Who knew that the “three” in Atlanta’s new bar and restaurant, Local Three, referred to Elvis, the Dude (from The Big Lebowski), and a very big pig? Some have surmised that it refers to owners Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner (of Muss & Turner’s), along with chef Chris Hall. Heck, the menu even says as much. But just get a load of all the artwork around the restaurant, and it’s clear that there is a serious devotion to Elvis, the Dude, and all things pig. That’s three for three in our book. And the Elvis/Dude attitude is one thing that sets Local Three apart from the crowd of local/Southern/farm-to-table restaurants all over town these days. We’re certainly fans of places like Miller Union, Cakes & Ale, Empire State South and Sprig, but chances are that black velvet Elvis won’t be making an appearance in those joints any time soon.
The fine folks behind Local Three have done a beautiful job of converting the old Joel space off Northside Parkway into a warm and comfortable environment that fits the restaurant’s down-home, locavore menu perfectly. Boiled peanuts, a charcuterie plate nicknamed “the Notorious P.I.G.,” and so many other dishes that shout amped-up Southern goodness all seem right amidst the wood, the funky art, and the fine collection of bourbons lining the bar.
While Local Three is surely a restaurant first and a bar second, the bar offerings already fit nicely alongside the cuisine and the general feel of the place. A concise but (mostly) classic cocktail list, for example, features a Whiskey Sour, a Julep, and a “Caucasian” lifted as carefully as possible from the Dude’s drink of choice in The Big Lebowski. In the spirit of sharing, the menu even includes the basic recipe for each cocktail – a nice touch more bars would be wise to follow as a way to engage curious cocktail drinkers. Like the restaurant side, the bar hopes to keep things as house-made and local as possible, always a sign of a bar that takes their craft seriously.
The spirits list goes heavy on the bourbon, with startling variety at the affordable end of the spectrum, and a wonderful collection of bourbon and whiskey flights that allow for tasting and contrasting three different whiskeys that share some common traits – a group of ryes for example, or a trio of top shelf selections including Pappy Van Winkle 23 (for now, though their stock is being depleted rapidly by eager Pappy devotees!). The prices are nice as well. In addition to the bourbons, a few less-often-seen whiskeys from abroad fill out the selection, from the Pig’s Nose Scotch Whisky (5 years old) to Redbreast Irish Whiskey to the Yamazaki 12 year old single malt whisky from Japan.
Matthew behind the bar has also assembled an enticing beer and wine menu: 11 beers on tap with a Southern center of gravity, and about 90 more by the bottle; 100 wines covering a nice spectrum, focused on fitting the food and shifting with the seasons. The folks at Local Three clearly want the drinks to find a harmony with the food, but also aim to please by offering a broad enough selection that will offer something for everyone. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine walking out of Local Three without a big smile on your face, from the salt and pepper shakers to the paintings to the ingredients and menu to the drinks and staff – Local Three aims to please.
In the spirit of aiming to please, here’s a taste of the Local Three experience in photos, featuring more Elvis, pigs and peanuts (and be sure to check out the videos on the food at Local Three over at TheHungrySoutherner.com) as well: