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This sprawling central bar will keep your buzz aloft from dinner to dancing.

Lounge Act

by Austin Holt | Photography by Austin Holt | Jezebel magazine | January 1, 2014

Remember Luckie Food Lounge? That big place across from the aquarium that’s been closed down forever? Luckie was a cool place. The food was meh, but if a Falcons game got boring, and you weren’t ready to go home yet, it was a decent enough place to score a quick drink with one hell of a view of the skyline.

As it turns out, the space is getting a second shot. When Suite Food Lounge opened this fall, it aimed at filling the club-meets-kitchen niche in the Downtown scene, and pulled it off nicely. The made-over space is sprawling: A cavernous downstairs features a leather-clad restaurant section and chef-driven kitchen that spins a comfortable take on classic Southern fare. Chef Anthony Sanders has taken the helm of the massive kitchen, preparing food that is deceptively simple, while keeping a very defined experimental edge. Seared scallops come drizzled in fresh greens and a curried cream-corn sauce. Chicken and waffles are tender and sweet with heavenly truffled blue-cheese butter slathered in balsamic syrup, which pairs seamlessly with Suite’s barrel-aged Manhattan. An in-house pastry chef slings out a classic, scratch Key lime pie.

But this is half nightclub. Deeper in the space, a DJ booth looms over a dance floor lined with some funky Technicolor modernist furnishings and some psychedelic aquarium action behind one of Suite’s three bars (fans of Huff Furniture will feel right at home here, as the Buckhead furnishing house has supplied much of the aesthetic in Suite’s lounge area). Upstairs, it’s a different vibe completely, as a Miami-inspired rooftop space rocks some South Beach seating with the same kick-ass view of Downtown and Midtown. Just make it in time for sunset if you’re starting happy hour with the rest of us.

In the same way you wouldn’t expect some of the best chicken and waffles in town to come from a dance club, you wouldn’t expect a place with three bars and a DJ to have a custom tailored boutique wine program. Ideal for the middle-of-the-road connoisseur, this lounge gets bonus points for including enough obscure small-batch stuff to amuse the wine snob in your group, while still remaining unpretentious enough to please the white-zin amateurs.

Suite is open every day for lunch and dinner, but if you’re not scared of heading into the fray, we’d recommend hitting them up on a Friday or Saturday night. It’ll be packed, but not knowing who you’ll run into is part of the fun. Mark it down, people: At the very least, it’s something different to do after hanging out with the belugas.