Sunday, June 5, 2011

Porter Beer Bar

1156 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, GA

Last Saturday night Kyle, April and I ate at The Porter Beer Bar in Little Five. My friend Kathy has been urging me to this gastropub for a while now, and somehow we haven't gotten there until now. Kathy is one smart lady - this place is awesome.

We started with the Sweetwater Spent Grain Bread ($3), which comes with salty butter. I didn't find the butter particularly salty, and the only indication that the bread contained Sweetwater IPA (an excellent Atlanta brew) was the slightly tangy flavor. However, it was a decent, not-too-thick and not-overly-thin bread, good for helping to pad your stomach for the beer to come.

April, who seems to always order appetizers as an entree, got the Goat Cheese Fritters ($6.75). This comes with clover honey, and April made a mistake in having it as an entree. It's extremely rich. Between the thick, syrupy honey and the dense, decadent fried goat cheese you'll only be able to stomach one, two at the most. I liked it, but you've got to have something else besides this if you want to make it through the night.

I ordered the Foie Gras, which isn't on the regular menu. It was fantastic, and I have to admit I was a little wary of trying it here where the tables don't have white tablecloths and the price was under $15 per serving. I took a risk, and The Porter pleasantly surprised me. The foie gras was accompanied by micro arugula, thick ciabatta-like bread, duck powder, and two sides, one of which had a cranberry base. Really, you should try it.

Kyle ordered the half pound cheeseburger ($11.75), which was about what you would expect. It may be the plainest and most traditional item on their menu, but it was good. It came with a huge side of fries, which I think had way, way too much garlic. You could smell them coming from the time the waiter entered the dining room with his plate. They overpowered everything, including the beer.

And yes, I'm now going to talk about the beer.

No matter how much I may have liked the food here, there's no way I would have loved it more than the beer. The list is tremendous - 19 pages, I think. In fact, it appears to be almost identical to the list at Brick Store in Decatur (previously reviewed and highly rated). Pilsners, hefeweizens, porters (naturally), cask ales, barley wines - all ranging from about $5 to $23. I've tried at least 200 brews in my life, and I can say that the Porter has lots of beer I've never tasted, many I've never even heard of. If you're a beer hound, you'll love it.

The atmosphere . . . hmmm. First of all, you're in the heart of Little Five Points. If you've been there, you get the idea of the clientele. Inside the restaurant itself is shaped like a narrow "L", with a traditional bar in the front, and tables further back that keep going up, and up, and up. Be careful of this if you've downed a few! (No, I didn't break a leg, but you can see the potential.) It's a little dark, and there's 80's music like The Cure, Erasure and New Order playing. Or at least there was last Saturday night. Half the people inside are too young to remember any of it, but the other half range from old hippies to professor types (sometimes one in the same, I admit), to simple beer lovers like me, and I'm always a shockingly normal element in this part of town. I don't necessarily feel like I fit in here, but the problem was in my mind, not in the way I was treated. Our waiter was fantastic. He had a great sense of humor and was very knowledgeable when we had questions about the various beers. Everything would've been kosher is someone wouldn't have puked on the floor in the level below us - again, lots of under 25's here.

Despite the upchuck, I'll definitely be back.

Verdict: The best bar/pub in Little 5.

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