5th Annual Neuroscience Graduate Program Awards Ceremony

by Erica Akhter
photos by Amielle Moreno

Spurred by good ol’ program spirit and the promise of free booze, Emory’s finest showed up dressed to the nines for the 2017 Neuroscience Awards Ceremony.

Leadership Award
Chris Sinon
SinonWinShot 2
GIN ex-president Chris Sinon has enthusiastically served the Emory Neuroscience community in almost every capacity imaginable. Aside from fearlessly hosting recruitment parties and successfully campaigning to increase the GIN budget in dicey economic times, Chris has continually worked behind the scenes to organize, support and rally the program to both improve our community and expand our connections with other programs in Laney and beyond.

University Service Award
Elyse Morin

Morin_win_2017Elyse Morin has excelled in service both within and outside of the scientific community. Elyse has taken an active role in science advocacy, meeting with GA representatives and joining her advisor, Mar Sanchez, to speak to the House Committee on Appropriations in DC. In addition, she has served as senior coordinator for the Emory RespectCon, led workshops bringing together Atlanta resources for rape survivors and spent more than 1,700 hours on call for the Rape Crisis Center.

Outreach Award
Desiree De Leon

DesireeWinShotThough her outreach efforts may sometimes put her in hot water with advisors Larry Young and Mar Sanchez, Desiree has made a huge impact on the community. As the graduate representative for the Atlanta Chapter of SfN, Desiree has built a multi-university outreach empire, growing outreach efforts by nearly 1,000 students while serving as chair of the Atlanta Brain Bee and coordinator of Brain Awareness month and the ATL Science Festival Booth.

Outstanding Early Achievement Award
Andrea Pack

Pack_win_2017Andrea Pack had the honor of being the sole nominee for this award. When you view her CV it’s not hard to see why. In her two years at Emory, Andrea has been placed on two training grants, received an NSF graduate research fellowship, presented at two international conferences and is currently preparing a first author manuscript. In addition, she is extremely active in scientific outreach, pioneering her own course to teach science within a local prison.

Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
Elizabeth Pitts

Pitts and profElizabeth Pitts has presented at too many conferences to count and is an author on eight publications, including first authorship on a paper in Neuropsychopharmacology and a review in Neurobiology of Disease. While spanning two distinct model systems and actively teaching, Liz has remained active in the program and received multiple awards for her research, including the prestigious honor of presenting to prospective students during the Emory recruitment process.

Excellence in Teaching Award
Arielle Valdez

ArielleWinShotArielle Valdez has served as a teaching assistant for a variety of rigorous courses on a variety of topics: everything from human anatomy to the ethics of vegetarianism. Arielle has reached students far beyond the neuroscience realm in which most of us live. In each course she’s taught, both her instructors and students have recognized her excellence, so much so that she was awarded the GDBBS-wide TATTO Teaching award. Despite already hitting this ceiling of recognition, she plans to continue broadening her teaching experiences.

Excellence in Mentorship Award
Elizabeth Pitts

Pitts Acceptance1Liz Pitt’s excellence in mentorship is reflected through both the quality and quantity of her students. Liz directly mentored eight undergraduates while at Emory, guiding them through in depth, long-term research projects. Her students have graduated with highest honors and – even more remarkably – a literature based understanding of their field and the ability to think critically about it. Some might say that thanks to Liz, they’re now positioned to have their own outstanding scientific achievements.

GIN Faculty of the Year
Shannon Gourley

GourelyWinShotDr. Shannon Gourley, pictured here with her Elizabeth’s, was selected from a sea of wonderful mentors because of her passion and dedication for her students. Perhaps best said by one of the Elizabeth’s themselves,  “Her altruistic and well-organized use of her time” and “dedication to her students’ and colleagues’ success” make her an exemplary representative of what makes Emory neuroscience a wonderful place.

GIN Student Service Award
Byron Gardner

Byron Acceptance3Byron Gardner continually attends, assists, and invigorates GIN events. He is always willing to use his creative energies for the betterment of the program and he stands out in his ability to make prospective students want to join in the fun. Ironically he could not attend this ceremony, but his efforts to go above and beyond at almost everything else make him more than deserving of the award anyway.




2015 GDBBS Banquet Fashion Spread

By Amielle Moreno

2015 GDBBS Interior Panoramic – Version 2

On a rainy Thursday night, the brightest things in Atlanta were the women and men of Emory’s Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. I plucked the prettiest flowers from the bunch for this article to honor their stylishness.

Gina Alesi from Cancer Biology
Gina Alesi from Cancer Biology
Alicia Cutler from Biochemistry Cell and Developmental Biology (BCDB)
Alicia Cutler from Biochemistry Cell and Developmental Biology (BCDB)
Morgan Woody Winship Cancer Institute
Morgan Woody Winship Cancer Institute

The solid purple dress took center stage this year with multiple ladies donning this trending color. With many ways to wear it, this color is flattering on everyone, but who do you think wore it best?

Josh Lewis from BCDB
Josh Lewis from BCDB
Marko Bajic from Genetics and Molecular Biology
Marko Bajic from Genetics and Molecular Biology
R to L: Gary Longstreet from Program Administration, as well as Muhammad Anzar Abbas from Neuroscience and his lovely date
Gary Longstreet from Program Administration, as well as Muhammad Anzar Abbas from Neuroscience and his lovely date

In man’s fashion, the surest way to stand out in the sea of polo shirted lazy-lads, was easy: sports jacket and tie. Josh Lewis’ mix of jacket and plaid skinny tie set him apart from the crowd. Look out Chris Hardwick! Unfortunately, some people think fashion ends after your pants, such as Marko, who looked like the whole package until you notice his shoes. When asked about his ensemble he responded “#Marko #swag #swagco #yolo #yololifeforever #ijustputiton.” But Anzar Abbas gets extra flair points for his light brown tips. And yes, Gary Longstreet, people are going to think you’re a server if you dress in all black. “Black’s my favorite color,” he responded with aplomb.

Gina Lenzi  Molecular Systems and Pharmacology
Gina Lenzi Molecular Systems and Pharmacology
Madeline Price IMP Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis
Madeline Price IMP Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis

The LBD is a fashion staple but Gina’s lacy number will stand the test of time. It’s versatile with long sleeves which keep it in rotation from fall to late winter. Meanwhile, Madeline pulled this little number out of the closet after getting into shape. Can you think of anything more rewarding than slipping into that dress after months of working out? Her classic pumps make her ready for any formal event, but one might say that her accessories are lacking while Gina’s gold accessories take her ensemble over the top.Who wore black better: Gina, Madeline or Gary?

Version 3

Rachel Cliburn from Neuroscience
Rachel Cliburn from Neuroscience
Gary Longstreet from Program Adminsitration, Dr. Weinshenker and Dr. Gretchen Neigh
Gary Longstreet from Program Adminsitration, Dr. Weinshenker and Dr. Gretchen Neigh

And then there were the red mavens. Rachel  not only had hands and toes in theme with her red dress from Paris, her glass slippers “make [her] feel like she can twinkle float.” Dr. Neigh gets a chance to wear this beautiful gown for the second time. I was shocked that it was an Ann Taylor because I’ve never seen anything this bright. That dress, much like these two ladies, stand out from the crowd when everybody else is wearing tan. Thanks for the photo bomb, Gary.

Jacob Billings from Neuroscience
Jacob Billings from Neuroscience
Lukas Hoffmann from Neuroscience
Lukas Hoffmann from Neuroscience

Both of these Neuroscience gentlemen received their neuron accessories, from their significant others. Lukas’s purple tie is from Bow-Tie For a Cause with all the profits from this gift benefiting Alzheimer’s research.

Julia Omotade from BCDB
Oh MY, Omotade! Julia Omotade from BCDB wins the best dressed award!

Black and White doesn’t get any better. In my humble opinion, Julia Omotade’s cocktail dress puts all others to shame and as the best dressed at the GDBBS Banquet.

Eye catching from across the room, Pernille Buelow claims she does "this with my hair everyday at lab."
Eye catching from across the room, Pernille Buelow from Neuroscience claims she does “this with my hair everyday at lab.”
What did they just hear that could create such polar reactions?
What did they just hear that could create such polar reactions?
Dr. Weinshenker was literally the last person to receive dinner.
Dr. Weinshenker was literally the last person to receive dinner.
Because it's alien eggs, this is the vegetarian option not the vegan option.
Because it’s alien eggs, this is the vegetarian option not the vegan option.
The food was much better in years past.
The food was much better in years past.
Version 2
Constance Harrell Shreckengost from Neuroscience receives the graduate Career Award
Lauren DePoy receives the Neuroscience Scholar of the Year Award
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A bowl?! I work for 13 years and all I get is a bowl with a dent in it?!?!
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Lukas Hoffmann from Neuroscience receives the Graduate Program in Biology Academic and Achievement Award
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My two bundles of joy!

Local Field Potential: The Slice and Pint in Emory Village

By James Burkett

Don ponders the union of old and new before stuffing new pizza in his old face
Don ponders the union of old and new before stuffing new pizza in his old face

The recent closure of Everybody’s Pizza in the Emory Village has left a hole in some of our hearts – and all of our stomachs. Fortunately, the pizza-and-beer torch has now been passed to a new restaurant, which promises to surpass the old one in every way: The Slice and Pint.

Located in the same great spot on the Emory Village roundabout, the Slice and Pint has taken pizza and beer to a new level. First, the restaurant itself has been renovated to give it a warm, inviting feel while preserving the historical building’s old-fashioned charm. Reclaimed pecky cypress walls, a gorgeous copper bar top, and newly refinished wood floors and tables give the old place a sleek, fresh look. Even the bathrooms have been given a style upgrade worth checking out.

DSCN3531[1]DSCN3530[1]However, the biggest upgrade is to the menu. The new owners are totally focused on high-quality, local organic ingredients – including mozzarella made fresh in-store, local meats and local seasonal veggies. The pizzas are made using handmade dough that uses the same beer yeast they plan to use in their brewing tanks, giving it a unique and pleasantly mild sourdough taste. Their red sauce is similarly unique, with a sweet and slightly spicy taste.

The highlight of the menu is their collection of exceptional specialty pizzas, which are sized for two, making them a very good value. The swine pie is a favorite among all the guests I’ve brought: thick layers of cheese covering a delicious (though small) sampling of a North Carolina-style BBQ chicken. True carnivores might like the generous portions of meat on the Ultimate Pepperoni, or the delicious, high quality local sausage on the Riverview Farms sausage pizza. For the vegetarians among us, try the margherita to sample the house-made mozzarella, or the seasonal veggie pizza to see what they can do with whatever is growing fresh in the local area.

The Riverview Farms sausage pizza. No, we really couldn't wait and take a photo before eating half.
The Riverview Farms sausage pizza. No, we really couldn’t wait and take a photo before eating half.

They have larger pizzas per-ingredient for groups, and loners can order big slices or try one of the focaccia-bread sandwiches (the caprese is my favorite). You can also order crispy calzones with any of their toppings and sauces (which are also sized for two, and I recommend sharing for an exceptional value). I have personally tried a BBQ chicken and a pesto chicken calzone, and both were amazing. One hidden gem on the menu that you shouldn’t miss is the tater tots. These cheese-infused tots are so good you will slap Ore Ida in the face. With one of the sandwiches, $1 upgrades your side item to the tots, which is pretty much the best dollar you will spend in your life. And I’m including the Georgia Mega Millions.

After a brief wait at the beginning of the semester, S&P now has their liquor license up and running. They have a smart and well-chosen selection of 15 craft beers on tap, including numerous brews from right here in Georgia. Plus, right next door, the space that used to be the Steady Hand (and before that, a series of coffee and tea shops) is being renovated to put in their own brewery tanks, where they plan to make some in-house brews.

The only potential pitfall in the otherwise exceptional menu is the appetizers. The appetizers are very tasty, and the tater tots are tiny balls of sweet heaven. However, the appetizer portions are a little small and may catch the unwary diner off-guard.

If you’re looking for your average, run-of-the-mill grease bomb pizza, there are two other pizza places within sight of the front door. What the Slice and Pint offers is a delicious, unique taste with high quality ingredients, served in a true brewpub atmosphere.

Russ Yates

If you still need a reason to try it out, one of the new owners, Russ Yates, is an old friend of mine and a long-time home brewer. If you’re on a boring date here and short on conversation, call Russ or his partner over and ask them something about beer; they know more about brews than you know about neurons. I took advantage of our friendship to ask Russ a few questions.

Me: The old Everybody’s Pizza seemed to leave Emory Village very suddenly. What happened, and how did you come to take over their space?

Russ: The partners had a great run of almost 42 years and were just ready to retire. As one of the partners told me, he just wanted to spend some time on the beach with his grandkids. Hard to argue with that. My partner, Crawford Moran, was asked by the landlord if he would be interested in the location for a brewpub and it all took off from there.

Me: Tell us a bit about the partnership that brought us this restaurant.

Russ: I met Crawford while I was at my previous job contracting with Coca-Cola. I worked downtown at Coca-Cola headquarters for 8 years in their packaging group. Once the 5 Seasons Westside location opened up 4 years ago, I made a point to drop by every Thursday for the cask ale that Crawford would put on, and I got to know Crawford quite well over the years. I have always wanted to open a brewpub and I had talked to Crawford about it for some time as he has a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the business from his current and past experiences. Crawford and I got together and talked about the opportunity of taking over Everybody’s late last year and decided that it would be a great place to put a brewpub. The location is perfect with Emory across the street and Druid Hills all around it. Also, there isn’t another brewpub in the close vicinity, which would allow us to be THE local pub that we wanted to be for the area. Not to mention, pizza and beer just go great together. Coming from my customer focused on-site background at Coca-Cola, my focus is mainly on the front of house and making sure that all of our customers have the best experience they can possibly have. Crawford will focus on the brewery operations but I’m also looking forward to getting involved in that as well once we get the brew house up and running.

Me: What is it that makes your food unique?

Russ: We wanted to step up the average pizza offerings that many places have. First of all, we use all organic flour in our pizza dough and then we combine 2 Italian yeast strains, as well as our favorite Trappist beer yeast strain, to give it a great flavor that you will not find anywhere else. From there, we source many of our vegetables from local Georgia farms and source most of our meat from local butcher shops and other Georgia farms, including Riverview Farms and White Oak Pastures. The pepperoni we have from Heywood’s Meat Haus in Marietta is just awesome. It will ruin you for regular pepperoni. By using all of these ingredients, it makes for a better pizza that tastes better and is better for you. We will be changing up our menu on a regular basis to include the different fresh fruits and vegetables we get from our farmers.

Me: I understand you’re installing brewery tanks for making your own micro-brews. When will those be ready? Can you tell us a bit about what you will be brewing?

Russ: We are working on building out the brewery now and should have the equipment by next month. We are targeting pouring our fresh beer around the first of next year. As far as the beer goes, we will start with a Belgian golden that will use the same beer yeast strain that is in our pizza dough. We think that will really tie together the beer and pizza nicely. After that, we will have many other styles including IPA, Pale Ale, Porters and Stouts. We’ll also do a lot of seasonal beers to go along with the seasonal offerings we have on our menu. It’s fun to pair the various beer styles with our food.

Me: Out of the whole menu, what is your personal favorite?

Russ: It changes from time to time, but I’m a big fan of the Southern Pie. It has pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and pork belly bits. We were trying to roll a classic southern dish into a pizza and it came out great. We liked it so much we even made a sandwich out of it. It’s our twist on a BLT sandwich.

Me: Are there any upcoming seasonal items that we can look forward to?

Russ: We changed up the Prosciutto & Peaches to Prosciutto & Figs, which people are loving. We just replaced our gazpacho with our chili for the fall, which uses White Oak Pasture’s grass fed beef and pinto beans. It’s perfect for the cooler days we are having now. We will also continue to change our specials menu from time to time, so always check there when you come to the pub. Our beer list will change on a regular basis too, as well as the house-made infusions we are using in our cocktails.

Me: Thank you very much, Russ!

Post your own comments and your experiences at the Slice and Pint in the comments section below. Or, if you have any questions for Russ, post them here and I might fire them off to him!

Local Field Potential: Bad Dog Taqueria

By Travis Rotterman

bad dogWebsite: http://www.baddogtaco.com

Location: 1579 North Decatur Rd NE in Emory Village.

Price: Tacos starting at $2.99 a piece and draft beer from $5 to $6.    

Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11:30am till 9:00pm, open Friday and Saturday till 10:00pm.

Parking: Available on the street and the parking lot located behind the building. Also, there is a bike rack located outside to the left of the building.

Cuisine: Specialty tacos, flavorful burritos, and juicy burgers.   

Have you heard of Bad Dog? If not, you are missing out on one of the best taquerias in the Emory/Druid Hills area. Right in the heart of Emory Village and walking distance from campus, Bad Dog features a food selection bursting with ethnic flavors. You’re welcomed into a bustling atmosphere filled with Emory students and locals alike just looking to kick back with a cold beer and flavorful tacos filled with local organic ingredients. But it’s not just the tasty food that will get your taste buds going: Bad Dog currently features six small microbrews on tap with six additional taps coming soon.  But Bad Dog also prides itself on its social atmosphere and progressiveness i.e. support of the LGBT community.  Accordingly, the third Wednesday of every month is guy’s night and the third Thursday is ladies’ night (of course anyone is allowed at either event!). Starting this fall, their hours will be extended to 11:30pm during the week and late into the night on weekends.  Most of all Bad Dog strives to be a model local eatery that pledges to support small businesses and breweries and to use fresh, local organic ingredients to make the best tasting tacos in town!

Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market

By Drew Solyst

Originally published Fall 2012.

sulcus146In an interview with literary wunderkind Jonah Lehrer, Bob Dylan divulged the inspiration for his 1965 song “Like a Rolling Stone”, saying: “It’s a hard thing to describe. It’s just this sense that you got something to say. Like have you been to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market? That place is the cat’s pajamas man.” It’s hard to argue with the genius of Bob Dylan or a cat wearing pajamas, so it stands to reason that Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market is the superior distributor of delicious foodstuffs. However, I recognize that some people may not appreciate Bob’s brand of singing or cats in sleeping attire, so I’ll present just a few reasons why you should go to Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market instead of someone else’s more traditional supermarket.

I think that everyone who has visited can agree that Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market is like no other market. You know you’re in for something different when you drive past their landscaped message telling you in planted flowers that your destination is “Bringing The World of People and Food Together”. At the door to the unassuming building, you’re comforted that their signage insists that you simply cannot bring your firearm into the store (not even your derringer!). It’s a small, but fair price for admission.

As if stepping into a giant refrigerator (literally and metaphorically), you’re faced with endless rows of fresh produce from all over the world dominating an enormous open warehouse. There is no soft mood music, no faux-antique signs with foreign language, no elaborate displays, just the bright lights overhead shining squarely on the food and a sea of people. It spotlights a microcosm of Atlanta, a diverse group of individuals and food that have been brought together from everywhere but Atlanta.

This is why when people ask me what I like about Atlanta; I invariably talk about the Farmer’s Market. It’s gotten so predictable that people have even made wagers about how quickly I will mention it. But what am I supposed to talk about? The World of Coke Museum? The Georgia Aquarium? Last time I checked, people eat food like every day and particularly enjoy eating food that tastes really good.

sulcus147Oh and did I mention that it’s cheap? Loose leaf mango black tea for $.05/tsp, chipotle pepper powder for $.08/tsp, 3 chocolate croissants for $4 and salsa verde for $.07/tbsp, all of which are prepared fresh from their ingredients at the Market every day. Among the produce you can find many items that are very difficult to obtain fresh, like kaffir lime leaf, longan fruit, galangal, dragonfruit and Thai bananas. On one side of the building you’ll find a vast selection of wines from all over the world, and on the other sprawling counters serving up live lobsters and crabs, tuna, grass-fed beef, bison, and air-chilled, organic chicken.

On Sundays, The Cheese Lady hands out free toothpicks to sample the fantastic cheese selection, where you may find yourself lingering happily for quite some time while you listen to her words of wisdom. If during your cheesy trance you smell the unmistakable scent of barbecue wings, politely excuse yourself from The Cheese Lady and her bounty and proceed directly to the Market’s own hot bar. For $5 you can get a plate filled to the brim with sautéed kale, cauliflower casserole, fried plantain, spicy Szechuan eggplant, vegetarian lasagna, sherry chicken, and if you’re feeling like a baller a samosa for an extra $1.50 (don’t forget the sauce). It’s cash only so make sure you have enough before you get in line or they’ll make you work off the difference in their organic sea salt mines. If you don’t believe me check out the elevator shaft right there next to the register. Where do you think that goes?

When you get to the register you realize why you will definitely be coming back: The numbers looking at you feel oddly friendly. It’s actually cheaper to eat better food from the DeKalb Farmer’s market than the Publix equivalent. To demonstrate, here is a recipe for my grilled chipotle-lime chicken tacos topped with a roasted corn and black bean salsa, monteray jack cheese and chipotle salsa or guacamole. Did I mention that there are chips? The ingredients cost $2 per taco at YDFM and $3 per taco for the Publix approximation ($31.18 and $46.70 for all ingredients to make ~16 tacos, and extra guac, salsa and chips, respectively). Only the tortillas and chips were bought outside of YDFM.


Food Reviews—Taqueria El Vecino

By Mallory Bowers

Originally published Fall 2012.

sulcus142Liz and Dick, Britney and Jason, Ron and Yoland — classic couples of the ages — meet Taqueria el Vecino, “the neighborhood taqueria”, where delicious is paired with affordable. El Vecino (I have shorthanded to reflect my affection) is the only lunch spot on my rotation where I can walk away stuffed and short just ten dollars in my pocket – for two people. The lunch special is a must for the cash-strapped and hungry graduate student. Starting at 11:30 and running for a generous 3.5 hours, the lunch special sulcus145includes two baskets of chips, two dips from the “wall of flame”, and iced tea, sweet tea, limeade, or my favorite, the iced tea/limeade combo (with refills!) for free! If you are looking to make your visit to El Vecino a “liquid” lunch, be warned that you won’t find any $3 Los Loros lunch margaritas here. Basic margaritas cost $7 and, although large, are fairly weak. Flavored margarita offerings include blackberry, guava, and mango and cost between $7 and $8. The “wall of flame” sulcus144includes highlights like chipotle ranch, cilantro lime balsamic vinaigrette, pico de gallo, and fresh jicama slaw. I often mix 3/4 chipotle ranch and ¼ cilantro lime balsamic for a tangy/spicy sauce to dip chips and dress my tacos. Tacos, which run between $2-$4 dollars during regular hours, are listed under $2. I favor the fish taco which comes out so fresh that impatient diners like me often burn their mouths. The actual fish is delicious, without any lingering “fishiness” taste or smell. The fish is topped with a heavenly cole slaw of cabbage, pineapple, jicama, jalapeno, and a tiny bit of mayonnaise. Other options include chorizo, carnitas (pork), camarones (shrimp), brisket, carne asada and smoked pork. All of the smoked fillings are house smoked in the “big black box” out front.  Enchiladas, poblanos rellenos, and huevos rancheros all cost around $6 during lunchtime. The enchiladas are a more filling option for the hungry student. The enchiladas plate comes with three enchiladas, Mexican rice, and beans. The diner has the option of three sauces –salsa roja, salsa verde, or mole. Fillings include chicken, steak, and carnitas. By now you should be salivating more than Pavlov’s dogs, however, the restaurant will be closed for renovations until September 10. The renovations include an sulcus143expansion that will increase the size of the kitchen and seating areas. The menu is also undergoing an expansion with more smoked and BBQ items, as well as more beer and liquor options. Please visit Taqueria el Vecino after September 10 at:

2743 LaVista Road
Decatur, GA 30033

11:30am – 9pm Su-Thu
11:30am – 10pm Fri & Sat

Welcome to Atlanta, Recruits!

By Zack Johnson

Originally published Spring 2012.

sulcus116There’s a reason Atlanta gets consistently voted as a top city for young people to live in: there’s a ton to do here.  Staying sane as a graduate student almost requires getting out and exploring the city.  Although I’ve lived here only a couple of years, I’ve done my best to cover as many cool spots I can think of that Atlanta has to offer:

Little 5 Points is a funky neighborhood with a number of quirky spots.  Junkman’s Daughter is one of the most interesting stores imaginable- — a hybrid vintage clothing/costume/party/thrift shop where you’ll find everything from three-feet tall boots to themed furniture.  The Vortex is next door, with a giant skull entrance and a menu with some horrifying food items.  The “Double Bypass Burger” contains “two fried eggs, six slices of American cheese, and eight slices of bacon, all served between the two grilled cheese sandwiches” used in place of buns.  The Porter (try the goat cheese fritters), Brewhouse, and Corner Tavern are just some of the great places for beers in L5P, and if you’re in search of music check out Variety Playhouse.

Decatur has some excellent spots.  First, you need to visit Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market- it’s a 140,000 sq. ft. indoor market with super cheap, fresh food from all over the world.  Every time friends/family visit I show them this place.  Also eat and drink at Brick Store- it’s an English-style pub that was voted the #2 best beer bar on the PLANET by beeradvocate.com.  Twain’s is another great place.  In addition to some of its own home brews, it has pool, darts, foosball, shuffleboard, and more.  Downtown Decatur is also sprinkled with a bunch of interesting shops and it hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, including a book festival (this year Sept. 2-5), arts festival (late May) and a beer festival (Oct. 15).  Also, check out open mic nights at Eddie’s Attic (Mondays).  If you’re in search of breakfast, I’d recommend Thumbs Up Diner.  For coffee, Java Monkey.  For sushi, Sushi Ave (they have an awesome lunch special).  For more beer, try Thinking Man’s Tavern, Marlay House, and Leon’s.  For even more beer, try the Corner Pub or Taco Mac.  If you’ve made it this far, maybe call Decatur’s Best Taxi and get home.

sulcus115Virginia Highlands is a historic area is divided into seven “districts” of shops, restaurants, etc. each within walking distance of each other.  The oldest tavern in Atlanta, Atkins Park, has been in the Highlands since 1922 and is still a popular place.   .  Noche has awesome tapas.  At night, the Highlands is always buzzing.  Hand in Hand (my personal favorite) and Neighbor’s are next door to each other and both have nice patios for when the weather is  nice.    10 High has Metalsome Mondays with a live band playing behind those with the guts to do karaoke.

The Virginia Highlands flows into the Poncey Highlands, where you’ll find the 24/7 Majestic Diner and the Atlanta’s oldest theater, the Plaza, which shows indie films and recently hosted the up-and-coming film producer Tommy Wiseau (Youtube “The Room”).  Not far away is the notorious Clermont Lounge- proceed with caution.

Downtown:  Atlanta has four professional sports teams and you can usually find pretty good deals on game tickets through Emory.  You can also get tickets through Emory for some pretty cliché (but also cool) downtown attractions like the Georgia Aquarium (world’s largest), Coca-Cola Museum, and CNN tours. For music, the Tabernacle is one of many venues for great concerts.

Midtown is next to downtown and is probably the most trendy area in Atlanta.  It’s home of the Fox Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, High Museum, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and much more.  The Shakespeare Tavern is an especially great spot – eat food and drink beer while you watch talented performances of Shakespeare’s works.  If it’s raining, go to Park Tavern for $1 beers – it’s right next to Piedmont, Atlanta’s second biggest park (behind Emory’s Lullwater).  Try Screen on the Green during the summer- they play great movies in the park.  Midtown’s nightlife is also especially lively, as it boasts more than half of Atlanta’s nightclubs; Opera, Cosmo Lava, and MJQ are some of my favorite places.  Check out the Laughing Skull for stand-up comedy, Front Page News for brunch (and for a build your own bloody mary bar), Ri Ra for an authentic Irish pub, Rita’s for Italian (Water) Ice, and Midtown Art Cinema for indie films.

If you’ve exhausted this list, fear not.  I’ve missed countless great places, and there’s still Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Cabbage Town, East Atlanta, Edgewood, Toco Hills, Buckhead, Grant Park, and dozens of other neighborhoods each with their own personality, food spots, entertainment, and of course, beer.