On-site drinking game: count the mounted fish.
As a reviewer of dive bars and writer of any sort, it’s important to understand personal biases that might come through in the objective documentation of a space. And I fully acknowledge a soft spot for dive bars in land-locked cities that take on some kind of ironic nautical naming convention. Where Minneapolis’ Northeast Yacht Club leads, Euclid Avenue Yacht Club in Atlanta follows, a dive bar that borders no water and to my knowledge houses no boats.
Euclid Avenue Yacht Club sits in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta, an ultra-cool confluence of, you guessed it, five roads, creating a weirdly proportioned burst of bars, restaurants and shops. Five Points is also home to a small concentration of Atlanta dive bars, nearby Star Community Bar serving as the spiritual neighbor to Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. Outside, the green awning can’t be missed and the small neon sign above the door tours above the Little Five Points area proclaiming life’s necessities: Bar. Beer. Food.
Because the area is dense with drinking and dining options, there’s a chance that Euclid Avenue Yacht Club’s relatively simple exterior could cause it to be overlooked. The low awning covers up a little bit of window real estate, obscuring the neon beer signs hung inside. The light colored brick threatens to soak in some of the charm of the space, but stepping inside unleashes a warmth best compared to some kind of fancy captain’s bridge. Wood-lined dive bars are no rare occurrence, but the deep brown color of the wood here, maybe perceptually enhanced by the name of the bar, feels a little less worn and a little more comforting.
Of course, the marlin above the booths that line one wall of the space certainly aids in the Atlanta dive bar’s nautical appeal. Underneath the fish, a selection of largely black and white photos dot the rich, patterned wall, a surface that looks like a wall you’d fine on opposite side of a really, really long table in a very fancy dining room. A mixture of vintage photos, recent shots, additional mounted fish and even an animal skull or two create a pretty diverse set of visual stimuli. Short lamps sit on each of the dive bar’s built-in booths, no small addition to the overall ambiance of the space.
Not to be outdone, the space behind the bar rivals the visual appeal of its corresponding wall, the highlight a wooden sign above the bar inscribed “Welcome Aboard.” You’ll find a wide ranging assortment of signs and vintage souvenirs among the mirrored liquor bottle display, soft lights of twisted glass hanging to provide, yes, another shot of ambiance. The short bar gives way to a kitchen framed in deep red tile in keeping with the color palette of Euclid Avenue Yacht Club.
A second room expands the space as well as the collection of fish, photos and vintage signs. Keep an eye out for the shark positioned just under a stained-glass lamp comprised of six perched birds aiming their gaze at the center fixture. In Atlanta tradition, a PBR sign or two can be found among the walls, but the nautical theme is alive and well in the mounted collection here, offering plenty to take in. A booth in front offers padded, horseshoe seating with prime view out onto the neighborhood that surrounds the dive bar, the best seating option for a group drinking occasion.
There’s a little bit of polish here, to be sure, making Euclid Avenue Yacht Club more of a warm neighborhood pub than a dusty, Prohibition-era dive bar. The presence of a weekly Bingo night is very much in keeping with the local, community vibe of the space, an exercise in dive bar nautical theming done right. In a particularly interesting part of Atlanta’s neighborhood fabric, Euclid Avenue Yacht Club provides the right mixture of warm features and mounted fish to stand out in a great way.