Cabbagetown’s abundant history has fostered a neighborhood that is glaringly multifaceted and communal. In the heart of this is Milltown Arms Tavern, a family-owned bar and grill serving affordable, quality food and drinks.
Georgia State’s student and faculty body will find that the bar’s values align with those of the university. The restaurant underlines much regard to community and assorted culture, which makes Milltown the perfect spot for winding down during the weekends.
The bar’s easy going atmosphere encapsulates the spirit of its local environment. In fact, the bar’s very name is a gesture of respect to the neighborhood’s industrial background, as the town was once home to the Cotton and Fulton Bag mills.
“As many know, before calling our neighborhood Cabbagetown, it was known as Mill Town, hence the name [of the tavern being] ‘Milltown’,” co-owner Barbara Harper said. “‘Arms’ reminds us of the old inns you’ll find throughout England and Ireland.”
Harper references the essence of those English inns as a guide for Milltown: “The Inns provide establishment with a good, interesting environment with reasonably priced comforting and filling menu fare.”
A Rich History
Milltown Arms swung open its doors August 2005 as the brainchild of four friends in the restaurant business. However, the tavern underwent some significant reorganization, mirroring key aspects of Cabbagetown’s history. Three part-owners had departed their roles, leaving Chris McGinness in charge. But something special was already brewing in the background that would take the pub in a new direction.
“Fortunately, two of his family members had lost their jobs. Chris invited them to be a part of Milltown, and Milltown became a family-owned business,” Harper said. Now, the tavern is owned and operated by Chris, HJ McGinness and Harper.
Here again, the impregnable connection between town and company resurfaces. Kinship has become not only a facet of the tavern’s internal structure, it is also the natural approach to their relationship with customers. 180 Carroll Street appears to have been the destined location for Milltown Arms, and Harper agrees.
“Cabbagetown is a community of neighbors caring about each other. The diversity of the neighborhood makes Milltown the perfect setting,” Harper said.
Like the neighborhood itself, Milltown has a background rooted in the spirit of reinvention and collectivism. The tavern is a retreat where everyone is a valued member of its populace.
“Our mantra is ‘give people a reason to visit us at least once a day.’ It might be a meeting with friends, enjoying a couple of beers or a glass of wine,” Harper said.
The Vibe and Menu
Milltown touts a sense of familiarity and ease for its customers. Students can go casually dressed with friends and are guaranteed to have a great time, just as regular visitors do.
“The feeling is a place that is warm and cozy. You walk in and your name is greeted. Yes, it is a kind of Cheers type place,” Harper said, referring to the classic tv series.
Patrons of the brick-structured tavern dine in a spacious bar area that features eight high top tables and wall art created by locals. Every month, Milltown Arms connects with a different visual artist whose work goes on display throughout the facility.
“Our walls are filled with a monthly artist work. We work with emerging artists and have art openings or meet-the-artists’ once a month. The artist brings their friends and family and share a complimentary glass of wine,” Harper said.
Televisions are mounted around the bar, which allows sports fans to cheer on their favorite teams, all while enjoying a cold beer and filling bites. Milltown’s selection of brews aims to accommodate any palate offering international brands, like the classic Guinness, Belgium’s Hoegaarden and Smithwick’s, an Irish red-ale.
For those who prefer the flavors that Georgia has to offer, Sweetwater and Creature Comfort (Harper recommends “Tropicalia”) beers are on hand as well. As for food, the owner has a few staple recommendations too. Think customizable and specialty burgers, and out of this world bagels.
“You can build your hamburgers or have an original on an Emerald City bagel. Of course, our jumbo wings are the best wings on Carroll Street,” Harper said.
The delectable menu ranges from Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese to a chipotle hummus plate and a pita taco sandwich. There is even a “From the Garden” section on the list with vegetarian-friendly dishes, including a salad comprised of a super food blend and vidalia onion dressing.
The aforementioned monthly artist collaboration is just one way Milltown gives back to the community. Weekly events like trivia night and darts are a few fun tools used to bring people together with the tavern acting as the facilitator. Maintaining this mood of inclusiveness, while actively providing a safe space for all to gather is what distinguishes Milltown from the rest. Harper said, “Milltown is noted to be a place to support community events.”
In addition, the restaurant partners with local organizations where it provides various types of support.
“We [are] quite involved with the annual Chomp and Stomp, starting with the 5K Romp and Stomp at Milltown and being involved with the distribution of the liquor and beer for the event,” Harper said. “Throughout the year the community, freely, has many events [such] as fundraisers and birthday parties.”
It is this sheer dedication to Cabbagetown and its neighbors that keep people pouring into Milltown Arms. It is a place of solace and welcomeness, an integral goal for its owners.
“You can walk into Milltown at any time of the day and have a comfortable feeling,” Harper said.
Milltown Arms Tavern is open seven days a week. Visit them online at www.milltowntaverncabbagetown.com.
- Recently added outside patio
- Large bar area
- Specialty Burgers
- Mushroom Fries
- Cabbagetown Rolls
- Jumbo Wings