Atlanta Patio Pick: Best End Brewing is where the Beltline meets Bosnia

The new tiki bar at Best End Brewing. / Courtesy of Best End Brewing

The new tiki bar at Best End Brewing. / Courtesy of Best End Brewing

Imagine you’re a thirsty pilgrim hoofing the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail on a parched August day. You look around, and there’s a tiki bar! Is this a mirage? Are the gods playing a cruel trick? Or, can you just walk right up and order yourself a rum punch, frozen margarita or a beer brewed in-house?

Since the pandemic, Best End Brewing Co., like most Atlanta food-and-drink establishments, has been pushed into a proverbial corner and forced to rethink its business model. But man, what a corner.

Best End Brewing’s patio is adjacent to the Beltline and is framed by a native bog garden maintained by Trees Atlanta. (Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Wendell Brock

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Credit: Wendell Brock

According to co-founder Cory Burke, adding a tiki bar to an outdoor space already outfitted with picnic tables and a soundstage has been a “complete game-changer” for the Lee + White tenant. During quarantine, the patio bar served as a pickup station for takeout, canned beer, wine and tiki drinks to go.

Most recently, the tiki hut has morphed into an oasis of cool, and a beacon for unsuspecting Beltline-goers. (Don’t miss the adjacent bog garden, a stunning repository of native plants built and maintained by Trees Atlanta and surrounded by a boardwalk.)

But what of the food?

When Best End opened in September 2019, with Burke as executive chef, oysters, charcuterie and some fancier plates were on the menu, alongside elevated pub pleasers like nachos, wings and burgers. Naturally, the victuals were crafted to complement brewer Tim Schiavone’s many lagers, ales, Pilsners, IPAs and stouts. Cocktails were always part of the package. The restaurant even had a full-time pastry chef.

So even before COVID-19, Burke realized his cup had runneth over. When Best End came back after a three-month shutdown, it was with Bosnia native Adi Komic in charge of the kitchen. When I heard Komic was curating Balkan-style cheese and charcuterie to serve in a beer-hall setting, I knew I had to investigate.

So on a recent Saturday, as the crowd spilled outside for a music event, we found ourselves in the taproom, trying to decide what to eat and drink. I must say the present-day convention of accessing menus via bar code can be overwhelming when there are separate lists for grub, brews, and cocktails and wine. But we managed somehow.

With its Bosnian influences, Best End Brewing’s food differs from that of most Atlanta breweries. Shown here (clockwise from the top) are the charcuterie board, Balkan burger, cauliflower nuggets and shopska salad. (Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Wendell Brock

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Credit: Wendell Brock

The Balkan Burger — aka pljeskavica — is a loaded affair consisting of two smashed beef patties with American cheese, Bosnian cheese, pickles and sauce. Just the thing to enjoy with a Lack of Fokus hazy rye IPA or Anxiety Pils. The flimsy fries were a bit of a wash (next time, I’ll try the tots), but the kitchen outdoes itself on the sauces. I count 10, and I can endorse the smoky ketchup, blue cheese, and white. The condiments also can be paired with wings and the super-tasty vegetarian Cauli Nuggs (fire-roasted and batter-fried cauliflower). Wings and nuggs can be had in five flavors; we liked the lemon pepper.

Komic’s charcuterie spread was beautiful and, given its Eastern European pedigree, a bit of an adventure. The boards come in two sizes ($36 and $50); our smaller version was more than adequate.

Best End Brewing chef Adi Komic hails from Bosnia, and his Balkan homeland influences his charcuterie board. (Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Wendell Brock

icon to expand image

Credit: Wendell Brock

I loved the suho meso — dense, chewy, cured beef neck with an intensely smoky flavor — and the sudzuk, a peppery Balkan sausage best chased with beer. (Might I suggest Old Man of the Mountain?) Our board came with creamy Bosnian feta, cubes of aged sheep’s milk kashkaval from Bulgaria, and Danish blue. Among the nibbles were olives, delightful pickled jalapenos, and a trio of condiments: rose-hip jam; house-made ajvar (roasted red pepper and eggplant); and whole-grain mustard. Instead of bread or crackers for spreading, Komic supplies ustipci, Bosnian fry bread with a pouffy, doughnut-y texture. It’s rich!

On the lighter side, I loved the shopska salad, a generous bowl of simply dressed chopped tomato, cucumber, onion, pepper, parsley, and more of that luscious Bosnian feta. It’s the kind of salad you can find around the Mediterranean, from Israel to Turkey, and quite a showcase for summer produce.

Alas, we were too full to try any pizza, which Burke describes as Bosnian focaccia (thick and fluffy with a crusty bottom), and too beery to try a cocktail. And now they tell me a new collaborative menu will be rolled out in September, featuring food by Komic, Burke and sous chef Daria Dunn. This just gives me an excuse to return. I’ve got tiki drinks and about a dozen more beers to try.


Menu: bar food with Bosnian flair

Alcohol: beer, wine, cocktails

What I ordered: Balkan burger with fries, cauliflower nuggets, full charcuterie board, shopska salad, fries with beer queso. Anxiety Pils, Lack of Fokus, Pina Coladaburg, Milksteak, Old Man of the Mountain.

Service options: dine-in, takeout, and delivery via website

Mask policy: yes for staff; unvaccinated guests asked to wear masks

Address, phone: 1036 White St. SW, Atlanta; 470-391-0999

Hours: 12-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 12-8 p.m. Sundays


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