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MGB 2004 - Welcome to Atlanta

MGB 2004 - Welcome to Atlanta

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Microsoft Global Briefing (MGB) will be held in Atlanta this year.  I am really excited to attend my first MGB event, and simultaneously bummed that it is in Atlanta.  I would have loved to go somewhere cool with a beach.

So, what's to do in Atlanta?  (skip below if you just want to find out where to go drink)

See the sites.

You can ride MARTA to most of Atlanta for $1.50.  This is cool because the hotels are downtown, where there is literally no nightlife... you have to travel away from downtown to see anything interesting.

You can see the Margaret Mitchell (author of “Gone with the Wind“) house that has been burned down, like, 50 times per year for the past 20 years. Or you can see “The World of Coca Cola“, which to me is just short of watching grass grow (and tasting soft drinks from around the world is not a pleasant experience unless you like what burped up Coke tastes like). Underground Atlanta has lost its charm, there's not much to see around there anymore. You will be in the Olympic Park, so you will be near Turner Field, the Georgia Dome, CNN Center, and the other neat things downtown. The Atlanta Zoo is fairly close to downtown as well.

Stone Mountain is a hellish ride away (likely 1 hour in Atlanta traffic), and there isn't much to see unless you stay for the laser show at night. I'd suggest that if you are bringing your family in, but it's probably not worth your time to skip out on a day's sessions to go see a big granite rock with a carving in the front.

Shop Malls

I had a friend in from Ireland, and he was flat out amazed at the malls that we have on every other corner.  If you like shopping, then there is plenty of it, and MARTA stops right outside Phipps Plaza.

Drink Beer. 

OK, now to the part that you really want to know about... where to have a good time.  Atlanta is one of the best towns if you like drinking beer.

Georgia is partially known for its bizarre drinking laws.  The strongest beer you can get is 6% abv, but you can buy wine coolers and fru-fru drinks that are made with frigging grain alcohol.  Beer and wine is sold in gas stations, grocery stores, and liquor stores, you can only buy liquor at liquor stores.  You cannot buy alcohol outside of a bar after 11:45pm, and you cannot buy it outside of a bar at all on Sundays.  Bars serve alcohol starting at 12:30pm.

Here are some of the bars that you might want to visit that the locals actually go to.

Jocks and Jills - There is a Jocks and Jills in the bottom of the CNN Center, right near Olympic Centennial Park.  This bar rocks, it is a haven for beer drinking sports fans.

Summits Wayside Tavern (aka Taco Mac) - one of the world's largest tap beer selections, lost the title to the current Guiness Book of World Records holder in Washington, DC.

Prince of Wales - One of my favorite bars of all time.  I spent quite a bit of my college career here.

Fado - A great Irish bar, you cannot go wrong here.

Gordon Biersch - I like their beer, GB is sold locally as well.

Wild Wing Cafe - One of Atlanta's best bars.

Three Dollar Cafe - one of the world's largest bottle beer selections.  There is one in Buckhead.  Speaking of Buckhead...

If you drink beer (hell, if you drink), you will eventually end up in Buckhead.  Buckhead has a bar strip where you can hit literally 30 bars within a mile's walk, and most of them are packed on Friday and Saturday nights.  One of my favorites is LuLu's Bait Shack... you can get fishbowl drinks (literally, goldfish bowls) with grain alcohol and foot long straws.  They used to stuff plastic alagators in them for decoration, don't think they do that anymore.  You can get out-of-the-way cuisine like alagator tail and shark.


Since the expenses policy states that you are provided meals, there is likely going to be quite a bit less of eating out.  But, there are plenty of opportunities to eat out.  Fat Matt's is great for barbecue.  Taco Mac (aka Summit's Wayside Tavern) has the best wings you have ever eaten, with Wild Wing Cafe a close second.  Since you likely aren't going to be eating out a lot, I won't belabor the point. 

  • You have an Irish bar named Fado? Fado's the name for Portugese folk music, isn't it? And it's a chain (

    Go figure.
  • I have to suggest 5 Seasons Brewery for a great "micro" beer here. And don't leave town without trying "Sweetwater 420". (another local brew)
  • Good intro to ATL Kirk, but you must be really busy with work; you'll be happy to hear the 6% law was overturned a couple of weeks back:

    On the other comments:
    Fado is a chain, but great nonetheless. Sweetwater IPA is my fave local brew, but that 5 Seasons place has some great in-house tipples - it is a bit of a noisy place to eat and the food is 'not quite' all it should be. Vickery's in Midtown does MUCH better steak for the same $$.

    There is so much to do in ATL it is untrue. Check out Road Atlanta's calendar for example. Andrettis in Alpharetta has 'OK' indoor karting for something under 20 mins away from Microsoft.
  • I heard about the new abv law, but thought it only applied to bar sales! Whoo-hoo!

    I like Andretti's, and there is a Whirly Ball (bumper car- hai lai-basketball) facility down the street that is even more fun. I just don't think people will be be able to make it there from downtown.

    The people coming in from MGB are going to be staying in downtown Atlanta and travelling in from out-of-town. Getting out to the 'burbs is a major pain even if you were willing to brave the transfer from the MARTA rail to the bus line. I pity out-of-towners that attempt navigating MARTA past the Perimeter area. I live in Cumming, not far North of Alpharetta... it is a hellish drive, and would be ungodly expensive to get up there by cab (I know it is expensive trying to get from Alpharetta to Atlanta).

    When I have travelled to New York, Washington DC, and Dallas, I am always amazed at the amount of stuff there is to do, and always search my brain for stuff in Atlanta. I still think Atlanta is the best for self-inflicted liver disease via incredible bars, but past that there just isn't a whole lot unless you are willing to drive for several hours at a clip.
  • Hi
    In fact, even I was surprised as to what to do at Atlanta.
    There's no Macy's in downtown - only the relics remain - just a signboard. Peachtree Mall was even worse - 10-15 stores don't make a mall - my definition.
    And yes, I thought it would be very friendly and secure as other American cities. I wanted to take the marta and asked one of the persons in the Peachtree Marta center for ways to buy a ticket. You know what the reply was, "Sir, Do I work for you?". This is despite sporting the MS tag and believe me, MS has pumped in a lot of money into Atlanta's economy in this MGB. I came back, dejected not knowing what to do and was walking towards the GWCC Building A. Just near the Centennial Olympic Park, there is this open store (not a store exactly, it's more like a cart, a slightly bigger cart) which sells T-shirts. There are two colored guys here and when I was crossing in front of their store, one of the guys suddenly asked, "Hey man, what's the problem with you? Why are you making faces?" (Please note that I was not even looking at their store nor at any of these guys.) Definitely, it was evident that they wanted to initiate a dialog with me and ...well well well, thankfully, my presence of mind helped me not to react or respond either. I acted as if I don't understand English. Well, well, this irked this guy even further. He said to the other guy, "Hey, man, this guys a champ. He's not even responding." For a second, I was really afraid. Anyway, I was ready for any confrontation and would have stuck to my policy of non-cooperation and non-usage of English and probably use something like "me no englsh understando" in case the situation demanded that and till I get to the authorities. Believe me, it was really really scary - and I thought Atlanta (as compared to NY) was much more secure.
    I will post my more MGB tales as and when they happen.
    Jimmy Ray(not my real name)
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