Kitty J. Pope, founder and director of the International Association of Black Travel Writers, tells us that in Atlanta, it’s the nightlife that really makes the South rise again.
by KITTY J.POPE
There is much more to the city nicknamed “Hotlanta” than just touristy attractions and shopping malls. With world-class clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges and theaters, Atlanta has much to offer anyone looking for good night-time entertainment. Whether you’re in the mood for fast dancing, laid-back vibes or trendy outings, Atlanta’s nightlife has something for all entertainment needs.
Metro-Atlanta has hundreds of night spots for fun and entertainment.
There are about 115 nightclubs just in Midtown, the artsy district about midway between downtown Atlanta and the upscale, ritzy Buckhead area. There are over 60 nightclubs in downtown Atlanta, including hotspots at Underground Atlanta that sizzle at night.
There are almost 90 clubs in Buckhead, with some well-known for celebrity sightings. All year long, many night clubs and hotspots are open seven days a week until the wee hours. And that doesn’t count Atlanta’s many coffeehouses, sports bars, and lounges for your entertainment pleasure. For more information on various night spots, visit http://www.Atlanta.nightguide.com.
With a population of more than 4 million people, Metro-Atlanta has many venues for large-scale performances. Of course, you know about all the top entertainers that you can see at the Georgia Dome and Phillips Arena. These are the largest where mega-concerts are booked and you can see well-known stars like Atlanta’s own Usher, Jay-Z and Kanye West perform, many times to sold out crowds. Noted performers also play at the smaller Atlanta Civic Center.
In the summer, check out Buckhead’s Chastain Park Amphitheatre, where music lovers show up with picnic baskets, candelabras and drinks to enjoy entertainment under the night sky. You usually have to be out of these large-scale venues by about midnight, though.
But not at the Tabernacle’s, a venue that holds about 1,500 people with five levels and a restaurant; it is open until way past midnight. Entertainers like to LL Cool J, UB40 and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy have performed here. Another large night spot for partying until daybreak is the Masquerade, where you can catch live music by local and regional bands.
Other popular large spots include Earthlink Live, where mostly the younger, hip-hop generation hangs out, and the Cotton Club, with different types of entertainment for all age groups.
Two very swanky clubs that draw long lines every weekend are Compound and the Velvet Room, both predominately black settings. These clubs are for the upscale urban hip-hop crowd. Tourists who come to Atlanta seek these two out because stars like Sean “P-Diddy” Combs and rapper T.I. hang out here.
Most of the time you have to ‘dress to impress’ to get admitted. Be sure to bring plenty of money for a good time. You can rent a VIP room at these clubs starting at around $1,000 and bottles of champagnes and wines can cost hundreds.
You can also enjoy Atlanta’s cultural arts scene after dark. The Fox Theatre — also known as the Fabulous Fox — is the most popular for theater performances. Designed in the 1920’s, it is an historic landmark that presents shows by Broadway and Theater of the Stars, a noted summer movie series. This also is where you can see Atlanta Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” during the Christmas season.
Opening a little less than five years ago is the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, which has become one of Atlanta’s premier performing arts venues. Home to the Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Broadway Series, this is where you can catch many concerts, plays and theatrical acts.
Other places for culture performances and theater include the 14th St. Playhouse and Rialto Center for the Arts, located in the heart of Atlanta at Georgia State University. 7 Stages is a professional, non-profit theatre company with a focus on the social, political, and spiritual values of contemporary culture.
Another legendary culture venue in Atlanta is the Apache, an award-winning concert spot, cafe & art gallery in one. It is an intimate space with great food and a full bar.
If you are looking for smaller, quieter, more intimate venues, you could try Atlantic Station, a two-story movie theater in Midtown. There, you’ll find celebrity-attracting restaurants, lounges and sports bars where there are always crowds watching games and having fun until late.
There are many dinner theaters to choose from like Agatha’s, a comedy murder mystery dinner theater, where all the shows are original and the audience participates in the action. Atlanta also has several outdoor theaters where you can enjoy orchestra under the stars.
For late-night dining, check out Gibney’s downtown where the kitchen is open until 2 a.m. in the morning, and there is a dance floor, pool tables and big screen TVs.
For more information on nightlife in Atlanta, visit http://www.Atlanta.cityvisitorsguide.com.
All images courtesy of Kitty J. Pope