Atlanta nightlife for a new resident?
July 11, 2008 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Atlanta nightlife for a new resident: help me make more out of my first Friday night in Atlanta than more unpacking.

I just moved to Atlanta after spending four years in Washington, DC, and now that it's Friday it suddenly dawned on me that I have absolutely nothing to do.

I don't have any friends here to hang out with just yet. When faced with a night on my own, in DC, I could just walk over to Adams Morgan or U Street- cool areas of the city with all the bars, music clubs, a few dance joints, late-nite pizza, etc. I've heard some stuff about a place called Little Five Points but I have no idea if that's the same thing.

I'm pretty solid on the on your own/during the day stuff. I know all about and plan to visit the museums, touristy places, etc. But as far as a Friday/Saturday night goes, I'm a single 20-something and it would probably be helpful to my social life and sanity to know where the single 20-somethings are. (I suppose saying I'm a straight white male might be useful for context into what "fun" might be for me in particular.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Welcome to town! What part of the city are you currently living in?

Little 5 has got some places worth checking out... the Vortex has great burgers and the Euclid Ave Yacht Club is a charming dive bar with surprisingly good food. The Variety Playhouse has generally got some good concerts going on as well.

Further South on Moreland you'll hit another little oasis called East Atlanta. The Earl, Gravity Pub, Blue Frog Cantina, La Casitas, Mary's, etc etc... are all fun places to hit.

Back the other direction, across Ponce de Leon (late night pizza you asked? Fellini's on Ponce) is the Virginia Highlands area. Ever since Buckhead shut down, this area has gotten a little more "meat market"-y... but there are still some great bars and restaurants there. In particular, go enjoy a great martini at the Highland Tap, or have some beers and watch a baseball/football/basketball game at the Taco Mac.

If you're looking for a dance club... MJQ off of Ponce is generally pretty enjoyable. Check out their forums if you want to see what's going on when.

Lastly... and this is a total self link here... you should come over to Dad's Garage Theater. We're just down the street from Little 5 Points.

We're a comedy theater that does original scripted work and improv. Shows at 8 and 10:30 every TH, F and SA. Our audiences are full or "20-somethings" who come and buy buckets of beer and then watch the shows. Relapse Theater and Whole World Theater are two of the other improv groups here in town worth visiting, as well.

Hope you find this helpful... let me know if you want any more info about anything here in town. I've been in Atlanta over 10 years now (oh jeebus), so I know most of the areas well enough.
posted by BobFrapples at 9:44 AM on July 11, 2008

It would help to know what area of town you're living in to make it as convenient as possible for you. I don't know anything about the DC neighborhoods, so I cant' really compare them, but if it means anything, but here are a couple of neighborhoods where I spend a good deal of my time (even though I'm in an older demographic).

Little 5 Points is a nice area that has a good number of things to do. There are a number of bars and restaurants there. Variety Playhouse is also in this neighborhood if live music is your thing. Most of the bars are pretty pubbish rather than dance clubish there though.

East Atlanta Village, down Moreland from Little 5, is also a good neighborhood to check out. The Earl may be the best place in town to see up and coming indie rock acts (and it's not a bad bar to boot). In addition to the Earl, there are a number of different bars of varying levels of dive and above.

Neither neighborhood really has any dance clubs that I'm aware of though.
posted by trox at 9:57 AM on July 11, 2008

On preview, Doh! How could I forget MJQ! I lived next to it for 9 years.

If you head there, check out the bar called The Local right around the corner from it (right on Ponce). It's a great place to spend your pre-club time hanging out. It gets a good crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. And they make strong drinks.
posted by trox at 10:00 AM on July 11, 2008

Right, sorry... I'm living right by the Civic Center, which I guess is Midtown?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:05 AM on July 11, 2008

Are you in the ATL proper or are you somewhere else? It kind of matters b/c of traffic (if you haven't noticed already, hah). Bob hit a lot of the high points but there are things outside of VaHi/Little 5/Poncey-Highlands, just depends on what you are into, and where you are.

Let's see, you can go dancing at Compound or any number of other places (not my specialty here, alas). I would also check out Yelp for restaurant reviews - especially for places along Buford Highway, which is basically the Ethnic Food Mecca of our fair city.

Hmmm . . . oh, and there is EyeDrum, as well as about eighty billion small/community theaters, professional theaters, all that kind of stuff - you can check out Atlanta Performs for a decently comprehensive listing of that kind of thing, and you can get half price same day tickets for a lot of shows thru AtlanTIX (which is part of Atlanta Performs). Dad's is good, Shakespeare Tavern is in repertory right now I think.

Hopefully that's helpful. There are also tons of great places to eat - Fellini's as mentioned above, R Thomas Deluxe Grill is a personal favorite of mine (and open all night), Manuel's is a landmark kind of place, the local liberal bloggerati tend to hang out there - they have awesome Sunday brunch, too. Oh, and next to R Thomas is Huey's, where you can get some beignets.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:09 AM on July 11, 2008

Creative Loafing is probably the best resource on nightlife. You can pick up a paper copy from just about anywhere. It's free.

Little Five Points ain't what it used to be, but the Variety Playhouse does have good music. The Old 97s will be there on the 22nd. (If you do go to the Variety, ask for Robert and tell him "Nick Lowe!" while giving him a high five. He'll laugh.)

If you're looking for live indie/alt music, East Atlanta is probably where you want to be.

On the seedy side, there's always the Clermont Lounge on Ponce.

Slightly farther afield in Decatur, the Brickstore is a Damn Fine Bar and Eddie's Attic is a good place to see up and coming folkies. Both are non-smoking.
posted by donpardo at 10:15 AM on July 11, 2008

Right, sorry... I'm living right by the Civic Center, which I guess is Midtown?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:05 PM on July 11 [+] [!]

In that case, you should definitely go have a drink at my favorite place in the city... Trader Vic's Mai Tai bar underneath the downtown Hilton! It's on the corner of Peidmont and Harris streets, not far from the Civic Center.

Especially go on a Thurs night... a band called Tongo Hiti plays polynesian versions of 80's hits and it's a blast.
posted by BobFrapples at 10:31 AM on July 11, 2008

Saturday nights, Metalsome Live Rock Band Karaoke.

Dad's Garage is always a great time, anytime. Tonight is the opening of FWD in the Top Shelf of Dad's. It was co-created by Mefi's own clunkyrobot. I'll be there for the opening tonight.

If you want to meet a bunch of people who like to socialize join a local kickball team: WAKA.

Also, you should join the Atlanta People With Blogs Who Get Together To Drink. We meet once a month at a different restaurant to socialize and, well, drink. It's a very diverse and interesting group of bloggers.
posted by studentbaker at 1:01 PM on July 11, 2008

2nding BobFrapples all the way around.
posted by spilon at 1:03 PM on July 11, 2008

I second Dad's Garage... cold beer and wacky improv... woohoo!
posted by jplane at 1:34 PM on July 11, 2008

Yay! Atlanta!

Come out to Star Bar tonight! Two of my friends' bands are playing - Lust and Van Heineken (and I'll be making an ass of myself dancing with VH). Not to mention that VH is a Van Halen tribute, and the other band tonight is a Neil Diamond tribute. It's in Little 5 Points. If you come out, look for the girl with turquoise in the front of her hair (which is otherwise black)... say hello!

Variety Playhouse is a great place for a show, and definitely seconding the Old 97s. Dad's Garage is right down the road, too... so you can see Dr. Frapples! And become a fan of the magical Lucky Yates. And in Little Five, also try El Myr after you try the Yacht Club.

Definitely check out the EARL. East Atlanta is my comfort zone, but it has gotten sketchy of late - four people I know have been mugged, etc.

Oh, geez, please check out the Plaza Theater (a movie theater) and check out its special events. Then you can grab some grub at the Majestic Diner.

And if you're into that sort of thing, also look into ATL's burlesque scene... which is not akin the the Clermont. But DO go to the Clermont.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 4:34 PM on July 11, 2008

Ack! By "other band" I mean Nine Inch Neils, not Lust. Lust is just fun stuff.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 4:41 PM on July 11, 2008

Two of my friends' bands are playing - Lust and Van Heineken (and I'll be making an ass of myself dancing with VH). Not to mention that VH is a Van Halen tribute, and the other band tonight is a Neil Diamond tribute.

I will never leave the house without checking MeFi in the evening ever again.

posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:49 AM on July 12, 2008

How did I miss this?
posted by clunkyrobot at 12:25 PM on July 15, 2008

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