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Urban Sleuth :

August 22, 2012

Atlanta Gets the Wallpaper Treatment

Arbiter of cool, Wallpaper magazine, rates Atlanta’s designer destinations

By Nancy Staab

  • Photos by Wade Griffith

From the high-concept kicks boutique, Wish, in L5P and late-night hipster den The Sound Table, to Bocado’s cult burger and the upmarket Aria, find out who made the cut in the hot-off-the-presses Wallpaper City Guide Atlanta.

Images of High Museum, Two Urban Licks, Fox Theatre and Wish, from Wallpaper City Guide: Atlanta by Wade Griffith Images of High Museum, Two Urban Licks, Fox Theatre and Wish, from Wallpaper City Guide: Atlanta by Wade Griffith

We’re flattered! In the past uber-cool Wallpaper magazine has turned its critical, design-centric gaze on such cosmopolitan cities as Barcelona, Basel, Buenos Aires and Berlin, with just a few nods to U.S. cities: L.A., Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Dallas. Now Atlanta earns Wallpaper City Guide bragging rights.

The compact, pocket-size volume of Wallpaper City Guide: Atlanta was just released this month (available at for $9.95). It may be slim and far from a comprehensive coverage of our city’s diverse attractions, but the guide offers a very discriminating selection with a distinct emphasis on cool and/or design-ery destinations. In other words, if your business does not employ an ironic use of kitsch accessories (Noni’s); channel a hip, urban version of a Southern farmhouse (Miller Union, No. 246) or Southern aristocrat’s estate (Sid Mashburn, St. Regis Atlanta) or offer certified Eames seating, Flos lighting or futuristic-chic (Flip Burger), than your establishment may not make the cut.

The book is divided into sections on architecture, 24 hours in the city, hotels, urban life, shopping, sports & spas, and nearby escapes. Shopping and Sports & Spas gets short shrift, but we love the sections devoted to architecture and iconic buildings, old and new, that characterize our relatively new city: from the historic Fox Theatre and triangular Flatiron Building to the modern ziggurat known as SunTrust Plaza. If you have only 24 hours in the city, Wallpaper calls out Westside Arts District, Bocado, High Museum of Art and the new, LEED-designed Museum of Design Atlanta across the street, the Coca-Cola cupcakes at West Egg Café, The Sound Table for nightlife, and Aria for old-school glamour:  i.e. a warm lobster cocktail served in a martini glass beneath the Octopus-like glass chandelier of Atlanta artist Chris Moulder

As a fun added feature Wallpaper asked Atlanta pop artist/provocateur Fahamu Pecou to curate the city for the book. Among Pecou’s picks: Marcia Wood Gallery, The Carter Center, Book House Pub, Highland Cigar Co., and live bands at The Earl.

Sure, the usual hipster hangouts (most in Old Fourth Ward/Inman Park) are called out: Octane coffeehouse, Victory Sandwich Bar, Halo Lounge, Miso Izakaya, One-Eared Stag and Holeman & Finch watering hole, but Wallpaper also casts a favorable eye on the chic W Atlanta Downtown property, the high-gloss nightclubs Reign and Vanquish designed by Michael Habachy, the “second mortgage” plates at Rathbun’s, the high theatrics  (and high volume) of TWO. Urban Licks and the Parisian-pretty chocolate boutique Cacao.

Slip this guide in your pocket and you’ll never be at a loss for entertainment when your egg-heady cousin from art school pays you a surprise visit.

P.S. Look for a future iPad app for Wallpaper City Guide: Atlanta via publisher Phaidon.