Date Night starts in a bar and finishes in a juke joint. That’s a cool way to spend a Friday night, Daddy-O. We are headed to a State University of New York at Albany alumni gathering at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint. The new president of the university, Dr. Robert Jones, happens to be in town, and we are going to meet him. One of the Joint’s owners, Terry Harps, is an Albany graduate. It’s a party with the prez.
We are running early and duck into the Park Bar downtown for a beer.
Park Bar is right next to Centennial Olympic Park. They have used their space wisely, leaving the historic brick from the old building exposed. The place is humming with the after-work Friday crowd.
We order a couple of good beers.
Dogfish Head Pumpkin and a Victory Golden Monkey get the party started tonight. Even better, they have a high alcohol content, which makes the party start even faster.
After about a half mile walk, we are standing in front of Sweet Georgia’s.
Look at that–our event is up on the marquee. Sweet Georgia’s is located in the old Macy’s building on Peachtree. Back in the day, this was the place to shop downtown. Now it has been divided up into various smaller businesses, including our location tonight. We are back in the VIP area, where there is a private bar with about eight beers on tap. There’s nothing too exotic here, and we go with Fat Tires from New Belgium and a Sam Adams.
Fat Tire is a favorite among cyclists because they sponsor so many cycling events. Sam Adams has become huge and seems like the Budweiser of craft beers, but it works in a pinch.
Some food is being served by friendly servers and some is on a buffet. We love the presentation of the first two dishes brought out.
This is shrimp and grits served in a martini glass. It’s got crispy fried onions on the top. The first thing served turns out to be my favorite dish. Look at this tray.
Gumbo in a short glass with rice on the top. There’s shrimp and sausage in those little glasses. We get a few spoonfuls, which is the perfect amount to get the flavors from this delicious dish.
The rest of the food comes from the buffet table. Again, check out the nice presentation of the dishes as we run through them. Someone in the kitchen has a beautiful eye for arranging food. Let’s start with the caprese salad.
Tomato, basil and mozzarella. Simple and elegant. So are the BBQ pork sliders.
I will admit that these were so good I had two. There’s excellent BBQ under those soft buns. Want some grilled steak or chicken?
We tried those too. Check out this shrimp boil.
This is the dish that I wish I had more of, but I got distracted by the grilled vegetables.
Gorgeous. One more mystery dish (there were no labels on the food, so we don’t know what this is). It might be pimiento cheese-inspired, but don’t quote us on that.
In the old days, they sold moonshine in juke joints. At Sweet Georgia’s, you can get it legally.
This stuff is a little strong for us, but it is fun to taste. The moonshine is infused with vanilla and nutmeg, which gives it a nice wintery feel on this cold night.
Meanwhile, the juke joint is jumping.
There is a hot jazz band playing, people are dancing, and the place is packed with people eating, more at the bar, and a line waiting to get in. The food from the menu looks delicious. Eve walks through the dining room and starts salivating over the fried chicken. We will have to come back and try it.
My date has a strange fascination with the ferris wheel downtown, which we visit on the way back to our car.
We don’t ride it, but pause to take pictures and it’s only right to include one as we conclude this edition of Date Night.
The bottom line on Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint: This is a fun and happening place. Good music, good food and good times await you if you go. You can hang with the hipsters and the cool cats in this modern rendition of a classic concept.