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First Look: Escobar

Doors open in Castleberry Hill for rapper 2 Chainz's first bar and restaurant

Photo credit:
Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s notorious legacy lives on almost 24 years after troops mowed him down on a rooftop in a blitz of bullets. Escobar, the same man who took his nine-year-old son to visit one of his cocaine factories, is still considered a family man in some circles; a man who used his mounting wealth to lift his own family and others out of poverty. Though far less gangster in his commercially accessible, jubilant rap hits, and open preference for weed over nose candy, Tauheed Epps aka 2 Chainz spreads his wealth similarly, gifting one family of 11 a house last January and another a wheelchair-accessible van several months later.

Now, Chainz gifts the city of Atlanta his first eatery: Escobar Restaurant and Tapas.

The Castleberry Hill spot, nestled two doors down from City of Ink in a building Chainz owns, opened doors in early December. Its innards house low-slung seating via minimalist, clear chairs and clean white benches. A thick aroma of golden fried fish and sweet hookah smoke hangs throughout. A gold Benz DJ booth juts out from a far corner, its headlights firing up after 10 p.m. to alternate blinking in lieu of a disco ball across a formidable dance floor. Pop art portraits of the late Escobar line royal blue walls — including a spin on his infamous, shit-eating grinning mug shot — alongside an enormous painting of 2 Chainz himself.

No value assignedEscobar is just what the neighborhood needed, according to co-owner Mychel "Snoop" Dillard. “Peters Street is sorta known for nightlife but it isn't known for food,” she says. “So we wanted to be able to bring that element to the block."

Escobar isn’t Dillard’s first rodeo — it’s actually her third, a dining-centric follow-up to Downtown's The Hookah Hideaway. At Escobar, sizeable hookah and cocktail menus take a backseat to the real focus: focus. The restaurant opens for brunch and lunch at noon (11 a.m. on Sundays) and serves dinner till at least midnight.

The dinner menu leans heavily toward decadence (a theme perhaps best mirrored in its single-stall, ultra-luxe bathroom, featuring a space-age sink with gold fixtures, a robot trash can, and a mirror with Kylie Jenner-level selfie lighting. If it ever becomes available for rent, please re-direct all future mailings). Chef de cuisine DePhon Robinson's background includes catering film sets and cooking for celebrities like Gabrielle Union and Queen Latifah.

No value assignedEscobar’s seafood especially shines. Twin lobster tails ($30) — available grilled or fried — arrived neatly plated over a bed of creamy stone-ground cheese grits, its richness cut by a slightly spicy tomato coulis. Escobar crab cake ($12) fuses real lump crab beneath a shell of light breading injected with zesty dijon mustard vin blanc. The mustard brown sugar salmon ($17) somewhat disappoints, its flavor largely fishy with a splash of what tastes like actual pancake syrup, though the garlicky spinach served on its side offers fresh refuge. The macaroni and cheese ($6) marks another surprising home run. A crispy carapace gives way to delicate noodles swimming in a buttery cheese blend and orgasm is almost met.

Calamari ($9) reigns king of the tapas menu. Tender rings of meat have resistance, ensconced in salty, peppery breading and served up with Escobar’s signature remoulade, making it a no-brainer pairing with a sugary cocktail.

Because Escobar’s cocktails are just that: a sweet tooth’s dream, poured heavy. A stormy night fish bowl ($22 for small, $40 for large) marries smooth bourbon with fruity brightness by way of black raspberry liqueur, raspberries, lime juice, and cranberry. Any visit to Escobar would be remiss without what’s presumably the rapper formerly known as Tity Boi’s favorite: 1 + 1 = 2 Chainz ($12). The potion mixes green tea and honey with Hennessy. If this sounds like the cocktail a pseudo hippie undergrad would make with found ingredients while emptying a dorm room at the end of spring semester, that’s because that’s exactly how it tastes. An earthy base meets a syrupy, medicinal twang to create a strange nostalgia. But this is what appears to be the house cocktail, and who are you to question the man behind the masterpiece known as “Birthday Song”? 2 Chainz clearly knows better than all of us.

No value assignedThough Escobar offers plenty of table seating, the restaurant is best experienced hugging the bar. It’s a spot with a 360-degree vantage point to absorb the golden accents, celebratory atmosphere, and bumping soundsystem laying on hits zig-zagging across 2 Chainz’s discography — a downright charming detail, especially considering specifics of the night Creative Loafing visited. Only 20 minutes into a two-hour dinner, the 6-foot-5 artist and entrepreneur slunk out from the kitchen to take a seat beneath his own portrait where he held court for the remainder of our stay.

2 Chainz is far from the first Atlanta rapper to open a hometown restaurant. Sadly, the city has a long history of hyped spots that quickly shutter (RIP Ludacris’s Straits and T.I.’s original Scales 925). Dillard says Escobar won’t follow suit because the dope spot isn’t resting laurels on Chainz’s rap legacy.

No value assigned"Of course he's a big part of it,” she adds. “He's gonna help us get that grand slam in the beginning but that's not going to be something that carries the life of the restaurant." Dillard praises Chainz’s spirit of collaboration and lack of micro-managing. When first incubating the concept, she says, the rapper “was like, 'Oh, no. We need to do this together.’ He's a really creative person. He's really different.”

Considering his cool joggers and the positioning we witnessed — sitting beneath a behemoth painting of himself, quietly hunched over a sticker-splashed laptop, presumably working — such a claim is supported. Yeah, 2 Chainz is different. And so is Escobar.

Now, please enjoy this just-dropped video for "Good Drank," featuring Gucci Mane and Quavo and filmed on the premises.





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In another, more grim vein, Friendsgiving presents the only realistic alternative to the original for some. Thanksgiving falls with a heavy family-centric focus that equates to that of Mother's and Father's Day combined, but on steroids. A quick Instagram scroll reveals scores of selfies with grandparents. Twitter gets stuffed harder than the turkey with authentic dad joke retweets. It's enough to make someone with a remotely shaky family life feel dizzy. Friendsgiving may offer a tryptophan I.V. drip without the painful family element.

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So we practice. We gather in hoards along a Pinterest-perfect table, carefully but casually placing a glass dish on an unsuspecting corner of woodgrain real estate. All food items contain more than three ingredients even the cranberry sauce (somehow, presumably). The cocktail cart carries nary a bottle of Three Buck Chuck or tallboys. The host may or may not be ladling out a special, complex cocktail brewed up specifically for the occasion. Conversation balances a careful line between cultured and earnest. No one breaks out a bong or invites contestants to a bonus round of keg stands. Usually. You know, we do as adults do civilized and shit.

The parameters alone for adult consideration keep pushing up as we, ourselves, age. At 11, 30 sounded like a faraway concept synonymous with adulthood a starched figure with perfect posture, an understanding of foreign affairs, and a pristine pecan pie prowess. At 27, 30 sounds a lot more realistic: hard to define in blanket terms, ranging wildly from slouching, blas̩ bartender subsisting on oatmeal to the CEO with high blood pressure and Julia Child memorized. The real "adult" definition is more likely a muddled mixture of the two with one unifying quality: the hunch that we're all pretending that 30 or any other age doesn't grant us sagacious clarity or precision.

Because more often than not, the cranberry sauce originated in cylindrical form. Sometimes, that sauce is owning itself in presentation; sliced in thick, rounded hunks, crimped ridges glinting in IKEA candles' glow.

At 58, at least when I asked my dad, 30 is nothing. Adulthood, too, is a nebulous, unspoken guise we all slip into. "When do you finally feel adult?" I asked my grandmother last Thanksgiving. "When do you get it?" She laughed, scooping a forkful of buttery mashed potatoes. "When you figure that out," she said, "you let me know."

Maybe we'll all have to keep practicing."
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Enter Friendsgiving. For the uninitiated, Friendsgiving is a friends-only, potluck-style treatment of the original holiday. Typically, it's celebrated just before or just after actual Thanksgiving. In the flurry of social media-spurred pseudo-holidays like friendaversaries and International Mens Day, it seems easy to scoff something as ridiculous-sounding as Friendsgiving right out of its very real existence; a desperate hunt for elusive, validating "likes." But there may be some meat at Friendsgiving's root.

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In another, more grim vein, Friendsgiving presents the only realistic alternative to the original for some. Thanksgiving falls with a heavy family-centric focus that equates to that of Mother's and Father's Day combined, but on steroids. A quick Instagram scroll reveals scores of selfies with grandparents. Twitter gets stuffed harder than the turkey with authentic dad joke retweets. It's enough to make someone with a remotely shaky family life feel dizzy. Friendsgiving may offer a tryptophan I.V. drip without the painful family element.

However, Friendsgiving reigns most popular among the mid-20s to early-30s crowd. It's the cusp of when many people embark on creating their own nuclear family traditions (perhaps polishing a menagerie of their own dad jokes); a last gasp of extended adolescence in which it's common to favor friendships over family. More than anything, though, it feels like a dress rehearsal for this adulthood thing we're taught to fear early on. Despite the fact by this age many of us grasp 401Ks, "cohabitate" with a romantic partner, and have been doing a lot of responsible heavy lifting for a while, we forget to turn if a stranger addresses us by "ma'am" or "sir." That's our parents not us. Not yet.

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The parameters alone for adult consideration keep pushing up as we, ourselves, age. At 11, 30 sounded like a faraway concept synonymous with adulthood a starched figure with perfect posture, an understanding of foreign affairs, and a pristine pecan pie prowess. At 27, 30 sounds a lot more realistic: hard to define in blanket terms, ranging wildly from slouching, blas̩ bartender subsisting on oatmeal to the CEO with high blood pressure and Julia Child memorized. The real "adult" definition is more likely a muddled mixture of the two with one unifying quality: the hunch that we're all pretending that 30 or any other age doesn't grant us sagacious clarity or precision.

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At 58, at least when I asked my dad, 30 is nothing. Adulthood, too, is a nebulous, unspoken guise we all slip into. "When do you finally feel adult?" I asked my grandmother last Thanksgiving. "When do you get it?" She laughed, scooping a forkful of buttery mashed potatoes. "When you figure that out," she said, "you let me know."

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In another, more grim vein, Friendsgiving presents the only realistic alternative to the original for some. Thanksgiving falls with a heavy family-centric focus that equates to that of Mother's and Father's Day combined, but on steroids. A quick Instagram scroll reveals scores of selfies with grandparents. Twitter gets stuffed harder than the turkey with authentic dad joke retweets. It's enough to make someone with a remotely shaky family life feel dizzy. Friendsgiving may offer a tryptophan I.V. drip without the painful family element.

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The parameters alone for adult consideration keep pushing up as we, ourselves, age. At 11, 30 sounded like a faraway concept synonymous with adulthood a starched figure with perfect posture, an understanding of foreign affairs, and a pristine pecan pie prowess. At 27, 30 sounds a lot more realistic: hard to define in blanket terms, ranging wildly from slouching, blas̩ bartender subsisting on oatmeal to the CEO with high blood pressure and Julia Child memorized. The real "adult" definition is more likely a muddled mixture of the two with one unifying quality: the hunch that we're all pretending that 30 or any other age doesn't grant us sagacious clarity or precision.

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At 58, at least when I asked my dad, 30 is nothing. Adulthood, too, is a nebulous, unspoken guise we all slip into. "When do you finally feel adult?" I asked my grandmother last Thanksgiving. "When do you get it?" She laughed, scooping a forkful of buttery mashed potatoes. "When you figure that out," she said, "you let me know."

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Article

Friday November 17, 2017 06:45 pm EST
Thanksgiving champions a lot of great ideas, namely stretchy pants and testing said stretchy pants' stretching abilities. (Let's focus less on the holiday's troubling origin.) It's a whole lot of nutmeg, socially acceptable day-drinking with family members, going to bed at 8 p.m., etc. I don't even hate the influx of decorative gourds. It's a secular holiday so wonderful it might as well be... | more...
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  string(5711) "There's no question that businesses along the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail, like Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall and King of Pop's brick-and-mortar, have been enjoying wild success. For better or for worse, it was only a matter of time before similar eateries popped up along the forthcoming Westside Trail. Beltline spokeswoman Jenny Odom told Curbed officials are "aiming for September" to officially open the new stretch. Ready and waiting at the Beltline's zero-mile marker across Hopkins Street from Gordon White Park in historic West End is Lean Draft House.

Since opening June 16, the beer-heavy taco joint has maintained a dull roar of hot bodies, and for good reason. Lean starts to fill a bit of a dining-and-drinking void in the Southwest neighborhood. Though the area is famous for transcendental vegan and raw food, there aren't many bars around that don't necessitate jumping on the interstate. In addition to 20 beers on tap all of them local, including the coveted Creature Comforts' Tropicalia which was never out during any of my six or seven visits thus far Lean features a stacked cocktail menu and full bar. House specialities are $9 each and include the Jon Snow with herb-infused gin and egg whites, the Basil Lean with whiskey and angostura, and the Exotica Vol. 4, a spicy-sweet blend of pepper tequila, lime, mezcal, hibiscus syrup and aperol. It's a welcome, wet oasis in a neighborhood where previously, denizens didn't have a lot of other options for drinking outside their own porch.



However, the new watering hole is still undergoing the occasionally painful growing pain, namely when attached to its identity and aesthetic. Large blue umbrellas loom over bench-style seating on Lean's porch, making way for entering the cinderblock structure, vigas jutting out just below the room. On a recent visit, iconic electronic track "Sandstorm" blared from outdoor speakers. Inside, vintage European motorcycles dot a wall with related paraphernalia sprinkled among shelves and such. Lean also retails motorcycle apparel and gear, and screens Atlanta United games at the bar. 

It sounds like a bit of a clash because it is. While it's great that Lean serves local brews and took the initiative to hire within immediate neighborhoods, it doesn't seem like the bar has a tight handle on its own identity.

With new restaurants, it's always safe to assume early days are experimental, with menu items and cadence shifting to sate whoever ends up being the main clientele. In this instance, the latter is diverse every day; a mixture of West End residents as well as diners hailing from Adair Park and even further east. Those who predicted the spot would be a beacon solely for young white homeowners new to the area have been proven wrong. There are families, single diners, large groups of middle-aged people there to watch the game, and so on.



An early iteration of the menu featured the delicious and filling Power Up Salad ($7), with ingredients like edamame, kale, chickpeas and queso fresco, all tossed in a fresh citrus vinaigrette. Since then, it's been renamed the Best End Salad, upgraded with slightly more luxurious items like avocado and shrimp, and repriced to $12. There's also a tostada salad with ground beef ($12) and a beet and kale salad for $9. 

The tacos Lean's main attraction past its lengthy beer list are available in seven varieties, including two vegetarian options (one of which, the cauliflower for $3.50, is vegan). Served in no-frills metal trays lined with wax paper, tacos are priced individually. They automatically come ensconced in warm corn tortillas, though flour are available for a small upcharge.

The Nashville hot chicken taco ($3.50) comes smothered in a spicy, buffalo-esque sauce that neatly skates a thick fried breading, though the chicken itself is dense and a little dry. Ultimately and unfortunately, dryness permeates most of Lean's tacos. The Korean-fried cauliflower, topped with a laudable dollop of vegan kimchi, could still use a sauce of sorts, or perhaps a little guac for lubrication. The fish al pastor ($4) and shrimp ($4) suffer similar fates; they taste fresh and thoughtful but perhaps a little rushed in execution. The avocado taco ($3.50) is a stand-out exception, thick slices of medium-firm avocado tempura-battered and fried, joined by red cabbage, cotija and cilantro salsa; it packs a zesty bite with some malleability. Sometimes it's a little tough to justify Lean's price tags for the quality, but for we locals it's kinda like buying a bagel at the airport a sort of convenience fee, a toll for skipping the jump onto I-20 for dinner.



The yuca fries ($5), salty and served with a side of chili lime mojo mayo, pair well with a crisp draught pour; an ideal snack for semi-late night munchies (Lean closes at 11 p.m. every night besides Sunday, when they are closed all day). Pro tip: Order the queso ($6, or $7 with chorizo), but dip the fries instead of the chips. You're welcome. 

Lean is early into its tenure and apt to keep evolving. For now, things look promising: it's an early adapter to a soon-to-be popping area, catering to thirsty as well as snacky folks, and even nodding to the sweeping subway tile trend in both of its single-stall bathrooms.

It could be an easy fix to upgrade for Lean. It already has a lot of heart. The staff is kind and helpful and stools stay occupied. Add a few table sauces or salsas, screw a couple more purse hooks at the bar, and for the love of Atlanta rethink the standard soundtrack. Then? Well, Lean Draft House could elegantly glide into that heroic haven neighbors have been hoping for.

600 Hopkins St. S.W., 404-254-0987"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(7350) "There's no question that businesses along the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail, like Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall and King of Pop's brick-and-mortar, have been enjoying wild success. For better or for worse, it was only a matter of time before similar eateries popped up along the forthcoming Westside Trail. Beltline spokeswoman Jenny Odom told ''Curbed'' officials are "aiming for September" to officially open the new stretch. Ready and waiting at the Beltline's zero-mile marker across Hopkins Street from Gordon White Park in historic West End is Lean Draft House.

Since opening June 16, the beer-heavy taco joint has maintained a dull roar of hot bodies, and for good reason. Lean starts to fill a bit of a dining-and-drinking void in the Southwest neighborhood. Though the area is famous for transcendental [http://www.creativeloafing.com/food-drink/article/20855768/meatless-in-the-west-end|vegan and raw food], there aren't many bars around that don't necessitate jumping on the interstate. In addition to 20 beers on tap all of them local, including the coveted Creature Comforts' Tropicalia which was never out during any of my six or seven visits thus far Lean features a stacked cocktail menu and full bar. House specialities are $9 each and include the Jon Snow with herb-infused gin and egg whites, the Basil Lean with whiskey and angostura, and the Exotica Vol. 4, a spicy-sweet blend of pepper tequila, lime, mezcal, hibiscus syrup and aperol. It's a welcome, wet oasis in a neighborhood where previously, denizens didn't have a lot of other options for drinking outside their own porch.

{HTML()}

Firstlook1714zzzGAME OF HERBS: The Jon Snow cocktail features infused rosemary and cardamom gin, egg whites, bitters, lemon and honey | Joeff Davis{HTML} However, the new watering hole is still undergoing the occasionally painful growing pain, namely when attached to its identity and aesthetic. Large blue umbrellas loom over bench-style seating on Lean's porch, making way for entering the cinderblock structure, vigas jutting out just below the room. On a recent visit, iconic electronic track "Sandstorm" blared from outdoor speakers. Inside, vintage European motorcycles dot a wall with related paraphernalia sprinkled among shelves and such. Lean also retails motorcycle apparel and gear, and screens Atlanta United games at the bar. It sounds like a bit of a clash because it is. While it's great that Lean serves local brews and took the initiative to hire within immediate neighborhoods, it doesn't seem like the bar has a tight handle on its own identity. With new restaurants, it's always safe to assume early days are experimental, with menu items and cadence shifting to sate whoever ends up being the main clientele. In this instance, the latter is diverse every day; a mixture of West End residents as well as diners hailing from Adair Park and even further east. Those who predicted the spot would be a beacon solely for young white homeowners new to the area have been proven wrong. There are families, single diners, large groups of middle-aged people there to watch the game, and so on. {HTML()}Firstlook1914WHOLE HOG: There is a retail section at the Lean Draft House featuring motorcycles and apparel for sale. | Joeff Davis{HTML} An early iteration of the menu featured the delicious and filling Power Up Salad ($7), with ingredients like edamame, kale, chickpeas and queso fresco, all tossed in a fresh citrus vinaigrette. Since then, it's been renamed the Best End Salad, upgraded with slightly more luxurious items like avocado and shrimp, and repriced to $12. There's also a tostada salad with ground beef ($12) and a beet and kale salad for $9. The tacos Lean's main attraction past its lengthy beer list are available in seven varieties, including two vegetarian options (one of which, the cauliflower for $3.50, is vegan). Served in no-frills metal trays lined with wax paper, tacos are priced individually. They automatically come ensconced in warm corn tortillas, though flour are available for a small upcharge. The Nashville hot chicken taco ($3.50) comes smothered in a spicy, buffalo-esque sauce that neatly skates a thick fried breading, though the chicken itself is dense and a little dry. Ultimately and unfortunately, dryness permeates most of Lean's tacos. The Korean-fried cauliflower, topped with a laudable dollop of vegan kimchi, could still use a sauce of sorts, or perhaps a little guac for lubrication. The fish al pastor ($4) and shrimp ($4) suffer similar fates; they taste fresh and thoughtful but perhaps a little rushed in execution. The avocado taco ($3.50) is a stand-out exception, thick slices of medium-firm avocado tempura-battered and fried, joined by red cabbage, cotija and cilantro salsa; it packs a zesty bite with some malleability. Sometimes it's a little tough to justify Lean's price tags for the quality, but for we locals it's kinda like buying a bagel at the airport a sort of convenience fee, a toll for skipping the jump onto I-20 for dinner. {HTML()}Firstlook1414LET'S TACO 'BOUT IT: Lean's taco selection includes the steak asada (left) and the Nashville hot chicken. | Joeff Davis{HTML} The yuca fries ($5), salty and served with a side of chili lime mojo mayo, pair well with a crisp draught pour; an ideal snack for semi-late night munchies (Lean closes at 11 p.m. every night besides Sunday, when they are closed all day). Pro tip: Order the queso ($6, or $7 with chorizo), but dip the fries instead of the chips. You're welcome. Lean is early into its tenure and apt to keep evolving. For now, things look promising: it's an early adapter to a soon-to-be popping area, catering to thirsty as well as snacky folks, and even nodding to the sweeping subway tile trend in both of its single-stall bathrooms. It could be an easy fix to upgrade for Lean. It already has a lot of heart. The staff is kind and helpful and stools stay occupied. Add a few table sauces or salsas, screw a couple more purse hooks at the bar, and for the love of Atlanta rethink the standard soundtrack. Then? Well, Lean Draft House could elegantly glide into that heroic haven neighbors have been hoping for. ''600 Hopkins St. S.W., 404-254-0987''" ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_creation_date"]=> string(25) "2018-02-02T20:04:58+00:00" ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_modification_date"]=> string(25) "2018-05-09T23:59:23+00:00" ["tracker_field_photos"]=> string(4) "5382" ["tracker_field_contentPhotoCredit"]=> string(11) "Joeff Davis" ["tracker_field_contentPhotoTitle"]=> string(90) "TRAILHEAD: Lean Draft House sits at the zero-mile marker of the Beltline's Westside Trail." 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For better or for worse, it was only a matter of time before similar eateries popped up along the forthcoming Westside Trail. Beltline spokeswoman Jenny Odom told Curbed officials are "aiming for September" to officially open the new stretch. Ready and waiting at the Beltline's zero-mile marker across Hopkins Street from Gordon White Park in historic West End is Lean Draft House. Since opening June 16, the beer-heavy taco joint has maintained a dull roar of hot bodies, and for good reason. Lean starts to fill a bit of a dining-and-drinking void in the Southwest neighborhood. Though the area is famous for transcendental vegan and raw food, there aren't many bars around that don't necessitate jumping on the interstate. In addition to 20 beers on tap all of them local, including the coveted Creature Comforts' Tropicalia which was never out during any of my six or seven visits thus far Lean features a stacked cocktail menu and full bar. House specialities are $9 each and include the Jon Snow with herb-infused gin and egg whites, the Basil Lean with whiskey and angostura, and the Exotica Vol. 4, a spicy-sweet blend of pepper tequila, lime, mezcal, hibiscus syrup and aperol. It's a welcome, wet oasis in a neighborhood where previously, denizens didn't have a lot of other options for drinking outside their own porch. However, the new watering hole is still undergoing the occasionally painful growing pain, namely when attached to its identity and aesthetic. Large blue umbrellas loom over bench-style seating on Lean's porch, making way for entering the cinderblock structure, vigas jutting out just below the room. On a recent visit, iconic electronic track "Sandstorm" blared from outdoor speakers. Inside, vintage European motorcycles dot a wall with related paraphernalia sprinkled among shelves and such. Lean also retails motorcycle apparel and gear, and screens Atlanta United games at the bar. It sounds like a bit of a clash because it is. While it's great that Lean serves local brews and took the initiative to hire within immediate neighborhoods, it doesn't seem like the bar has a tight handle on its own identity. With new restaurants, it's always safe to assume early days are experimental, with menu items and cadence shifting to sate whoever ends up being the main clientele. In this instance, the latter is diverse every day; a mixture of West End residents as well as diners hailing from Adair Park and even further east. Those who predicted the spot would be a beacon solely for young white homeowners new to the area have been proven wrong. There are families, single diners, large groups of middle-aged people there to watch the game, and so on. An early iteration of the menu featured the delicious and filling Power Up Salad ($7), with ingredients like edamame, kale, chickpeas and queso fresco, all tossed in a fresh citrus vinaigrette. Since then, it's been renamed the Best End Salad, upgraded with slightly more luxurious items like avocado and shrimp, and repriced to $12. There's also a tostada salad with ground beef ($12) and a beet and kale salad for $9. The tacos Lean's main attraction past its lengthy beer list are available in seven varieties, including two vegetarian options (one of which, the cauliflower for $3.50, is vegan). Served in no-frills metal trays lined with wax paper, tacos are priced individually. They automatically come ensconced in warm corn tortillas, though flour are available for a small upcharge. The Nashville hot chicken taco ($3.50) comes smothered in a spicy, buffalo-esque sauce that neatly skates a thick fried breading, though the chicken itself is dense and a little dry. Ultimately and unfortunately, dryness permeates most of Lean's tacos. The Korean-fried cauliflower, topped with a laudable dollop of vegan kimchi, could still use a sauce of sorts, or perhaps a little guac for lubrication. The fish al pastor ($4) and shrimp ($4) suffer similar fates; they taste fresh and thoughtful but perhaps a little rushed in execution. The avocado taco ($3.50) is a stand-out exception, thick slices of medium-firm avocado tempura-battered and fried, joined by red cabbage, cotija and cilantro salsa; it packs a zesty bite with some malleability. Sometimes it's a little tough to justify Lean's price tags for the quality, but for we locals it's kinda like buying a bagel at the airport a sort of convenience fee, a toll for skipping the jump onto I-20 for dinner. The yuca fries ($5), salty and served with a side of chili lime mojo mayo, pair well with a crisp draught pour; an ideal snack for semi-late night munchies (Lean closes at 11 p.m. every night besides Sunday, when they are closed all day). Pro tip: Order the queso ($6, or $7 with chorizo), but dip the fries instead of the chips. You're welcome. Lean is early into its tenure and apt to keep evolving. For now, things look promising: it's an early adapter to a soon-to-be popping area, catering to thirsty as well as snacky folks, and even nodding to the sweeping subway tile trend in both of its single-stall bathrooms. It could be an easy fix to upgrade for Lean. It already has a lot of heart. The staff is kind and helpful and stools stay occupied. Add a few table sauces or salsas, screw a couple more purse hooks at the bar, and for the love of Atlanta rethink the standard soundtrack. Then? Well, Lean Draft House could elegantly glide into that heroic haven neighbors have been hoping for. 600 Hopkins St. S.W., 404-254-0987 Joeff Davis TRAILHEAD: Lean Draft House sits at the zero-mile marker of the Beltline's Westside Trail. 20868003 http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/07/Firstlook1_4_14.5971091c52dba.png First Look: Lean Draft House " ["score"]=> float(0) ["_index"]=> string(21) "atlantawiki_tiki_main" ["objectlink"]=> string(210) "First Look: Lean Draft House" ["photos"]=> string(151) "Firstlook1 10 14.597109162a4bf " ["desc"]=> string(105) "West End gets a motorcycle-themed watering hole (with tacos!) at the Beltline's zero-mile marker" ["eventDate"]=> string(105) "West End gets a motorcycle-themed watering hole (with tacos!) at the Beltline's zero-mile marker" ["noads"]=> string(10) "y" }

Article

Tuesday July 18, 2017 08:47 pm EDT
West End gets a motorcycle-themed watering hole (with tacos!) at the Beltline's zero-mile marker | more...
array(78) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(41) "David Perdue: The social justice funnyman"
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  string(52) "Local comedian uses his platform in Atlanta for good"
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  string(52) "Local comedian uses his platform in Atlanta for good"
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  string(3664) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22586d670b57ab46235978719d%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Metro Atlanta native David Perdue has an immediate warmth about him. He gives firm handshakes and isn’t afraid of eye contact. Perdue’s unwavering grin and infectious laugh cancel out his intimidating height. Dimples and a face begging proof of ID in any drinking establishment only further endear the comic. But above all else, his candid delivery on and off stage, combined with unwavering optimism, makes Perdue a magnetic person.Perdue is also a busy man. Last year marked two major career milestones for him with appearances on new Comedy Central series “Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City” and Fuse TV’s comedy competition “Uproarious.” He also hosts and books CL’s Best of Atlanta-winning 1AM Secret Show at Smith’s Olde Bar, records the sports-and-comedy podcast “Forth and Ten,” performs regularly at Star Bar’s Monday night showcase, and totals around five live appearances per week — all while still commuting back home to Jonesboro.The average person could consider such a schedule exhausting, but Perdue finds energy in the chaos to propel his mission through comedy and life. Notorious for going in on topics like cat-calling and Kanye West alike, the Morehouse College alum is increasingly using humor as a vehicle to talk about social justice. As a black comedian who appears on bills across the city, Perdue has a unique position to approach potentially tough subjects.“I think there is a different laugh,” he says, touching on the dichotomy of primarily black audiences vs. primarily white. “When a black comment comes up in black rooms, there’s a laugh of understanding. Like, ‘I understand that experience, I understand that experience.’ ... Sometimes if you do white rooms — or mainstream rooms — a lot of times a laugh can feel like it’s a novelty laugh. They don’t get it. They’re just laughing because they feel like they’re supposed to.”Perdue, like many others, says the presidential election results — including the frustration and disappointment inherent within that — have only fueled his fire to use his platform within comedy to dissect larger political concerns. For example, when it comes to calling folks’ need for validation, he doesn’t hold back.“Me and other comics talk about it all the time,” Perdue says. At white or “mainstream” rooms, he’s often the only black man in the entire venue, let alone the bill. And when another comedian cracks a questionable pun regarding race, audience heads naturally turn in his direction. “They’re like, ‘Wait, can we laugh?’” he says. “I’ll just look at them … Even if it’s funny. I’m like, ‘You judge. If you think it’s racist, don’t laugh.’ I’m not here to call you out on being a racist. I’m here to be funny. … Stand confidently in what’s right if you think something’s right, but don’t look to me to give you a pass to laugh at something about being black.”He says he plans to approach 2017 with intent, using his platform in the comedy scene as well as the city in general to raise awareness and money for social justice organizations. “We all gotta step up and be better than the bad out there,” he says. Naturally, he retains a sense of humor about the year ahead and his goals moving forward. “I want to somehow end up on the next season of ‘Atlanta.’ That’s one of the best and most important shows I’ve ever seen, and I want in!”
               

Hopefully, both Donalds are listening."
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  string(3727) "%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="586d670b57ab46235978719d" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Metro Atlanta native [http://www.clatl.com/culture/article/20834789/david-perdue-does |David Perdue] has an immediate warmth about him. He gives firm handshakes and isn’t afraid of eye contact. Perdue’s unwavering grin and infectious laugh cancel out his intimidating height. Dimples and a face begging proof of ID in any drinking establishment only further endear the comic. But above all else, his candid delivery on and off stage, combined with unwavering optimism, makes Perdue a magnetic person.Perdue is also a busy man. Last year marked two major career milestones for him with appearances on new Comedy Central series “Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City” and Fuse TV’s comedy competition “Uproarious.” He also hosts and books ''CL''’s Best of Atlanta-winning 1AM Secret Show at Smith’s Olde Bar, records the sports-and-comedy podcast “Forth and Ten,” performs regularly at Star Bar’s Monday night showcase, and totals around five live appearances per week — all while still commuting back home to Jonesboro.The average person could consider such a schedule exhausting, but Perdue finds energy in the chaos to propel his mission through comedy and life. Notorious for going in on topics like cat-calling and Kanye West alike, the Morehouse College alum is increasingly using humor as a vehicle to talk about social justice. As a black comedian who appears on bills across the city, Perdue has a unique position to approach potentially tough subjects.“I think there is a different laugh,” he says, touching on the dichotomy of primarily black audiences vs. primarily white. “[When] a black comment comes up in black rooms, there’s a laugh of understanding. [Like,] ‘I understand that experience, I understand that experience.’ ... Sometimes if you do white rooms — or mainstream rooms — a lot of times [a] laugh can feel like it’s a novelty laugh. They don’t get it. They’re just laughing because they feel like they’re supposed to.”Perdue, like many others, says the presidential election results — including the frustration and disappointment inherent within that — have only fueled his fire to use his platform within comedy to dissect larger political concerns. For example, when it comes to calling folks’ need for validation, he doesn’t hold back.“Me and other comics talk about it all the time,” Perdue says. At white or “mainstream” rooms, he’s often the only black man in the entire venue, let alone the bill. And when another comedian cracks a questionable pun regarding race, audience heads naturally turn in his direction. “They’re like, ‘Wait, can we laugh?’” he says. “I’ll just look at them … Even if it’s funny. I’m like, ‘You judge. If you think it’s racist, don’t laugh.’ I’m not here to call you out on being a racist. I’m here to be funny. … Stand confidently in what’s right if you think something’s right, but don’t look to me to give you a pass to laugh at something about being black.”He says he plans to approach 2017 with intent, using his platform in the comedy scene as well as the city in general to raise awareness and money for social justice organizations. “We all gotta step up and be better than the bad out there,” he says. Naturally, he retains a sense of humor about the year ahead and his goals moving forward. “[I want to] somehow end up on the next season of ‘Atlanta.’ That’s one of the best and most important shows I’ve ever seen, and I want in!”
               

Hopefully, both Donalds are listening."
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Hopefully, both Donalds are listening.             20848154         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/01/cover_Perdue1_1_37.586d670330466.png                  David Perdue: The social justice funnyman "
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Thursday January 5, 2017 02:28 am EST
Local comedian uses his platform in Atlanta for good | more...
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Nashville trio Daddy Issues writes refreshing love songs that span the spectrum of sexuality. Packaged like a PBR wrapped in a glittering teal Koozie, the trio's music plays with spectacular self-awareness. "Creepy Girl," from the group's Can We Still Hang full-length, riffs on an inflated crush, going so far as to name future children after the late Sex Pistols' bassist Sid Vicious and his equally debaucherous partner Nancy Spungen before pivoting with a wink, changing "creepy girl" to "creepy bitch," and suggesting "you should call the cops." And maybe you should, but what's the fun in breaking up such a killer party?



With Diet Cig and World’s Greatest Dad. Free with invite or $8. 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 19. Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com.

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Nashville trio [http://daddyissuesband.bandcamp.com/|Daddy Issues] writes refreshing love songs that span the spectrum of sexuality. Packaged like a PBR wrapped in a glittering teal Koozie, the trio's music plays with spectacular self-awareness. "Creepy Girl," from the group's ''Can We Still Hang'' full-length, riffs on an inflated crush, going so far as to name future children after the late Sex Pistols' bassist Sid Vicious and his equally debaucherous partner Nancy Spungen before pivoting with a wink, changing "creepy girl" to "creepy bitch," and suggesting "you should call the cops." And maybe you should, but what's the fun in breaking up such a killer party?



''[http://local.clatl.com/event/the-masquerade/daddy-issues-diet-cig-worlds-greatest-dad|With Diet Cig and World’s Greatest Dad. Free with invite or $8. 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 19. Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com.]''

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With Diet Cig and World’s Greatest Dad. Free with invite or $8. 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 19. Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com.

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Thursday November 17, 2016 03:46 pm EST
Nashville's grunge-pop trio crafts refreshing songs like a PBR wrapped in a glittering teal Koozie | more...
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Maker and designer Jessica Saliski wants to reclaim the word "cunt" through, well, wearable art. The result is SugarDoilies, an Etsy shop that's equal measures cute and sassy. CL got with Saliski over email to chat about feminism, femininity, and the power of constant practice.

Your designs — like the nod to Pantone via those Poontones pins — wink at feminism. Tell me about how you developed your style.

I have worked in design for seven years here in Atlanta and have seen my fair share of sexism. Those experiences have definitely influenced some of my designs. I also like to keep it girly and fun with a little bit of sass. The cunt-centric pins and buttons came from a conversation my friend Francis Styons and I were having about sexist encounters in the work place and the ideas just came to us. I mean, PMS swatches, come on … it just works. So we collaborated and the Cunt Series and Poontones™ were born. The hope is for people to wear these pins/buttons and have a voice on their lapel — to say something powerful without actually saying it and to elicit reactions and thoughts from the people who see them.

The word "cunt," both explicitly and insinuated, comes up a lot. In America, it seems the word still carries a hefty weight to it. But in places like New Zealand, it's slang akin to "pal." How does the dichotomy of that word specifically inform the pieces you create?

The word cunt is honestly a favorite of mine. And yes I know that most people, especially women, have a problem with it. Like New Zealanders and Australians, I use it as a term of endearment. The idea behind the Cunt Series is to take the negative power from the word and make it something positive, less taboo. I think the Cute Cunt Crew, Best Cunt, and See You Next Tuesday pins do just that. The See You Next Tuesday design is inspired by a weekly girls night I had with friends every Tuesday. 

How does the design process differ when crafting something for button pin or enamel pin formats?

With enamel pins you have to simplify your design and know what is going to translate well at 1-inch to 2-inch. You also have to think about soft enamel vs hard enamel and what kind of metal, backings, etc. And there are so many things you can do with enamel pins, I have seen some that are fuzzy, some that move or open and others that are bubblegum scented. When you work with buttons, you don’t have as many choices but can be more detailed and illustrative.

No value assigned

You work at print shop Mindzai Creative, too. How does working in differing mediums keep you sharp?

It keeps me sharp to constantly create, no matter the medium. Practice makes perfect, right? I am far from perfect, but the more I design and create the better I think I get. Several months ago I took the plunge into full-time freelance with my own brand SugarDoilies. Around the same time Mindzai was hiring and I knew that it would allow me to learn things I didn’t already know about print. I own a letterpress and have knowledge of the more manual side of printing, but I was interested in learning the digital side too. Mindzai also allows me to work with tons of artists and small businesses; I love that I get to help them bring their passions to life.   

Why is it so exciting to be making art in Atlanta right now?   

It’s especially exciting for me because I am finally starting to put work out there in Atlanta. I have been here for a little over eight years and have watched so many amazing artists evolve and I had to be part of it. I see newer artists everyday in Atlanta and the collaborations that may develop between them and the already established artists is really inspiring and exciting.

www.etsy.com/shop/SugarDoilies."
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Maker and designer Jessica Saliski wants to reclaim the word "cunt" through, well, wearable art. The result is SugarDoilies, an Etsy shop that's equal measures cute and sassy. ''CL'' got with Saliski over email to chat about feminism, femininity, and the power of constant practice.

__Your designs — like the nod to Pantone via [https://www.etsy.com/listing/269710249/poontone-buttons-pins?ref=shop_home_active_8|those Poontones pins] — wink at feminism. Tell me about how you developed your style.__

I have worked in design for seven years here in Atlanta and have seen my fair share of sexism. Those experiences have definitely influenced some of my designs. I also like to keep it girly and fun with a little bit of sass. The cunt-centric pins and buttons came from a conversation my friend Francis [Styons] and I were having about sexist encounters in the work place and the ideas just came to us. I mean, PMS swatches, come on … it just works. So we collaborated and the Cunt Series and Poontones™ were born. The hope is for people to wear these pins/buttons and have a voice on their lapel — to say something powerful without actually saying it and to elicit reactions and thoughts from the people who see them.

__The word "cunt," both explicitly and insinuated, comes up a lot. In America, it seems the word still carries a hefty weight to it. But in places like New Zealand, it's slang akin to "pal." How does the dichotomy of that word specifically inform the pieces you create?__

The word cunt is honestly a favorite of mine. And yes I know that most people, especially women, have a problem with it. Like New Zealanders and Australians, I use it as a term of endearment. The idea behind the Cunt Series is to take the negative power from the word and make it something positive, less taboo. I think the Cute Cunt Crew, Best Cunt, and See You Next Tuesday pins do just that. The See You Next Tuesday design is inspired by a weekly girls night I had with friends every Tuesday. 

__How does the design process differ when crafting something for button pin or enamel pin formats?__

With enamel pins you have to simplify your design and know what is going to translate well at 1-inch to 2-inch. You also have to think about soft enamel vs hard enamel and what kind of metal, backings, etc. And there are so many things you can do with enamel pins, I have seen some that are fuzzy, some that move or open and others that are bubblegum scented. When you work with buttons, you don’t have as many choices but can be more detailed and illustrative.

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__You work at print shop [http://local.clatl.com/publication/best-of-atlanta/2016/consumer-culture/best-local-print-shop/award/mindzai-creative|Mindzai Creative], too. How does working in differing mediums keep you sharp?__

It keeps me sharp to constantly create, no matter the medium. Practice makes perfect, right? I am far from perfect, but the more I design and create the better I think I get. Several months ago I took the plunge into full-time freelance with my own brand SugarDoilies. Around the same time Mindzai was hiring and I knew that it would allow me to learn things I didn’t already know about print. I own a letterpress and have knowledge of the more manual side of printing, but I was interested in learning the digital side too. Mindzai also allows me to work with tons of artists and small businesses; I love that I get to help them bring their passions to life.   

__Why is it so exciting to be making art in Atlanta right now?   __

It’s especially exciting for me because I am finally starting to put work out there in Atlanta. I have been here for a little over eight years and have watched so many amazing artists evolve and I had to be part of it. I see newer artists everyday in Atlanta and the collaborations that may develop between them and the already established artists is really inspiring and exciting.

''[www.etsy.com/shop/SugarDoilies|www.etsy.com/shop/SugarDoilies.]''"
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Maker and designer Jessica Saliski wants to reclaim the word "cunt" through, well, wearable art. The result is SugarDoilies, an Etsy shop that's equal measures cute and sassy. CL got with Saliski over email to chat about feminism, femininity, and the power of constant practice.

Your designs — like the nod to Pantone via those Poontones pins — wink at feminism. Tell me about how you developed your style.

I have worked in design for seven years here in Atlanta and have seen my fair share of sexism. Those experiences have definitely influenced some of my designs. I also like to keep it girly and fun with a little bit of sass. The cunt-centric pins and buttons came from a conversation my friend Francis Styons and I were having about sexist encounters in the work place and the ideas just came to us. I mean, PMS swatches, come on … it just works. So we collaborated and the Cunt Series and Poontones™ were born. The hope is for people to wear these pins/buttons and have a voice on their lapel — to say something powerful without actually saying it and to elicit reactions and thoughts from the people who see them.

The word "cunt," both explicitly and insinuated, comes up a lot. In America, it seems the word still carries a hefty weight to it. But in places like New Zealand, it's slang akin to "pal." How does the dichotomy of that word specifically inform the pieces you create?

The word cunt is honestly a favorite of mine. And yes I know that most people, especially women, have a problem with it. Like New Zealanders and Australians, I use it as a term of endearment. The idea behind the Cunt Series is to take the negative power from the word and make it something positive, less taboo. I think the Cute Cunt Crew, Best Cunt, and See You Next Tuesday pins do just that. The See You Next Tuesday design is inspired by a weekly girls night I had with friends every Tuesday. 

How does the design process differ when crafting something for button pin or enamel pin formats?

With enamel pins you have to simplify your design and know what is going to translate well at 1-inch to 2-inch. You also have to think about soft enamel vs hard enamel and what kind of metal, backings, etc. And there are so many things you can do with enamel pins, I have seen some that are fuzzy, some that move or open and others that are bubblegum scented. When you work with buttons, you don’t have as many choices but can be more detailed and illustrative.

No value assigned

You work at print shop Mindzai Creative, too. How does working in differing mediums keep you sharp?

It keeps me sharp to constantly create, no matter the medium. Practice makes perfect, right? I am far from perfect, but the more I design and create the better I think I get. Several months ago I took the plunge into full-time freelance with my own brand SugarDoilies. Around the same time Mindzai was hiring and I knew that it would allow me to learn things I didn’t already know about print. I own a letterpress and have knowledge of the more manual side of printing, but I was interested in learning the digital side too. Mindzai also allows me to work with tons of artists and small businesses; I love that I get to help them bring their passions to life.   

Why is it so exciting to be making art in Atlanta right now?   

It’s especially exciting for me because I am finally starting to put work out there in Atlanta. I have been here for a little over eight years and have watched so many amazing artists evolve and I had to be part of it. I see newer artists everyday in Atlanta and the collaborations that may develop between them and the already established artists is really inspiring and exciting.

www.etsy.com/shop/SugarDoilies.             20840732         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/11/Screen_Shot_2016_11_03_at_2.16.58_AM.581ba58556e73.png                  Put a pin in it "
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Wednesday November 16, 2016 02:05 pm EST
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