Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Firkin & Lindberg

541 Main St., Atlanta, GA

On Tuesday my friend Brad and I had dinner and a few beers at The Firkin & Lindberg, a pub that recently opened at the corner of Lindberg and Piedmont in Atlanta. It has a nice, traditional exterior and an English themed menu with bangers and mash, chicken curry and the like. What doesn't it have but really, really needs?

A little dirt.

That's right, I said dirt. A true English or Irish style put is dark, worn and weathered. My favorite local example of this is McCracken's Irish Pub in the Marietta Square, although I admit that the deeply ingrained cigarette smoke will practically knock a normal person to the ground upon initial entry. Brick Store Pub in Decatur is another good example.

The Firkin & Lindberg is just too new for me. It's too pristine, too quiet, and a little overly decorated. Yes, of course it IS new, and that can't be helped. I have to assume that some dirt will inevitably set in over time, I just hope that the management will allow it to accumulate and give the place a little bit of real, true character. As it is now, the place just seems to be trying too hard.

Now that you've heard my take on the ambiance, I'll move on to the food. Brad and I began the meal with an order of Irish nachos, an item I've never seen on any menu. This is composed of waffle fries with melted cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream. They were attractively presented, and Brad commented that he was relieved the fries weren't completely saturated with the sour cream and cheese. Instead we were allowed to enjoy the crisp quality of the fries, which were not greasy, as well as the toppings, which were evenly distributed.

I wasn't feeling quite as ravenous as usual, so I selected the angus sliders appetizer as my entree. Somehow I've managed to never try sliders up until this point, a minor miracle given the current sliders craze in Atlanta. These sliders had nicely melted slices of monterey jack cheese (tasted like American to me) and short strips of fairly crisp bacon. The buns looked toasted and a little shiny, just as I like them. The dish wasn't stellar, but it was pretty good - I give it a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Brad ordered the fish and chips, which I was thoroughly prepared to dislike after observing the nearly sterile newness of the bar area. However, I have to admit that I enjoyed the fish, which was generously portioned and coated in nicely browned, crispy batter. I did wince when they brought it out atop faux newspaper, but Brad pointed out that due to health regulations the pub may not be able to wrap the fish in real newspaper. What is the world coming to when we can't have pub fish wrapped in bonafide, inky newspapers?

Our service was good, if a little overzealous. Our waitress was convinced that our table needed to be cleared every few minutes, long before we were finished with our meal. I give her credit in the drink department though, because when I asked her to have the bartender make me a beer "cocktail" she promptly brought a black velvet, which was a combination of Guinness and Cider.

Speaking of beer, I was disappointed with the lack of variety on the list. Pubs that appear to be traditionally English or Irish build up my expecations of a varied, interesting list, and The Firkin & Lindberg didn't live up to them. There are the usual decent choices of Guinness, Harp, Boddingtons and the like, but no obscure or super premium choices. If I enter a bar and find I've tried all of the beers available I can't truly endorse it. I also don't remember seeing any local beers, a sad omission in Atlanta, home of quality breweries like Sweetwater and Red Brick.

Verdict: Above average food with a below average beverage selection. Too new, but given time could see improvement.


  1. I didn't know about this place and it seems to be right down the street from me. Will have to give it a try!

    Thanks for pointing it out.


  2. It's definately worth a try.

    One comment I'd make is that the entrees are a bit pricey, although the portions are certainly better than the average run of "pubs" in the area. The fish and chips is the best I've had at any of the various pubs -- not too greasy, with the right combination of crunch and sweet fish. The sweet potato fries are pretty good.

    One real plus is that it is right outside the MARTA station. And I mean right outside. If it were raining, you could run out of the exit, across the little lane and into the door without getting terribly wet.

  3. On the other hand, I agree with The Foodilicious One about the dirt part. To be a real pub it needs to be low dark, and dingy. The ceiling is too high. There needs to be a corner booth where some antique remnant in tweed and a collorless shirt draws on his pipe and spins yarns in the late night gloom as he downs pint after pint of the Master's ale.

    I'll take the job. I'd be a great addition to the atmosphere.

  4. On a totally unrelated topic, may I just say that the gal at the deli obviously has no idea how to deal with prosciutto. She cut it way too thick. It should be as thin as the most intimate of human hair, thus the buttery fat can melt on your tongue.

    She ruined the experience for me. I may cry.