Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Rusty Nail Pub - Buford Hwy at North Druid Hills

You can find The Rusty Nail Pub at 900 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30329, conveniently located right off the North Druid Hills exit on I85. It's most recognizable by the giant pistol smoker out front that's usually expelling a tendril of smoke from the barrel. Parking is to each side and out front.

I don't really remember if I've ever been to The Rusty Nail Pub in the past - I think I have but I don't have a distinct memory of the place - probably due to being in some drunken stupor. The Rusty Nail used to be part of a trio of pub-ish destinations that were along the North Druid Hills and Buford Hwy intersection that also included Fluffy's and a third place that I find just beyond my memory. I do remember that if you lived in the area you went to one of the three and not the other two. I usually hit Fluffy's, mostly after Joe Dale became the chef as his gumbo was exceptional.

From the exterior you'll first see the bright yellow sign "The Rusty Nail" with a bent carpentry nail behind "Rusty" and the aforementioned smoking gun underneath. The building is this weird shaped building with a mansard roof that promises more weirdness within and it comes through in spades. The place is quite a bit bigger than it looks from the outside - our usual Buford Hwy Crawl group meets on Thursday nights and that also happens to be Trivia Night at The Rusty Nail so the place was packed. We still managed to squeeze into a table of this multi-compartmented interior with exposed beams to one side of a large bar.

Drinks and apps took a while, which is to be expected by the big crowd. I took to the Guiness as there wasn't much in the way of craft beer on the menu - there might have been other options but with the guys so busy I didn't want to be too obnoxious about it. The menu was fairly extensive with several American pub-style options. Besides the regular burgers and wings there were options for fish-and-chips which were recommended. We ordered up some fried pickles and cheese-and-bacon tater tots which were both quite good.

Having to make some type of decision was quite difficult as I wanted to try everything - also some of the others at the table seemed to be eating on the lighter side so not much opportunity to share with them. I opted for the BBQ plate that included the brisket and some pulled pork, with collards and green beans for sides (after finding out that they were made in house). This also came with a slab of herb buttered bread (more of an Italian bread but close enough to Texas Toast that I still ate and liked it). My buddy John F. Went for something similar with pulled pork and a side of fried okra (which I tried, also quite good).

In all the food was above average for pub food - I didn't care too much for the brisket - sorry but the thin sliced stuff just doesn't cut it for me - it just dries out too much and gets the texture of rubber bands. Service was very slow but I'll cut some slack as I've mentioned, the place was packed. The only real negative was the cloud of cigarette smoke - you don't realize it too bad after the initial hit but when I got home I had to leave my clothes outside. If you're sensitive, then this isn't your place.

-- John

(also posted to Yelp)
Rusty Nail Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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