I went for the first time to Grain with friends and we went roughly at 11:30pm on a Monday night and the place was small, but had plenty of open seats! This was a great bar to catch up with friends and I could also see it being a cute place to get drinks after a date too. I liked the classy and dark ambience to the bar. My friends Morgan and Katie ordered the Midtown Mule ($9). Morgan said this drink was too pungent for her but I personally liked it when I tried a sip. To me, the pineapple cancelled out an overly vodka taste! Katie said really liked it as well because the juices in it made it a little sweeter than a normal Moscow mule. For me, I ordered the Hemingway cocktail ($9). I believe this drink contained rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and a couple other of ingredients. It was too bitter for my taste so I found myself adding some lime and water to the cocktail. I would not get this drink again. The bartender was also extremely nice and I enjoyed speaking with him!
5Church is awesome, y'all! I recently visited for dinner on a Thursday night. We started off with a round of cocktails. The Viper is true to its name. I loved the blend of tequila, cucumber, and cayenne pepper. For a starter, we noshed on the tuna tartare and pastrami-cured hamachi (think sushi-grade fish thinly sliced and topped with a radish garnish). Both were delicious. We then had the charred octopus, which was perfect. For entrees, we shared a few of the main courses including the filet with mashed potatoes (classic) and a vegetarian special: mushroom sausage. I'd never had anything like that before which wasn't tofu and I was pleasantly surprised. With our meal, our server helped us pick out a lovely bottle of pinot noir. Service was great. The whole staff at 5Church Atlanta aims to please. Also, 5Church just started lunch service, so I'll have to get back down there to see what's on the menu. I highly recommend this place - it's as good as it gets in Midtown ATL.
Came here for a COT Thursday networking event. The ambiance is really awesome and the decor is very swanky with a modern retro twist. The catered freshly chef prepared food was a little too artistic for the crowd I was with though. Many people at the event had a hard time trying some of the exotic chef inspired dishes, which I thought were very unique and tasty. The polite and attentaive servers and bartenders constantly cleared empty dishes/glasses and inquired to replenish patrons with new drinks. The downstairs is not adequately sound isolated causing the room to get very loud from the echos of people talking. The outside bar/lounge area supplies the perfect view of Midtown. I am definitely looking forward to trying the food and cocktails at the actual upstairs restaurant.
I had really high hopes for 5Church. Cool location, awesome decor and an interesting menu. After having been twice, now, though, I can't say I'll be going back. The food is average - good, but the portions are so small for what you're paying for. I'm not trying to spend a fortune on an appetizer and salad. They also still have a few things to work out in the kitchen - they brought us a vegan dish with bacon on it, for instance. I'm hoping they can expand the lunch menu to be comparable to their other locations - the one now is super limiting. Hopefully they are still working out kinks and will be able to show us a better experience next time.
This place is where Korean and Mexican food meet. It is a most try if you're ever on this side of town. I can truly say that I had the best Shrimp taco that I have ever had in my life here. It was amazing and is now my go to dish. The bibim-bop is another one of my favorites. When entering the restaurant you walk up to the counter and place your order then you can have a seat outside or inside. Once your food is ready someone will bring it out to you. The margarita was nice and strong which is a plus for me. I enjoy sitting outside with my tacos and margaritas after a long day at work. This also a great spot to meet up and watch the game.
This place was fantastic! There's something about knowing the phone number and going in through a phone booth that feels so special! We actually came from upstairs; we'd eaten at Amalfi prior. The cocktails were seriously delicious. You can't go wrong with any of them! The service was excellent and everyone who came to our table told me happy birthday. The vibe itself is amazing, with dark wood paneling, a painted ceiling and plush couches. You're able to smoke cigars there, but the filtration system makes the air very breathable. The waiter had fantastic suggestions of what to order. All in all, it was a fantastic night!
It's all true :) This place is fantastic. If you're looking for a _large_ selection of beer, excellently prepared bar food with vegetarian options, hip atmosphere and good service. I went there on a week night, sat at one of the many tables in the back. We got recommendations for beer and orders black bean burger / mussels / cesar salad. I messed up my order and asked for the arugula side salad after the order was already in; it got delivered promptly and didn't show on the bill. Wow. Service was prompt and with a smile. Prices very fair for the quality. We had a great time and will be back.
This is always my go to spot after a good workout. The food here is always fresh and is always delicious. I try not to order the same thing when I go , but the almond chicken skewers are amazing! This is a dish packed with protein.They have great salads with ten different proteins choices to add on. The panini sandwich are also a great choice. You can't really go wrong here. The staff is friendly and efficient That's one of the things that I love about this place is that I'm in and out. You do have to park in a garage so, don't forget to get your ticket so, that the cost is taken care of.
I visited Verde a few years ago and wasn't impressed; however, I was completely blown away during my last experience about a week ago. The service was fantastic and accommodating, especially considering our large group and multiple needs. The four dips (queso, salsa, black bean dip and guac) were amazing and possibly some of the best dips in the city. The quesadilla I had was pretty good. And, the margarita was great! I had one margarita and it was strong but not overbearing. The prices were great, and I had a fantastic time. I'm definitely going back.
Ladybird is one of the most popular spots on the BeltLine. They have a massive camp-style patio that they just redid, with a lot of seating and drinks for purchase outside away from the crowded bar inside. It's difficult to get a table here on the weekends unless you arrive early, and expect to wait for drinks on a nice day. Sometimes a little frustrating, but worth it because the atmosphere is so great. The food is very good and definitely unique - the entire concept is cool and fresh, unlike anything else in Atlanta. Extremely dog friendly!
There has perhaps never been a better tool for do-it-yourself home handymen than the internet. With detailed instructions and videos explaining how to perform a number of common maintenance and renovation tasks around a house, an untrained homeowner might be surprised at how much he or she can accomplish with a quick search online. But even with all of this information, there are still many jobs that lie far outside the scope of most DIY enthusiasts. General contractors are there to fill in this gap.
A general contractor specializes in seeing a home remodel or repair project through from start to finish. To do this, the contractor works with the client - whether they are a homeowner or business - to nail down the scope of the work. Then he or she will turn to one or more subcontractors for specific tasks, like equipment operation, design, electrical work or whatever else is needed.
In essence, general contractors could be thought of as middlemen between a homeowner or business owner and any number of specialists. To get their money's worth, many assume they should just "cut out the middleman" and hire specialists directly, but this often proves more difficult in practice. General contractors won't be completing an entire project by themselves, but should have a long list of dependable experts who can work together and accomplish any task. They might also serve as the manager on the site of a construction project, overseeing workers and providing guidance and assistance when needed. For larger projects, though, the contractor might only handle administrative matters and employ a foreman or other professional for on-site supervision.
There are many general contractors who also specialize in certain tasks themselves. There is usually at least one general contractor on hand to organize the construction of an entire home, for example. But general contractors could also help a homeowner add an additional bedroom, build an in-ground pool or complete a major landscaping project. They could also work with a business to add or improve office space, whether that means making more room or converting a commercial building from a nail salon to a restaurant. Basically, if it's a job that involves building or repairing, a general contractor probably knows how to get it done.
No matter what the exact job may be, a contractor will probably need to accomplish several other essential tasks in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which may include:
- Understanding and applying for building permits to meet local regulations
- Organizing a budget and adhering to it throughout the project
- Gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, from hammers and shovels to large excavators and generators
- Securing the construction site and equipment after work hours
- Working with personnel on-site to address any issues
- Keeping records of materials, labor and all other expenses
Every general contractor performing any kind of work on a project must be licensed to do so in their state. The guidelines for the specifics on licensing vary from state to state. Some states might only require registration of contractors, which is different from licensing. Registration typically means that there must be a written record of what work is being performed and by whom, but it does not guarantee professional knowledge. Licensing, on the other hand, involves an examination process to assess professional competence.
Whether your state requires licensing or registration of contractors, there should be a record of most professionals willing to complete certain projects in your area. Check your state or county website for more information. In states that require licensing, every licensed contractor's contact information is available online or from another public source.
Not every project needs to be completed by a licensed or registered contractor. If it's just a minor job that won't take more than a day or two, and will cost less than a few hundred dollars, it's likely not necessary to find a licensed or registered contractor. However, anything bigger or more expensive, or a project involving plumbing or electrical work, needs to be completed by a licensed or registered professional.
General contractors also must be covered by an insurance policy. This should include liability coverage for any property damage that could be inflicted in the course of a job. It should also include a worker's compensation policy in case anyone is injured on the job. Before hiring a contractor for anything, ask for written proof of this insurance to see exactly what is covered.
A number of trade associations for contractors in the U.S. exist. Some of the biggest include:
- Associated General Contractors of America: Represents more than 6,500 general contracting firms and more than 9,000 specialty contractors nationwide.
- Associated Builders and Contractors: Represents non-union contracting firms.
Most trade associations for general contractors will provide references for anyone looking to hire a contractor for a specific project. They may also provide a number of benefits for their members, including assistance with licensing, training, insurance and business development.
Hiring a General Contractor
No matter what you need accomplished, you want to choose a contractor who can get the job done right at a reasonable price. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure you find a trustworthy general contractor.
Finding general contractors
The first, and perhaps most reliable, way to find a general contractor is to ask friends and family members for a recommendation. If you know anyone who has had major work done on their home, particularly if it's a similar job, ask them who they hired and if they were pleased with the result. You could also ask neighbors about who they've hired if you notice work being done on their house. Many remodeling contractors post signs in front of homes to advertise their services. As a general rule, it's rarely a good idea to hire a contractor who solicits work by going door to door.
If you are considering hiring a contractor without a personal recommendation, ask the contractor for references from past clients, and do as much background research on them as possible. Look for any complaints (or compliments) online to get a better idea of their track record. There are a number of websites specializing in connecting contractors with people or businesses who need work done. These sites may also allow past clients to submit their own reviews of the contractor.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you are both in agreement on the project's budget. It's normal for most contractors to charge clients a premium not only for the labor expenses and zoning expertise, but for acquiring the materials as well. Be as clear and concise as possible regarding what you'll be purchasing yourself and what you will be paying the contractor to complete. Homeowners may be able to find a better deal on raw materials when they purchase these directly, but they first need to be sure they aren't buying the wrong things.
Don't forget to discuss how the project will be finalized and what will be done about cleanup. Plans for how the work site will be cleaned at the end of each day as well as at the conclusion of work need to be put in writing. An experienced general contractor should make every effort to keep the workspace clean and prevent dirtying or damaging any other area. Even so, talk with the contractor about the daily schedule, the logistics of transporting workers and equipment, and how cleanup will be handled.
As previously mentioned, you need to make sure to follow any state and local regulations regarding construction work, which includes hiring a licensed or registered general contractor. Ask the contractor for proof of their certification before signing anything, as well as their proof of insurance. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to see if they offer coverage for contracted work. You may want to call your insurance provider and ask for more details on what your plan will and won't cover.
Perhaps the best way to feel safe about a contractor and the work being done is to hire a contractor you trust. This is why relying on personal references from friends and family is so important, and will often provide a great deal of peace of mind. If you aren't able to obtain a reference, work to conduct extensive research on the contractor as well as the work you are hiring them to perform. This should bring everyone's expectations into alignment and result in a safe work environment.
Before any money changes hands, there should be a contract to sign. Make sure the specifics of the work to be done and all costs are listed in the contract, right down to the most precise details. If you forget to have something included in the contract after signing it, there's rarely a chance of recourse.
Once the specifics of the job are nailed down, be sure to discuss the payment schedule with the contractor. This is important because paying too much up front offers the homeowner minimal leverage if the quality of work does not meet expectations or contractual specifications. Try to establish a reasonable pay schedule with the contractor, such as paying 10 percent of the total cost for each 10 percent of the work that is completed. It's a good idea to include this payment plan in the contract as well.
Finally, look into getting a lien release signed before work begins. If there is ever a dispute regarding payment over the course of the project, a contractor or subcontractor could place a payment claim, or lien, on your property. This can trigger a long legal process that may be frustrating. To avoid this, ask the contractor to sign a lien release, which is a legal agreement that states that any payment accepted is final. This can come in handy if a contractor has his or her own payment issues with their subcontractors. Signing a lien release form certifies that any payment made by a client to the contractor is enough to pay for any goods or services rendered. A lien dispute could also be prevented by performing due diligence prior to picking a contractor, as any contractor with good credit and a long track record of satisfied clients should have no trouble paying for materials and labor once all contract conditions have been met.
Once work is underway, it's never a bad idea to check up on the progress of the job, either by staying in touch with the contractor over the phone or visiting the site in person. If you work with a trustworthy professional, it's probably best to keep your distance and allow everyone to stay busy. If you want to keep an eye on things, make sure workers wear the right safety gear and that everything looks to be moving along according to schedule. Finally, once work is finished and you are satisfied, be sure to thank your contractor and tell friends or family members about your experience.