City: Atlanta, GA
Everyone needs a go-to Irish pub, preferably in walking distance to your home. For the last couple years, Fado has fit the bill as my McLaren’s. I don’t live right above the bar as they do in How I Met Your Mother, but I’m close enough for it to be an easy walk to and from my place. There are actually several Fados scattered throughout the U.S., but this review is focused on the Buckhead Atlanta location. It’s a classy place but still casual enough for a first date. The guy to girl ratio isn’t always the best but there are usually some approachable girls hanging around. And due to the location of my apartment, it’s where I almost always take my first dates. The bar staff there has never seen me with the same girl twice. I wonder sometimes if they have inside jokes or nicknames for me.
There are two bars in Fado – one downstairs and one upstairs. The downstairs bar is located in the center of the dining area and can seat probably 35 people or so. There are high top tables and booths scattered throughout downstairs. If you would like a seat without waiting, you’ll usually have to get there before 9 on the weekdays and before 8 on the weekends. They do trivia on Wednesday nights which can be fun. It’s perfect for happy hour or a pre-game spot before hitting the Buckhead dive bars which are a 5 minute walk from Fado.
This is the kind of place that’s fun for all ages 21 and up. You’ll see everything from young and boozy blondes drinking Vodka Sprites to sophisticated, older women sipping on Moscow Mules and reminiscing on their younger days. It’s definitely a good spot if you’re an older guy since most bars in Buckhead are relatively young.
Downstairs is where most of the action happens. If there’s a band playing it’ll be off to the left. If there’s a game on, downstairs is where you’d want to watch it. Fado is big soccer bar so be sure to check it out if that’s your thing. And it’s always the place to be for the World Cup.
If you’re on a date, I’d recommend sitting upstairs if you can. Although, sometimes a private party will have it reserved and you won’t have access to the rooftop patio. Don’t make the mistake I made once of trying to sneak in and blend in with the crowd in an effort to look cool in front of your date. Turns out it was an office party where everyone knew everyone and we were asked to leave. Not a great way to start off a first date.
Upstairs has an indoor bar and outdoor covered patio. It’s a more intimate setting up here and easier to have a conversation since you don’t have to yell over the loudness of downstairs. You have three options, you can sit at bar, a couch or one of the tables. Just be sure to side by side at a table and not directly across from your date.
Fado will always be a cherished spot for me. Ironically, before I moved to Atlanta, I was visiting for a weekend and my friend decided Fado is where we would go for the night. I had recently graduated college and my college girlfriend was with me. We broke up in the bar that night.
Little did I know I would be moving to the neighborhood 3 months later and by default, Fado would become my #1 first date spot.