The 5 best places to drink in Gwinnett

Gwinnett is a county so deep in square miles, it seems to stretch to the stateline and back. But, with a diverse population of more than 850,000 people and a dining scene bursting with multi-cultural cuisine, Gwinnett’s residents are no strangers to global. However, the bar scene in these parts may be its best kept secret.

<< Read the AJC Gwinnett Dining Guide

Parma

In an area swimming in a sea of car dealerships, strip malls and the behemoth that is the Mall of Georgia, Parma is a local haunt hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Buford Drive. The Cheers-like tavern nestled between a nondescript row of shops serves up great pizza and a solid happy hour. The small bar is cozy and offers brew-minded imbibers more than 20 beers--many of them craft and at least eight of those on draft. While the wine selection is descent and good cocktails can be had (try the Old Fashioned) our favorite bar activity was drinking beer, watching soccer and chatting with the locals.

Parma, 3350 Buford Drive NE, Buford. 678-541-0908, parmarustictavern.com.

 

Graft

Chef/owner Ashley Clemence and her husband Seth opened Graft in the charming small town of Grayson in 2012, after remodeling one of the town’s century-old homes along Grayson Parkway. The restaurant's seasonally driven menu (including vegetables and herbs from its gardens) also extends to the bar and its cocktails. We suggest grabbing a stool on whiskey Wednesdays for half-priced ($4) brown water cocktails. Order The Baptist, a souped-up version of the brandy Old Fashioned with bourbon, brandy-based orange liqueur Torres, bitters and sugars.

Graft, 516 Grayson Pkwy, Grayson. 770-338-9001, graftrestaurant.net.

 

Three Blind Mice

Just south of Lawrenceville lies the small city of Lilburn and locally-owned and operated wine market and seasonally-driven restaurant, Three Blind Mice. This charming spot located on the city’s east side boasts weekly wine tastings, cozy interiors and a bar full of classically-inspired cocktails. Begin your evening on the patio and share a carafe of Sparkling St-Germain made with the French elderflower liqueur, prosecco, lemon, fizzy water and soft floral notes from lavender bitters. If you’re looking for something a little stronger, get TBM’s classic Blood and Sand with scotch, Heering cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth and orange.

Three Blind Mice, 1066 Killian Hill Road SW, Lilburn. 770-696-4139, tbmrestaurant.com.

 

Epicurean Cafe

For those who have followed chef Omar Powell from his days behind the stove at award-winning Bacchanalia to his Jamaican supper club 1494, his takeover this spring of the European-style Epicurean Cafe on Duluth’s town square has been nothing short of breathtaking. While Powell’s cuisine is the star here, the beverage program’s emphasis on fine wines enhances the dining experience. Oenophiles will find Epicurean’s wine list hits every price point from accessible vintages to baller cellar selections. It’s a great spot for an intimate date night or a casual dinner with friends.

Epicurean Cafe, 3579 West Lawrenceville St., Duluth. 770-476-2989, parkcafeduluth.net.

 

Noble Fin

Noble Fin has been open in Peachtree Corners a mere two months and is already making a splash. This isn’t your grandfather’s surf and turf restaurant, this is chef Jay Swift and son and chef de cuisine Jeb Aldrich’s ode to fresh, coastal cuisine. The cocktail menu here is still getting its sea legs but we found the gin-based Noble Collins, a less saccharin version of the lemonade-like Tom Collins, to be uber refreshing on a sultry summer night. For those seeking a high seas adventure, tackle the Boat Drink – a play on a Hemingway daiquiri that uses Hamilton white rum, Luxardo maraschino and citrus for a simple yet boozy imbibe. We could see Hemingway himself downing a few as he wrestled with his description of Santiago’s struggle with the giant marlin.

Noble Fin, 5260 Peachtree Pkwy, Peachtree Corners. 770-599-7979, noblefinrestaurant.com.

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