The Midway Pub

522 Flat Shoals Ave., East Atlanta Village. 404-584-0335

On a recent postcard, the Midway Pub introduced itself with a concise list: "over 100 cold beers; patio; fancy bar; food served late; free Wi-Fi." That's a pretty good description of the cheeky attitude and winning attributes of the newest place to open in East Atlanta Village — even if the kitchen and service are still getting up to speed.

GARAGE DOORS: Midway joins the growing number of Atlanta bars that manage to be hip without being a hole in the wall. The buildout of an old garage on Flat Shoals Avenue (across from what was once the Echo Lounge) is bright and airy and surprisingly comfy. A series of working garage doors adds to the open feel. And a wide concrete patio with umbrella tables hugs the street. Inside, there's a spacious bar, surrounded by booths and tables, and a counter equipped with laptop outlets for powering up and connecting to the Internet. There's also a back room with foosball and a bank of popular video games, including Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter.

TRASH & BURGERS: The menu aims beyond the usual pub grub, with a mix of starters, salads, sandwiches and a few entrees. So far, though, some dishes are a tad too ambitious, while others are, well, just too cute. The "trailer trash" salsa is meant to be a yuk, but it's just yucky — a melange of sliced "beanie weenie" mini hot dogs in a chunky, cloyingly sweet tomato sauce, served with Frito Scoops. On a recent visit, the Fritos got gobbled up, while the weenies were used as comedy props. And then there's the coconut-crusted soft-shell crab sandwich, which is nicely fried to a crispy crunch, but so small that it disappears on the bun. Look for a daily soup offering, and the chef's signature green chili, which is thick and tasty, if oddly dotted with kernels of corn. Entrees (served 5 p.m.-midnight) are bargain-priced at less than $10, and currently include sliced steak, fried chicken and mahi-mahi. Of course, there's a grilled burger. But it's a good one, thick and juicy, and perched in a fluffy bakery roll with lettuce and tomato. With a side of tater tots and a beer, it's the way to go right now, unless you don't eat meat — and then it's the grilled cheese with roasted tomatoes.

MUCHO BREWS: Neal Williamson of Draft Beer Services of Atlanta (the company that installs most of the draft systems around town) was at the bar last week, sipping an Allagash White and offering advice to the bartenders. Count that as a good sign. Among the other beers on that night: Terrapin's very limited oak-aged Rye Squared; North Coast Brother Thelonious; Victory Golden Monkey and Prima Pils; and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.



HOURS: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-midnight Sundays
PRICES: Starters, soups and salads, $3.75-$8.95; sandwiches and burgers, $6-$9; entrees, $9-$9.50 (served 5 p.m.-midnight)
CREDIT CARDS: All major
RESERVATIONS: No
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Burgers, beers and tater tots
PARKING: Lot and street
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes
SMOKING POLICY: Smoking allowed (18 and over)
NOISE LEVEL: Moderate to high
TAKEOUT: Yes
WEB SITE: www.myspace.com/themidwaypub
VERDICT: A happening new bar/restaurant in EAV, with a big beer selection; but the menu could use some tweaking.

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