On Business in Atlanta

By: Giannina Smith Bedford

February 4, 2015

Business travel doesn’t have to be all meetings and presentations. When travelling for work, try to sneak in some pleasurable pursuits. In Atlanta, this means sampling a varied culinary scene””from down home “Southern” fare to landmark steakhouses””shopping at one-of-a-kind boutiques and taking in the attractions that set this Southeastern metropolis apart. Take a look at our guide to getting the most out of being on business in Atlanta.

Where to stay: For swanky downtown digs, grab a room key at the modern W Atlanta – Downtown. About a 20-minute drive from the airport, this glass-clad structure is in the heart of the city. Catch up on emails in the WIRED Business Center before working out in the 1,700-square-foot gym or taking a dip in the outdoor heated pool. For more traditional luxury, head to the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta “” equipped with a Bourbon Bar and outdoor heated saline pool””or Four Seasons in Midtown, a property revered for its expansive spa and gourmet dining at Park 75.


Where to eat: There are tons of notable restaurants in Atlanta, but a business trip isn’t a business trip without a steak dinner. Reserve a table at the famous Bone’s, which opened its doors in 1979 and continues to offer top-notch service and award-winning steak and seafood. For another surf-and-turf-heavy eatery, visit Chops Lobster Bar, where the seafood is flown in daily and the USDA prime aged beef is served in a room of dark wood. Other Atlanta restaurants worth a spot on the itinerary include Southern-heritage-inspired Blue Ridge Grill, and JCT. Kitchen, as well as seafood hotspot St. Cecilia“”all are great options for lunch or dinner. In the breakfast hour, join the business crowd at Buckhead’s no-frills The White House Restaurant or Corner Café.

On Business in Atlanta | JCT
JCT Kitchen is a popular lunch spot for the business crowd © Andrew Thomas Lee

Where to go for evening cocktails: For business over beers””or cocktails””settle into a plush chair at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead’s distinguished The Lobby Lounge. Sip on a Buckhead Cosmo and listen to live piano and jazz to take the edge off business negotiations. The St. Regis Bar is home to another swanky drinking spot featuring an original mural of a Phoenix rising from the ashes, or for a more laid back ambiance head to The Southern Gentleman, an eatery that offers an expansive list of 40 bourbons and more than 20 different kinds of rye. Order the Fallen Hound and feel the stress melt away.


Top sights: Atlanta is awash with wonderful opportunities for sightseeing. Luckily, many of the best attractions are in the centre of downtown, and easily accessible between business meetings. The recently opened College Football Hall of Fame gives sports aficionados an immersive experience through historic college football artefacts and state-of-the-art, interactive multimedia exhibits in a 94,256-square-feet facility. Alternatively, the new National Center for Civil and Human Rights aims to connect the American civil rights movement to today’s global human rights movements.

On Business in Atlanta | Southern Gentleman
Southern Gentleman is a great place to sample bourbon and rye © Andrew Thomas Lee

Great gifts: Don’t forget to bring home a little something for the family when on business in Atlanta. Baby Braithwaite is the perfect place for personalised gifts and toys, and The Children’s Museum of Atlanta store stocks more than 1,000 unique and educational toys for children aged eight and under. A classic wooden toy, cuddly stuffed animal or Georgia “locally grown” T-shirt from the Seed Factory on Atlanta’s west-side are also sure crowd pleasers. Now that you’ve got the little ones covered, stay on the west-side and visit Atlanta MADE, a showroom featuring products””handmade art, jewellery, accessories and more””designed and made in the region. Nearby, Preserving Place sells small-batch jams, pickles, and condiments made in-house that are great gift options.


Going local: When the workday is done, Atlantans hit the Beltline. Join the locals for a run or leisurely stroll on this railroad-corridor-turned-trail that is still under development. The 2.25-mile Eastside Trail””connecting destinations like Virginia Highland, Poncey Highland, Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward””was the first section to open. Lined with places to stop for coffee or a bite, the walking and biking path travels to Piedmont Park, a vast green space that is Atlanta’s version of Central Park and another popular city attraction.

On Business in Atlanta | Ormsby's
Ormsby’s basement features bocce ball courts, a pool table and much more © Frank Lazaro

Where to break curfew: When the meetings have come to a close and it’s time to blow off some steam, head to Ormsby’s. The two-level tavern on Atlanta’s west-side features a basement playroom complete with bocce ball courts, backgammon, darts, pool and shuffleboard. If you want to continue partying after closing time, take a short stroll to the nearby hole-in-the-wall blues bar, Northside Tavern, where the live music continues into the wee hours. Another spot you can show off your dance moves is Buckhead’s infamous Johnny’s Hideaway“”hang out in the “Sinatra Room” or in the “King’s Corner” dedicated to Elvis. For a chilled evening of beers and live music, start at Decatur’s Brick Store Pub“”offering 22 draughts and 75 bottled beers””before heading over to Eddie’s Attic, where the live musical performances are legendary.


Header Image © W Atlanta – Downtown

Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Atlanta from London Heathrow, making your business trip even easier.


Have you been on business in Atlanta? Where would you recommend outside work hours? Let us know in the comments section below.


Written by Giannina Smith Bedford


Giannina Smith Bedford

Giannina Smith Bedford is a travel and business writer whose work has appeared in a number of national and regional publications, including Condé Nast Traveler, Delta SKY Magazine, AirTran Airways GO Magazine, and Atlanta Business Chronicle, among others. Born in Miami, she grew up in Brazil, Chile, Hawaii and Australia and continues her worldwide adventures—always traveling with a pen in hand. Her published work can be viewed at

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