During Prohibition, speakeasies were relatively common; hidden from the sight of the authorities, they provided the average Joe and the upper crust with a place to get a stiff drink during a time when stiff drinks were, well, prohibited. Over the past few years, the idea of exclusive clubs has had a bit of a renaissance. In cities all around the world, there are clubs were only those who know how to get in are allowed to enter.
In Atlanta, that is the idea around the enigmatically named, The Fred. technically part of the Taco Mac chain, The Fred is far from a sports beer and wing bar. Instead it is a lavishly appointed man cave reminiscent of the most opulent New York steakhouses. One can almost imagine that many high-powered deals were brokered in one of the hideout’s plush booths.
To gain access to The Fred, one must first know where it is. While it is not exactly a secret – a search of the Internet will provide its location – it is in a rather non-descript and obscure location. Upon finding the door emblazoned with a stylized logo and complete with a peephole, a potential guest must press a red button to request entry. The door remains locked from the inside otherwise. The bartender will come to the door and request your admission credentials (a valid Brewniversity card from Taco Mac with at least 13 entries) and show you inside.
If you come during daylight hours, plan to stand for a second to let your eyes adjust. The light levels in The Fred are low and intimate and the colors are dark and rich. On either side of the space are comfortable booths complete with plush cushions and pillows and a curtain that can be pulled for privacy. Further back the bar is surrounded by a curved, dark wood ceiling. The feeling is cozy, comfy, relaxed, and sexy.
Behind the bar is an assortment of taps. By Taco Mac standards, there are only a few taps, but what they have is generally good. Some of the selections on during our visit included 21st Ammendment Hop Crisis, Abita Satsuma Wit, and the ever-present Guinness. If you prefer bottles, The Fred has an interesting list to peruse via iPads that also contain the food menu.
Other articles on The Fred wax rhapsodic about their burger – a Kobe beef cheeseburger topped with fried mac ‘n cheese. We did not go that route, though. Instead we ordered the Guinness Cheese Dip, served with soft pretzel pieces. When the dip arrived it was attractively plated on a long wooden board, the pretzels were cut into bite-sized pieces and toasted for a wonderful texture and crunch. The dip was rich with Guinness beer and packed a bit of a spicy kick that we really enjoyed.
Though we only stayed for a one beer and the dip. Our visit was extremely enjoyable. If you have the means and would like to try an upscale and exclusive-feeling spot, definitely give The Fred a try. But, keep in mind their slogan, “If you know, you know.”