Atlanta, Georgia, affectionately dubbed “The A” by locals has been hailed as the hip-hop capital of the world, making the city a must-visit for lovers of rap music. However, the appeal of the ATL nightlife does not end there; there is something for everyone looking for a good time in Atlanta after sundown. Whether you want to see some world-class live music, get your sexy on at the club, or just chill out on the mellow tip at a sophisticated tapas lounge, you will find a perfect spot to suit your groove in the ATL.
There are a plethora of live music options for every type of music fan in Atlanta. Hit up the legendary Apache Cafe for your fix of hip-hop, soul, jazz, and spoken word, presented in an eclectic and artsy urban environment. 529 in the burgeoning East Atlanta Village is the place to be if you want to catch some gritty underground hip-hop and adventurous experimental music in a smoky dive bar atmosphere. For authentic live jazz check out world-class venues like Churchill Grounds and Twain’s Billiards and Tap, both of which have been listed among the top jazz clubs in the world by respected jazz authority Downbeat Magazine. For rock music, spots like the EARL (East Atlanta Village), longtime Atlanta staple Smith’s Old Bar (Midtown), or Star Community Bar in the famous Little Five Points neighborhood are local favorites. Larger but still intimate concert venues like the Variety Playhouse, the Tabernacle, and the Masquerade are great places to catch national touring acts as they roll through the A.
If you are looking to hit the club during your stay, you’ll want to focus on the Midtown and Buckhead sections of Atlanta. Havana Club and Tongue and Groove in Buckhead, and Reign, Vanquish, and Halo Lounge in Midtown are among the hottest dance clubs in the city. There are also more alternative clubbing options for those who like to stray a little from the beaten path; the literally underground MJQ Concourse in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood is a longtime local classic, and Soundtable in the Historic Old 4th Ward is an excellent choice if you want to dance and mingle in a more eclectic environment than you might experience at the more mainstream Buckhead/Midtown dance clubs.
Barcelona Wine Bar, Cellar 56, and Krog Bar are great choices if you want to get your grown and sexy on and enjoy gourmet tapas and fine wine in an urbane environment. If you want to keep it low-key but prefer a quirkier dive bar atmosphere, check out Eastside Lounge in East ATL Village, CHURCH in the Old 4th Ward, Clermont Lounge in Poncey-Highland (an ATL staple which doubles as a strip club), or 97 Estoria in Cabbagetown.
As a progressive and free-thinking hub within the traditionally conservative region, Atlanta is quite possibly the best city in the South for LGBT-friendly nightlife. Gay bars and clubs like Atlanta Eagle, Friends on Ponce, My Sister’s Room, the Heretic, the Model T, and Bulldog’s (a prominently African-American gay bar) are just a few examples of the thriving gay nightlife in the A.
The ATL is notorious for it’s strip club culture, made famous in Atlanta rap and R&B music, so if some after-hours adult entertainment is in your vacation itinerary you are in luck. Check out Club Onyx, Magic City, Goosebumps, Cheetah, Pink Pony, Queen City, or the Diamond Club for some of the best adult entertainment the A has to offer.
If you are a fan of good stand-up, you might want to hit up one of the city’s top-notch comedy clubs. Uptown Comedy Corner, Laughing Skull Lounge, Village Theatre, The Punchline, Dad’s Garage Theatre, and Relapse Comedy Theatre are some of the best comedy clubs in the ATL. Not only is Atlanta home to some great local comedians, but it is a frequent stop for established national comedians as well, so be sure to see who might be performing while you are in town.
Atlanta is one of the most vibrant cultural hubs in the US and certainly breaks the stereotypical mold of the old South. We recommend you check out the Creative Loafing on the web or pick up the print publication when you get into town to see what events are happening and get a feel for the culture. We think you will thoroughly enjoy the “Hotlanta” nightlife, so have a cold drink for us and stay cool!