In one corner, the possible walkability capital of Atlanta. In the other, a spunky, funky community that doesn't back down from a challenge. Voting for each Curbed Cup pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!
Rivaling Midtown as the walkability capital of Atlanta, downtown Decatur has blossomed in recent years into a bona fide dining destination. Every few months it seems a new concept is introduced (hello, Kimball House and Chai Pani), and most of them tend to flourish, resulting in an eclectic culinary roster worthy of the spotlight this "city within a city" has enjoyed. (The American Planning Association anointed Decatur a Top 10 "great neighborhood" in the country this year). Often cited by East Coasters as the only place that feels like home, Decatur boasts terrific schools and direct MARTA access. Its evolution has felt organic, the antithesis of its mixed-use counterparts. Knocks against Decatur include its distance from the core of Atlanta and major interstates, and property taxes that are among the steepest in Georgia (and which parents will say are worth every dime).
In Cabbagetown, the drinks pour strong and history runs deep (the neighborhood's listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places). Through the ages, the tight-knit, gritty pride of this former mill town has propelled it through a series of challenges like joblessness, a damaging fire and that dastardly 2008 tornado. Famed for graffiti murals (and one man's surreptitious assault on taggers), Cabbagetown is full of charming shotgun houses, farmhouse Victorians, innovative lofts, and a new stock of contemporary houses. It boasts a tranquil centerpiece park, now with an adjoining dessert shop. Its watering holes retain the convivial, neighborly vibe of a Cheers rerun, and Carroll Street Cafe epitomizes the Atlanta brunch experience. Outsiders might find the occasional instances of high-profile crime and car break-ins troublesome, which like too much of Atlanta can lead to uneasiness while walking Cabbagetown at night.