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Best in Show

Spirits savant Greg Best shares his imbibing intentions.

A good bartender who listens to confidences is one who can also keep them, even while creating a buzz. Asked about his plans for a new sleek pub and restaurant, Greg Best stays tantalizingly mum. We do know this: It will be in the Inman Park area and ai3 is behind the design.

"The drinks will be thirst-building with an air of sophistication," says Best, one of the founding fathers of Atlanta's craft-cocktail craze, when asked about his plans. "The food should be comforting; the music, transporting and a touch eccentric; and the design should make the space yours in a way that speaks only to you. Sorry for the enigmatic and woeful poetry, but we are keeping a few secrets."

Best thinks of himself as a "social chemist" in "that dynamic microcosm—the watering hole." Since 2005, he has poured at Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch. Last September, he and business partner Regan Smith decided to strike out on their own and open a "joint" on the east side by year's end. Best, who lives in the Edgewood area, grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and dabbled in drama before landing at Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas. "Like most theater people, I worked in a restaurant, where I was drawn to the mystique of mixology," he says. "What most people don't realize is that there is a philosophy and theater to each cocktail, which are arguably more important than the measurements of the ingredients." And that special touch, Best reveals, is the secret to high spirits.

Best's Hots
Simplicity in all things—certainly in cocktails; Asian influences; crossovers with African and Indian cuisines; Sazerac

Best's Nots
Eating giant plates of food; 40-ingredient drinks; bad blockbuster-style movies