Patio Pick: Drawbar is latest addition to local hotel dining scene

The terrace at Drawbar, the restaurant and lounge at the new Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, offers a view of Midtown Atlanta.
Photo by Caleb Jones Photography

caption arrowCaption
The terrace at Drawbar, the restaurant and lounge at the new Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, offers a view of Midtown Atlanta. Photo by Caleb Jones Photography

New watering hole at Bellyard Hotel offers casual shared plates, outdoor terrace with Midtown view

If you had to rank hotel amenities, what would be tops on your priority list? A pool? Free breakfast, Wi-Fi or parking?

C’mon! What about a full-service restaurant with a bar — and an outdoor terrace with a fine view of the city, to boot? After all, food, beverage and ambience are what attract even locals to hang out at hotels.

ExploreMore great Atlanta restaurant patios
caption arrowCaption
The interior of Drawbar, the new restaurant at the Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, has high, industrial ceilings and plenty of elbow room. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

The interior of Drawbar, the new restaurant at the Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, has high, industrial ceilings and plenty of elbow room. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

caption arrowCaption
The interior of Drawbar, the new restaurant at the Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, has high, industrial ceilings and plenty of elbow room. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Drawbar is one of the latest additions to the local hotel dining scene. Located on the third floor of the Bellyard Hotel at the Interlock, the newly opened $450 million mixed-use property at Howell Mill Road and 14th Street in West Midtown, Drawbar’s modern digs are expansive. There’s plenty of cushy lounge seating — with chair and sofa arrangements for parties large and small, a long bar with belly and elbow room for a dozen drinkers, and a breezy, flora-filled terrace that offers a vantage point of the Midtown skyline.

Drawbar’s menu, designed by executive chef Christina Wai, is as casual and contemporary as the space. It’s easily scanned, with just 14 dishes that range from snacks like fries with a black garlic aioli and some Fat Kid sauce (aka a McDonald’s Big Mac copycat condiment) for dipping to entrees like a miso-glazed salmon over sauteed veggies. The majority, however, fall in the shared plates category.

ExplorePatio Pick: Falling Rabbit brings elegant fine dining to downtown Duluth

caption arrowCaption
Pimento cheese-filled arancini offer some of the most flavorful bites at Drawbar. Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Pimento cheese-filled arancini offer some of the most flavorful bites at Drawbar.
Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

caption arrowCaption
Pimento cheese-filled arancini offer some of the most flavorful bites at Drawbar. Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Wai, who most recently worked at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel, described the bar-centric menu as “a mish-mash of everything” when we talked on the phone a few days after my visit. “I drew a little bit from the South. I drew a lot from my background and how I ate at the dining room table at my grandmother’s house, how I ate at favorite Caribbean and Latin places,” said the first-generation Chinese American of inspirations for her menu at Drawbar.

Drawbar’s dishes are familiar and flavor combinations mostly play it safe, as you’d expect from a destination that looks to please the masses. They are also highly pairable with wine, beer or a cocktail and at a fair price point (smaller plates average between $9-$12; entrees cap at $25 for the grilled chimichurri rib-eye).

You’ll find thick, crispy disks of fried zucchini with a cooling cucumber yogurt sauce for dipping. There’s the top-selling, head-on Crispy Hot Shrimp flecked with fried pickles and chile rings. And the dish that has conquered seemingly every restaurant menu: shishito peppers.

ExplorePatio Pick: The show goes on at City Winery
caption arrowCaption
Drawbar offers a variety of shareable dishes, including blistered shishito peppers in a saffron aioli. (Courtesy of Caleb Jones Photography)

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

Drawbar offers a variety of shareable dishes, including blistered shishito peppers in a saffron aioli. (Courtesy of Caleb Jones Photography)

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

caption arrowCaption
Drawbar offers a variety of shareable dishes, including blistered shishito peppers in a saffron aioli. (Courtesy of Caleb Jones Photography)

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

“When I am sitting at a bar, when I see shishito peppers on a menu, I don’t care how it is. I just want to order it,” said Wai. When I ordered it at Drawbar, the blistered peppers arrived with nice dark bubbly patches. But, apart from its bright yellow color, the saffron aioli lacked personality.

One of the most flavor-filled bites comes from pimento cheese-filled arancini. “Who doesn’t like cheese and fried stuff?” quipped Wai. The golden nuggets sit on a colorful bed of chowchow whose briny, zesty flavor cuts through the fattiness of the fried balls. The teeny tiny dice of the chowchow was a reminder that the kitchen, while playful, pays attention to technique. The fine dice serves a purpose beyond a clean presentation: “When you run the arancini through it, it’s not dangling off of it,” Wai said.

The Coca-Cola Short Rib Toast is a nice little nod to the hometown soda, although the shredded meat was on the dry side. Far juicier were the trio of sliders holding peach-cider braised pork, herbed goat cheese and more of that applause-worthy chowchow.

There’s more applause in order. According to Wai, 75% of the ingredients are sourced from Georgia growers and producers. For a hotel restaurant to support the local food community to that extent is commendable. Even more striking is that the back of house is executing as a skeleton crew with just Wai, a sous chef and a kitchen supervisor. The trio has worked together previously at multiple other properties, which helps with synergy, commented Wai.

The front of house is similarly understaffed, which, understandably, can mean lag times in service. During my visit, I watched servers attentively cover for one another whether refilling water bottles, taking orders or running food. If there’s a bright side, noted Wai, the staffing issue has “really created a teamwork environment. We spend a lot more time with the people we work with than our own families sometimes.”

Keep that in mind as you head to this new hotel restaurant to spend time with your family or friends sharing a round of cold drinks, a spread of hot plates — and an unimpeded view of Midtown.

caption arrowCaption
The terrace at Drawbar, the restaurant and lounge at the new Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, offers a view of Midtown Atlanta. (Courtesy of Caleb Jones Photography)

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

The terrace at Drawbar, the restaurant and lounge at the new Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, offers a view of Midtown Atlanta. (Courtesy of Caleb Jones Photography)

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

caption arrowCaption
The terrace at Drawbar, the restaurant and lounge at the new Bellyard Hotel in West Midtown, offers a view of Midtown Atlanta. (Courtesy of Caleb Jones Photography)

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

Credit: Caleb Jones Photography

DRAWBAR AT THE BELLYARD HOTEL

Menu: Contemporary American cuisine, with focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients

Alcohol: Cocktails, wine and beer

What I ordered: Polenta fries, battered zucchini chips, charred shishito peppers, pimento cheese arancini, pulled pork sliders, frites, Coca-Cola Short Rib Toast, miso-glazed salmon

Service options: Dine-in and takeout

Mask policy: Not mandatory.

Address, phone: 1 Interlock Ave. NW, Atlanta; 404-806-8333

Hours: Breakfast: 6:30-10:30 a.m. Mondays-Fridays, 7 a.m.-noon Saturdays-Sundays; Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays; Dinner: 4-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 4-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays.

Website: bellyardhotel.com/dine/drawbar

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.

About the Author

Editors' Picks