Atlanta’s Ranger Station makes Esquire’s ‘Best Bars in America’ list

Atlanta’s thriving bar scene has a new rising star. Ranger Station, nestled in a cozy attic space along the city’s bustling Beltline Eastside Trail, has been named one of Esquire’s Best Bars in America for 2024. This vintage-inspired gem is one of only 42 establishments nationwide to receive the honor.

Step into Ranger Station, above Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall, and be transported to a nostalgic ‘70s lodge, complete with wood-paneled walls, dim lighting, and an eclectic mix of taxidermy and vintage park souvenirs, according to the magazine. The artfully mismatched leather furniture invites patrons to sink in and savor the bar’s inventive cocktails and delectable snacks.

The bar’s menu features a range of cocktails that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. From the cantaloupe-infused gin and lemon-dill dry vermouth of the Kodachrome to the cucumber gin, watermelon shrub and mint syrup of the Human Cannonball, each drink is a blend of unique flavors.

Pair your cocktail with a selection from the “snack pack,” which includes house pimento cheese, smoked sausage, mushroom jerky, house pickles and housemade seasoned saltines. For a heartier bite, try the smoked fish dip, smoked brisket steak or the playful Cheeto Shishitos — blistered peppers with Cheeto seasoning, lime crema, cotija and fried in beef tallow.

“Bars have always been that third place, the spot where you hang outside work and home. But as we’ve discovered crisscrossing the country over the past twelve months to visit the new bars, they’re doing that in more nuanced and varied ways than they have in a long time,” Esquire culture and lifestyle director Kevin Sintumuang noted. “It’s not just about the drinks. Then again, it’s never just about the drinks.”

The atmosphere at Ranger Station is elevated by the soothing scent of Palo Santo and the groovy tunes spun by the live vinyl DJ. As one Google reviewer raved: “We sat at the bar and the bartenders were just fantastic. They were so attentive and gave great cocktail and snack recommendations. The cocktail menu has so many inventive and unique options. Definitely will be back!”

Whether you’re a local looking for a new hangout or a visitor seeking to experience the best of Atlanta’s bar scene, Ranger Station is a must visit. Swing by Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, or Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations are highly encouraged, but walk-ins are always welcome, its website states.