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Big South Tourney Journey — Food After a Flight Edition

Every leg of travel — from portal to portal — went surprisingly well. It actually went smooth, going to Atlanta, ahead of the Big South Girls Volleyball National Qualifier. There’s usually some letdown somewhere, but the Atlanta Airport had clear signage for ground transportation that took us right to the city’s rail line, dubbed MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), which again was also straight forward. We actually jumped onto the first train before knowing if it was the “Red Line” we needed to be on. It was. A mom with two daughters verified it was. And off to Peachtree Center, the train stop two blocks from our endpoint, the Westin Marriott.

We checked in and had a room reserved, but ours wasn’t yet ready. There it was, that traveler’s stumble. No matter. We brought our bags to the luggage check, then ambled out for a bite. Pass up the Hooters. Pass up the Hard Rock. Ah, an Irish pub around the side of the hotel. That was more like it. Enter: Meehan’s Public House at 200 Peachtree Street.

With cozy booths and pub tables out toward the bar, Meehan’s is a pub the way pubs are meant to be. At 4ish p.m., between the lunchtime and dinner crowds, there was plenty of room. We were ushered to one of those cozy booths and were set up quickly enough with some drinks.

My daughter and I agreed ahead of time that she would refrain from her usual Shirley Temple fancy-soda-standby, lest she draw attention at a bar to her being a long time from 21. We got booted from sitting at the bar in a rib place in Kansas City, under just such dubious circumstances earlier this season. This time, she traded a cutesy smile and energetic exchange for the more measured and slow — to act older — and ordered, “Just a Sprite, please,” while I got a Dos Equis amber lager, since they didn’t have Harp.

A few sips in, and my daughter lamented about the Shirley Temple she DIDN’T get. And I get it. That was the standard kid drink whenever my grandmother took us all out to fancy dinner — the one she told me to order what I wanted, AND I DID, getting the “King Cut” prime rib with au jus and fries, and of course that Shirley Temple. All while my parents gave me the side-eye for ordering big (ha ha, too late!).

So in our booth at Meehan’s we strategized for the next time out. Slow and measured, she’d ask for that Sprite, then add, “And add a splash of Grenadine, if you have it,” which of course any bar would. Then, voila! Which is French for there’s your Shirley Temple without ordering one.

Next was the food. My daughter ordered a burger and fries. I typically go with a bangers and mash (Irish sausage and mashed potatoes) at pubs, but a burger sounded good, so I ordered one too, but with the mashed potatoes as my side.

Our food came out to us quickly. But remorsefully for those mashed potatoes, they came out too as French fries (our second travel travail). But no matter. If I’ve leaned anything about restaurants it’s that when something goes back to the kitchen it could end up coming back out as a sneezer. Or a spitter. So, smile and nod. And besides, the French fries looked great.

The burger was juicy and tasty. The fries, crispy and firm and well salted. This meal hit the right note to cap off a travel day. With a prompt and friendly staff Meehan's Public House and a solid burger and fries, it earns 4 stars out of 5. Another meal with the bangers and mash (with actual mashed potatoes, not fries), and this pub could see half a star extra — or a full star more. Kudos, to Meehan’s for its coziness and it solidly good pub food.

Meehan’s Public House is located at 200 Peachtree Street, in Downtown Atlanta. For more information visit the pub webpage at

Jason James Barry is an author and award-winning journalist. His travel and restaurant reviews appear in and Great Pacific Review’s features section.


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