In the Curbed Cup nominations phase, EAV boosters enthusiastically touted this eastside neighborhood’s mix of nightlife, foodie scene, and good ol’ fashioned community. What other place welcomes heavy metal and progressive rap artists to overtake its central business district for a day, as with the Project Pabst music festival in October? (Imagine Mastodon in, like, East Andrews). And 2016 proved that it really takes a village to pull together in the face of senseless tragedy at a multifamily project, Alexan Village Flats, that’s helped breathe new life into the district. Meanwhile, quintessential events like the East Atlanta Strut and stalwart businesses such Argosy, The Midway Pub, and Holy Taco kept rocking, while a long-planned facelift for the EAV’s western flank launched. For whatever reason, East Atlanta has never climbed exceptionally far in the Curbed Cup, getting toppled last year by eventual champ West End. Maybe 2016 will be special. But the first-round opponent is no pushover.
Inman Park dominated Atlanta’s inaugural Curbed Cup in 2011, and while the luminescent glory of such an accomplishment never fades, it’s a little surprising this relentlessly praised, inimitably beautiful residential destination hasn’t stomped back to the fake-trophy Promised Land since then. (IP came close in 2014, only to be bested by a few hundred votes in the Finals by neighbor Reynoldstown). As expected, 2016 was another big year for IP, with the Beltline’s Eastside Trail extension finally getting underway near Krog Street Market, which has solidified itself among the nation’s great food halls — and should be neighbor to even more redevelopment soon. Meanwhile, at Inman Quarter, restaurants such as Char and Bread & Butterfly became minor sensations themselves in 2016, as fan favorite Bell Street Burritos came back into the fold. Chockfull of high-earning former hippies and attorneys you'd like to have a beer with, Inman Park is a leafy showcase of stunning Victorians and smartly renovated bungalows, hugged by convenient arteries to downtown and the Beltline. And its annual festival is a stone-cold classic.