Ooh, ooh – I wanna come :-). Any of those days would probably work for me. My talks are on Monday and Wednesday, so I suspect I should prefer the Saturday date, although I hope to be pretty prepared so the others should work fine as well.

  4. Suggestion says

    How about

    Swinging Richards
    1400 Northside Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA

    It would be a faaaaabbbulous time darlin

  5. Benjamin Franklin says

    Might I recommend Max Lagers Amercian Grill & Brewery – its only a few blocks north of your hotel on W Peachtree. I haven’t been there, but I’ve heard good things about it.

    A little further away for arguably the best burgers in Atlanta is The Vortex in Little Five Points (corner of Euclid Ave & Morland Ave)

    Gonna try my best to make it, whatever day you choose.


  6. Cooper says

    Im in!

    I’m game for either Vortex — I live near the P’Tree one myself, so that is my usual visit. I would also say that any yankees visiting the 404 should make a trip to Mary Macs. :)

    If you want to stay more downtown, Sidebar is a nice chill bar in the area.

  7. Tom says

    I’ll ditto Cooper’s suggestion of Mary Mac’s–nothing finer in the world.

    Either Vortex is good, but the L5P original location is cooler: what could suit a godless liberal better than walking in (or staggering out) through a gaping skull? Maybe we can induce PZ to visit the upstairs section at The Junkman’s Daughter next door–pick up a little something for the Mrs. as a souvenir of his Atlanta trip.

  8. Ramases says

    Do you ever visit Australia PZ?

    I think you would have no trouble getting a pharyngufest together over here.

  9. Benjamin Franklin says

    Little Five Points is the PZ ‘in place. Could stop in at Ardens Garden down the street for the best fruit smoothie ever, or even a shot of wheatgrass juice. Why should Phil Plait have all the fun and get all the good stuff?

  10. says

    OK, let’s commit to a time: 6ish on Saturday the 12th.

    You people are giving way too many choices for places — I can take a cab to somewhere not too distant, so we can be flexible. Just to add a criterion, though: at the Denver meetup, we had something over 50 people show up. Do any of these places have accommodations for that many? Room to move around is also good — I’ve been at these meetups where everyone gets cramped into their little space at a table, and you only get to meet the people right next to you.

  11. Benjamin Franklin says

    The Vortex-

    Doesn’t a place that promotes itself as an “Idiot Free Zone” sound intriguing to you? Lots of beers, lots of single malts, great food, wild characters…

  12. says


    If you want room to move around, the Vortex definitely is not your place. Both of them are rather small, especially the L5P location. Fifty people together would overwhelm those places.

    One better choice for that might be Front Page News, which is about one mile down Moreland from the Vortex in L5P. They have a really big patio. Your hotel bars might work too.

    Whatever you end up doing, I’d like to try to make it. I’ll keep an eye out to see where you’ll be.

  13. pradeep says

    I’ll be there on Saturday. Name the time and place! I’ll drive up from Augusta for this!

  14. Herr Professor Doktor Von Klench says

    Sounds like Mary Mac’s and The Vortex are the top recommendations. Mary Mac’s is a tea room and not really the place for a rowdy crowd. I would recommend visiting it another time for your dose of the South. It’s a good choice for lunch, as is Papi’s, the Cuban place next door.

    The Vortex in L5P (and Front Page News) are a bit of a journey, accessible only by cab or subway, though that Vortex does have the badass skull entrance. The Vortex on Peachtree is within walking distance of the hotel, and a slightly larger room. However, I stopped by that Vortex today around 6 and it was packed. There would be no room there for a large happening between 6 and 8, though it does die down after that. I don’t think you’re going to find any large room in the area that’s not crowded during those hours.

    I’ll throw in another recommendation: the Spotted Dog pub. If my sense of geography serves my right, it’s even closer to the hotel than the others, and a much larger room with more standing space. It’s English-themed with a beer list and menu to match (they have a few hard-to-find pub ales and bitters I’m fond of), and very spacious and tastefully decorated. It’s never seemed very crowded when I’ve gone on the weekend. Though not distinctly Southern, it may have the best combination of proximity, size and liveliness.

  15. qedpro says

    with all these festivals you’re having, I’m gettting a little concerned for your liver.
    well ok i’m not concerned, I’m jealous.

  16. Dan says

    There is always The Thinking Man’s Tavern on Dekalb Ave. in Decatur. Seems appropriate.

  17. Diego says

    Although I don’t live in Atlanta I do visit from time to time and I have to agree with Josh. The Vortex is definitely worth a visit and is not far from downtown.

  18. Mike Damato says

    A trip up to Atlanta for the weekend? Hell yeah, I’ll be there. Only problem is that I have to find a dog friendly hotel that is close by the Renaissance.

  19. says

    Figures. I pout about missing the fun in Denver (where I used to live), and now it’s happening in Atlanta (an hour away from where I live now) – on a weekend where I have a prior commitment I can’t break. That’s what I get for pouting. Instant karma.

  20. Damien says

    Off Topic:

    ARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! I went down to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA tonight, and there was a guy with a projector and a microphone talking about the Bible.

    I tried to bring some logic to the event, but he actually cut off the mic. Finally, in desperate annoyance, I literally BEGGED god to strike me down to prove to the assembled group that he was real.

    Needless to say, I was not.

    I think they’ll probably be back soon, so if there’s any other concerned Angeleno/atheists who might want to come down to 3rd Street and fight it out with some silly, silly people, do please let me know.

  21. Patrick says

    All I can say is that if you value your life do NOT take the Marta anywhere unless you have to.

  22. says

    Patrick writes:

    All I can say is that if you value your life do NOT take the Marta anywhere unless you have to.


    Huh? I ride Marta all the time and I never has any trouble. I guess God protects me.

  23. Ray M says

    This is utterly OT, but since PZ never seems to see my direct emails, this seems to be the only way to get his attention.

    Anyway, for grins, take a look at
    “Fake priest exposed at Vatican”
    (though I’m not sure why they felt the need to include the word ‘fake’ – isn’t that superfluous?).

  24. says

    Don’t listen to any of these other suggestions, PZ. There’s really only one suitable place. Manuel’s Tavern. It’s an awesome bar WITH PLENTY OF ROOM (unlike the Vortex and others mentioned). It’s 2 miles from your hotel on N. Highland. That’s where the local Skeptics In the Pub meetings are held by Skepchick’s own Masala Skeptic. It’s also an Atlanta institution. It would be the perfect place for your Pharyngufest.

  25. Cooper says

    What about MARTA? I took it every day for the last five year and never felt even slightly unsafe.

    Manuels is OK.
    Vortex P’Tree does have a lot of space (it isn’t like the old 12th street location), and it won’t be too busy on a Sat PM (happy hour through the week is a different story).
    Vortex L5P is cooler, but if we have 50 ppl it is right out.
    Thinking Man is OK, but I don’t want to drive someplace I am going to drink :P
    There is also the Gordon Beirch on P’Tree. It lacks local color, but they have a big upstairs and patio.
    Front Page at L5P is a good bet.
    The Brew House in L5P has a gi-normous patio too.
    Trader Vicks downtown could work too.
    Taco Mac in Midtown is big and, frankly, rarely that busy.

    I can’t think of any other places that could handle a big group without tripping to EAV or the Highlands.

  26. Josh West says

    Oh, I forgot about Mannys, definitely a good choice.

    MARTA is fine, I use it all the time.

  27. dusty59 says

    Marta fear mongering is BS.
    Cooper @29 is on the money. Manuels lends itself to larger groups, and is as teacherninja says, an institution- particularly Democratic.
    L5P is always a fun locale- Front Page has good indoor/outdoor setup, and Brew House would work outdoor only.
    Gordon Bierch is probably the easiest w/i a short walk of your hotel.
    But in any case, sounds like fun- I’ll show up!

  28. says

    Yes! Manuel’s. That’s the place to do this. Well done, teacherninja. Even the Vortex on Peachtree is too cramped for this group. Plus, there’s no parking. Manuel’s has two fairly large parking lots and one smaller one across the street. Great choice. They cater to large groups all the time. Pretty good food, good beer. I highly recommend and should have thought of it earlier.

  29. says

    I have to concur on Manuel’s. It is a fairly large location, not so loud that good discussions can’t be held. They also serve a great selection of beers and the food isn’t at all bad. I’m marking my calendar, totally be there.

  30. says

    Find the time to make it Fat Matt’s. They have live blues most nights. It’s small, so don’t plan a pharyngu-fest there. Some of the best BBQ in the city with good music though….

  31. Leukocyte says

    I’ll have to come in from Athens, so I vote for Saturday the 12th. I second the call of BS on MARTA fearmongering. My main goal in living in Atlanta next year is to be close enough to walk to MARTA, and in taking it at all times of the day to all parts of Atlanta, I’ve never even seen anything shady. Suburban Atlanta dwellers like to tell tall tales methinks, to justify their complete lack of support for public transportation.

  32. Len says

    Manuel’s is your best bet for a large group. I hosted a party there a few months ago and it was great service, great beer, decent food and really easy socializing. It’s not a “meat and three” but Manuel’s is Georgia institution

    I ride MARTA every day. It’s not convenient for Manuel’s though.

  33. Lambo says

    Even though we won’t be there (turns out we’re moving – hi, neighbor!), I will say that Manuel’s is the place to go – hang out in the back area, and a crowd can fit in well. For extra fun, find the oil painting of Zell Miller in a Members Only jacket.

  34. says

    No MARTA fear-mongering is needed beyond saying that, in its current state, it sucks. Admittedly, part of the problem is Atlanta itself, which does not have a pedestrian-friendly downtown like many other large U.S. cities. It’s not convenient for Manuel’s, nor just about anywhere else people living in Atlanta want to go. Maybe even worse is the fact that the people who run MARTA don’t seem to adjust very well to big events when they know there will be a significant increase in riders. Anybody who has tried taking MARTA home from a Braves game very often knows what I’m talking about. I’ve waited in the station for a train for 30+ minutes multiple times. I don’t bother with it anymore. I’m not afraid of riding it; I just think it’s a lousy system right now. To see an example of well-run public transportation, look at DC. They do it right.

  35. Jasper says

    It’s always so odd to read suburbanites’ impressions of Atlanta. There do seem to be a few Atlantans in this mix, however, and I’ll second their recommendations of Manual’s Tavern at the corner of North and Highland.

    While it’s a bit of a hike from the Renaissance Hotel, MARTA is good for the distance if you’d like to give your dogs a rest. The Citizens for Progressive Transit site has trip planners and bus schedules: .

  36. Josh Eckerle says

    Ill be in town and only live about 45 min outside ATL so count me in, have we decided on a place to meet yet? i have seen lots of suggestions but no one has made a decision. L5P vortex is probably going to be to small, so the hotel might work for accommodating that many people… PZ make a choice so we know where to meet…. ill be watching the thread.

  37. WRMartin says

    Amen on the MARTA fearmongering nonsense. Quite possibly the most G-rated public transport around outside of Disney.

  38. Josh Eckerle says

    Ill be in town and only live about 45 min outside ATL so count me in, have we decided on a place to meet yet? i have seen lots of suggestions but no one has made a decision. L5P vortex is probably going to be to small, so the hotel might work for accommodating that many people… PZ make a choice so we know where to meet…. ill be watching the thread. Also do we know what day? the 12th would be perfect, im leaving for the Galapagos on the 15th :)

  39. Stephen Touset says

    I second The Spotted Dog. Lots of room for people.

    I’d be willing to drive you to the ‘fest, wherever it ends up being, PZ. No sense in paying for a cab.