atlanta: keepin' it sleazy.

Some friends are headed to the ATL for one night only and wanted some entertainment tips. It was tough, due to the diverse, idiosyncratic, budget minded nature of this group of friends, so I just approached it as if it was me stranded on a Monday night in Brookhaven without a car.

Well, as if it were a budget-minded version of me. This is tough, as little gives me more reliably perverse pleasure than spitting on my own budget's grave; my first ATL inclinations would be to go to Sala or Tierra, or somewhere similar where I could seriously deplete my cash/credit reserves while seriously treating my giant hungry tooth to good eats...and then go do some of the other shit listed below.

Travel is another moneysucker: one of many negatives about the urban (and suburban) sprawl of Atlanta is that you must have a car to be truly mobile. Or a lot of money for cab fares: they pile up quick if you're carless and you don't have all night to try and get somewhere useful via MARTA.

For the options outlined below, the most cost-effective way to get to options B and C would probably be to take MARTA from Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station to either Midtown Station, North Ave. Station, or Five Points Station, then take a bus or cab to any of the destinations below (specifics follow).


OK, so now...the list. Keep in mind that this is a budget-minded version of me who's apparently trying to re-live his mid-20s.

So. I'd probably do one of these (in ascending order of adventurousness):


Take a moderately expensive cab (or hopefully hotel courtesy van) to Hae Woon Dae. The point of this option would be to experience a real Chamblee strip mall, an evening of real Korean BBQ, and plenty of real unusual (but pleasantly so) atmosphere, followed by a relatively early bedtime. To dramatically increase the adventurousness of this option, you could visit one of the next-door strip clubs for some concerned frowns, intimidating stares, assuredly ethnic booty, and maybe even some exciting gunplay.

This option has collapsed under the impossibility of its own logistics. There's just no reasonable way to get a larger group of people out there from Brookhaven without a car service, and I'm not sure that's in the budget. My suggestion of cabbing it to Buford Highway was met with tremendous skepticism by locals still living in the ATL.


Take MARTA from Brookhaven Station to Midtown Station. Take the #45 bus (Virginia-Highland) and get off at the intersection of Virginia and Highland. Or take a cab from North Ave. Station to the intersection of Virginia and Highland.

Your destination is: my old watering hole in Virginia-Highland, the Highland Tap, for deadly deadly martinis, icy-cold Sierra Nevadas, and a superb burger or steak, possibly followed by either: Taco Mac across the street for their legendary beer selection (and hey Monday is trivia night, giving you the equilibrium-testing challenge of using your brain while simultaneously reducing its usefulness).

Other dining options in the Virginia-Highland area will appear here shortly.

Note: Should you feel invincible-livered, Option B1 puts you in an excellent position to combine Options B and C, but the degree of difficulty is high here. Read on for details.

If you're just looking to extend Option B1, you could enjoy a pleasant 15-minute postprandial stroll south down N. Highland to Option C below. It's a pleasant walk even if you decide to forego Option C but just want some exercise and a nightcap: The Righteous Room is where I'd go, and then call a cab from there.

Or you could take a cab to Heavy Metal Karaoke (with live band!) at 10 High Club (under the Dark Horse Tavern). Mara said it rocked.

Remember MARTA only runs til midnight, so...if things get out of hand, cabbing it back to Brookhaven will probably punch a $30 hole in your wallet.

Take MARTA from Brookhaven Station to Five Points Station, then take the #3 bus (Auburn Ave / MLK Drive) east to Euclid Ave and get off in front of the Variety Playhouse. Or take a cab directly to the Variety Playhouse.

Your destination is: my old watering hole in Little Five Points, the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, for a pulled BBQ pork sandwich, good beers, and entertaining camaraderie. There's a few more blocks' worth to investigate here, but really...it's hard to consider L5P a nighttime destination in itself these days without a show to go see there. During the day....maybe, for CD/LP shopping, but still...not a terribly rich seam to mine 'less you just wanna drank.

Pictorially, About.com hits some highlights of Little Five with this pictorial, but geez, here are some more nostalgic pictures from pre-digital times, 1998!

Take MARTA from Brookhaven Station to North Ave Station, then either take the #2 bus (Ponce de Leon) to Highland & Ponce de Leon, or take a cab directly to the Clermont.

Your destination is: the Clermont Lounge. To quote Wikipedia: "The Clermont is perhaps best-known for featuring dancers who do not meet the traditional physical standards for strippers, the most famous of which is Blondie, notable for her ability to completely flatten empty beer cans between her breasts." To say that the Clermont strippers do not meet traditional standards is...accurate. The only downside here is the shitty canned beer selection, but...you're slumming.

The Clermont should be followed or preceded by a greasy pie at Fellini's Pizza, or a decent Cuban sandwich at La Fonda Latina (I wouldn't order anything other than this or the paella here). Don't expect greatness at either of these places, you're there for the patio and because I used to go there. There's also the Majestic, which really only makes sense when taken in tandem with the Clermont or similar debauchery.

Safety Note: you will probably snap this relatively quickly, but just in case: this is not really an area of town to randomly explore on foot unless you're up for "real adventure". Stick to Ponce de Leon Ave, walk tall, and don't talk to anybody on the street unless you're trying to score some drugs. And if you are, don't follow anyone anywhere to get them. Unless you really need them. And then, well...take it sleazy, bro.


And speaking of scoring...you should also at some point try to score a HOT Krispy Kreme donut if you haven't had one. But don't bother looking for one if you're not prepared to wait for the HOT NOW sign in the window to light up, cos otherwise....it's just a donut.