In between the early call times, late editing nights and generally long/stressful days while capturing and producing conference content, about the only thing you can look forward to is a nice dinner.   After 40 years of traveling to conferences, our production team has had the opportunity to experience first hand quite a few different restaurants in various cities all across the country. While there are always new restaurants to try, no matter the city, there are also a few old favorites that the production team frequent. These places have been Playback Now, PBN secrets for years. Until now. In honor of the upcoming AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience being held in our own home city of Atlanta, Georgia;  here are our PBN production staffers’ Top 5 Restaurants in ATLANTA, GA. Since this is our home turf we threw in a couple of bonus recommendations as well.  What can we say?  Atlanta is overflowing with great places to eat!


sports bar with industrial modern feel

STATS Brewpub

STATS Brewpub– 300 Marietta St (Walking Distance from GWCC and most downtown Hotels)

.7 miles from Georgia World Congress Center, GWCC; 15 minute walk; 4 minute car ride

With 70 High Definition TVs and 16,000 square feet of restaurant and private event space, STATS Brewpub is the ultimate sports bar.  STATS has taken your game day favorites and raised them to the next level.  The exposed brick walls and large booths are just a backdrop to the beer tap system on selected tables.  Make sure you try some of STATS homebrewed originals along with your usual.  Not really a beer drinker?  That’s not a problem at all.  STATS has a wine list that covers everything from Riesling to Merlot.  Their (PPG) Power Play Goal and (GR) Greens in Regulation are just a couple of options from their cleverly created a cocktail menu that leaves no sport unmentioned.

“Many levels and nooks to hang, TVs everywhere and tables where you can pour your own beer, what more could you want in a sports bar?” – Doug M.


Steam House Lounge –  1051 West Peachtree St. (Longer Walk from GWCC and most downtown Hotels- in Midtown)

2.5 miles from GWCC; 48 minute walk; 10 minute car ride

Steam House is an essential stop for any seafood lover visiting Atlanta.  Located in Midtown, Steam House is known for its’ Lobster Bisque and extensive Raw Bar. The laid-back atmosphere, with 2 levels and a wraparound outdoor deck make it the perfect spot to kick back and enjoy some exceptional seafood.  Entrees such as the Steampot Seafood Boil and the Steamed Seafood Platter are big enough to share with a friend. Make sure to leave room for dessert though. The chocolate dipped key lime pie is a specialty you won’t want to miss.

“A Chill relaxing place to get some fresh seafood for a good price. 2nd Floor has a great rooftop city view and the Lobster Bisque is a must try!” – Matt G.


JCT. Kitchen & Bar – 1198 Howell Mill (Will require a short drive from the Centennial Park/Convention district)

2.8 miles from GWCC; 56 minute walk; 11 minute car ride

You truly get the best of both worlds at JCT. Kitchen & Bar. This split-level historic building is comprised of a city style upstairs and a rustic outdoor dining space with skyline view. This fusion is carried over into their menu’s creative twist on traditional Southern food, where deviled eggs and fried chicken can satisfy at the same level as pan-seared sea scallops and wood grilled N.Y. Strip.

“JCT uses local farmers for produce and meals are seasonally based. The drinks are diverse from wine to specialty cocktails. You can’t go wrong with their pork chop” – Matt G.


illuminated sign and parking at The Varsity Atlanta

The Varsity

The Varsity– 61 North Ave (Will require a short drive from the Centennial Park/Convention district)

1.5 miles from GWCC; 30 minute walk; 10 minute car ride

A must see tourist attraction comparable to Underground Atlanta, the Fox Theater and Fernbank, The Varsity has been serving locals and tourists alike for as long as I can remember. In fact, they just celebrated 90 years of Varsity fun in August of this year. That’s right, the original Varsity was opened in 1928 and has since become an iconic part of Atlanta culture. The Varsity’s menu is classic drive-in style dining with burgers and hot dogs with hand cut fries and onion rings. You have options galore like a Mary Brown Steak, which is Varsity lingo for a hamburger with no bun or a Walk a Dog, a hot dog to go.

“Greasy food at its finest…captures the spirit of downtown Atlanta better than any other place” – Todd G.


Murphy’s – 997 Virginia Ave NE (Will require a short drive from the Centennial Park/Convention district)

4 miles from GWCC; 1 hour & 19 minute walk; 15 minute car ride

Murphy’s boasts openly about its’ fresh local ingredients but on top of their award-winning dining experience, they offer perks like their bakery and wine shop.  Their upscale comfort food is served in a cozy setting with great service.  If you can’t make it to the restaurant you can pick up a copy of their cookbook.  Murphy’s 30 Years of Recipes an Memories is available on

“Located in the Virginia Highlands area, a relaxed neighborhood vibe with upscale comfort food, gracious service, a cozy setting, and excellent value. A longtime favorite restaurant for me in Atlanta” – Jonathan G.

Bonus #1

rooftop seating overlooking Atlanta

Sky Lounge at the Glenn

Sky Lounge at the Glenn–  110 Marietta St (Walking Distance from GWCC and most downtown Hotels)

1 mile from GWCC; 12 minute walk; 7 minute car ride

Glenn’s Kitchen is the hotel restaurant at the historic boutique Glenn hotel and their sophisticated ambiance is sure to please even the chicest patron. The best kept secret of the Glenn hotel is located on the rooftop.  Sky Lounge at the Glenn is right in the heart of the city in Atlanta’s Centennial Park District,  this one-of-a-kind venue is the perfect fusion of city feel and southern charm.

“Best rooftop view in the city!”  Matt G.

Bonus #2

small residential looking restaurant in front of high rise buildings

Pasta Da Pulcinella

Pasta Da Pulcinella – 1123 Peachtree Walk: (Longer Walk from GWCC and most downtown Hotels- in Midtown)

2.7 miles from GWCC; 52 minute walk; 13 minute car ride

In a tiny converted cottage in Midtown Atlanta is a cozy Italian restaurant that is worth sampling. A little on the romantic side Pasta Da Pulcinella is the place in Atlanta for, you guessed it, pasta.  The Chef’s signature dish is Tortelli di Mele, round ravioli filled with Granny Smith apples, sausage, and Parmigiano cheese, topped with brown butter and sage.  In truth any pasta your order here is worth the calories.

“A hidden gem in Midtown Atlanta in an unassuming house behind all the city skyscrapers. Amazing dishes in homestyle setting” – Todd G.


Whether you’re planning on visiting Atlanta for the upcoming AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting or any other upcoming conference, you can’t go wrong with any of these places!!

Distances to locations from GWCC were calculated using google maps without traffic.