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The bar is stocked with housemade syrups, infusions and sodas. Photo by Austin Holt

Comfort Food

by Kelly Skinner | Jezebel magazine | August 30, 2012

A rustic new watering hole has shimmied into Cakes & Ale’s old digs in downtown Decatur, and, for the ITP crowd, it’s already a neighborhood staple. The Pinewood Tippling Room, co-owned by T. Fable Jeon (of Sound Table and The Lawrence fame) and Brooks Cloud, beams with polished hardwoods, Americana accents (picture burlap and dried flowers) and, you guessed it, a pinewood bar—beckoning passersby to sidle up for a fancy drink. And with a sip list like this, it would be a crime to order just one.

Jeon, as head mixologist, developed the ambitious cocktail list that brims with inventive libations and an awe-inspiring ice program: Think extra-large ice cubes—either hand-cracked or parceled out with an electric chainsaw (seriously!). The small dinner menu, conceptualized by Julia LeRoy (with additions from the owners) and cooked up by Executive Chef Mike Blydenstein, continues the fun with Southern-inspired salads, sammies and small plates, with a few eats snatched from childhood. Fried bologna sandwiches and funnel cakes after a wild night out? Sold! Hungrier appetites can dig into steamy dishes of favorite comfort foods. Blackened shrimp and grits, or crunchy buttermilk chicken served with a mound of garlic-mashed potatoes? Coming right up! And, did we mention the fries? They’re hard to overlook. Place an order, and Everest arrives: The heap of hand-cut, hot-from-the-oven taters is huge.

But The Pinewood isn’t just for the late-night crowd (though it is open till the wee hours)—its welcoming environs and chatty dining room give it legit neighborhood-bar status. It’s a place where you can shoot the breeze and snack on tasty, affordable chow—which is kind of the point. “Decatur has such a creative scene of bars and restaurants,” Jeon says. “To be in such great company, you feel inspired and compelled to deliver everything that you can to become a welcome addition.” 254 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., @pinewoodtr