Buckhead Bars and Nightlife
Over the years, we’ve seen the Buckhead bar and nightlife scene go through many changes and city ordinances. Around 1996 when a group of college students’ yearly spring break bash swelled to a whopping 250,000 attendees, the Old Guard put down its Topsider and there was a crackdown on general rowdiness. Random checkpoints along Peachtree and Piedmont sprang up and many establishments within “X” distance of residential neighborhoods were not allowed to play music after “Y” hour. Citations were written; enthusiasms were undercut.
Don’t get us wrong. Buckhead still has myriad houses of hooch and maybe we’re just getting old, but we’ve become more selective about when and where we enjoy an adult beverage, especially in Buckhead. Learn from our maturity and experience before stepping out to a Buckhead bar and love the nightlife – again.
Let’s face it, in Atlanta going to a bar and just drinking has become passé. That doesn’t mean we don’t go to restaurants and drink. We do. Maybe it costs more but we don’t mind parting with our hard earned dollar at Buckhead’s Holeman and Finch Public House. Of course they are known as an exceptional eatery, but the craft cocktails and generous pours will get us in the door when we’re merely thirsty. The other saloon that just happens to have great food is the Local Three. The bottle line on this place is that we are happy to drink anywhere that makes reference to The Big Lebowski. From the velvet painting of the Dude at the entrance to the “Urban Achiever” on the drink menu, this place is all right with us. They carry a better selection of bourbons than a lot of bars around the ‘hood, too.
There used to be more places around the Buckhead to see live music, but the aforementioned noise ordinances and ASCAP fees have curtailed this a bit. The best live music venue for our buck is the Buckhead Theatre. With the $6 million overhaul came a state-of-the-art sound system and a fancy lounge in the hopes that folks will stick around after the show and keep party going.
Of course there are plenty of hotel bars that are worth a look. For example, the Southern Art and Bourbon Bar located in the InterContinental Hotel just makes us smile. It’s all Southern charm and comfort food with a wall of bourbon. How could you possibly go wrong with that? The proprietor is Art Smith who is a cookbook writer and chef. He’s also the founder of Common Threads, a non-profit organization designed to teach low-income children how to prepare healthy and affordable meals. We can get behind a glass and raise it for that.
The rooftop bar Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel is certainly no slouch and great place to spot Atlanta’s young and fabulous. The Grand Hyatt’s Onyx Lounge is pretty cozy and sexy as well. And, if you spy someone canoodling, you really can say, “Get a room!”