Gilbert’s Cafe: From Pride, walk across 10th Street to Gilbert’s, located next to Blake’s and Outwrite at the corner of 10th and Piedmont. They don’t have a patio but have huge open windows for a patio feel. This is a great bar with excellent Bloody Marys and Middle Eastern food. They have a flavorful vegetarian falafel and a darn good gyro with plenty of chunky feta cheese and a zippy yogurt taziki sauce, served with a greek salad tossed with a lemony vinaigrette. If it’s brunch you seek they’ll have their all-you-care-to-eat brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
FROGS Cantina: It’s an easy walk from the Piedmont Park meadow, where Pride’s largest stage is set up, across Monroe Drive to the Midtown Promenade shopping center. FROGS has a great people-watching patio. This is where a lot of Midtown boys will be. The scene gets very lively when the lime margaritas start to flow. Share an enormous platter of fajita nachos or for something lighter try their grilled tilapia fish tacos with salsa fresca.
Joe’s on Juniper: It’s a little farther from Piedmont Park, but this is my go-to patio place and it will be crowded, so grab a drink at the bar and enjoy the scenery — and I’m not talking about Juniper Street. Good pub food, salads and buffalo wings.
Zocalo: There is just something about gays, Pride, margaritas, and Mexican that all blends well. Zocalo, also walking distance from Piedmont Park, will be very crowed because they serve one of the best margaritas in town. Upscale Latin fare.
One Midtown Kitchen: Go home and get dressed up a little for this glamorous chef-driven gem in the heart of Midtown. This is an excellent place to impress your out of town Pride guests. The décor is New York glam. For the quality it’s not that expensive compared to what you would pay at New York Pride.
One Midtown Kitchen has sublime house made pasta which I’ve had with beef short ribs and tomato ragu. For $21 you can get an excellent wood-grilled steak with scratch made “frites.” One knows how to handle fresh vegetables like their roasted heirloom squash and ruby red beets. Save room for their take on the orange “creamscicle” that you grew up with.
South City Kitchen: Somewhat hidden away on Crescent Street, this is an upscale place to take your guests who want a taste of the South. They are open for lunch, brunch and dinner. Lunch is very affordable. I always have to get the crispy fried green tomatoes topped with goat cheese and a puree of red peppers called a coulis. They offer the classic southern staples like shrimp and grits, fried chicken, house-made pimento cheese, and my favorite, Charleston she crab soup.
Also noteworthy: Stroll up to Virginia Highland for Murphy’s or Noche Tapas.
Top photo: Joe’s on Juniper is a staple of Atlanta’s gay dining scene year-round, but will be particularly packed Pride weekend with those seeking a step up from festival fare. (by Bo Shell)