In terms of sheer variety, Atlanta has long ruled the Southeast in gay nightlife. The scene has undergone a number of changes in recent years, though several long-running favorites (Blake's, Burkhart's, Heretic, the Eagle, Jungle Atlanta) continue to pull in big crowds. In addition to great bars, you'll find plenty of cool, gay-friendly coffee houses and restaurant lounges around the region, several of them included in this list. Here's a look at some of the top gay bars in Atlanta, listed in alphabetical order.
Address502 Amsterdam Ave NE A, Atlanta, GA 30306, USA
If this attractive bar had a tagline, it might be "finally, a bar for the rest of us." Atlanta's gay club scene can feel a bit stand-and-model at times, or too finely pigeonholed by type. Amsterdam Atlanta (502-A Amsterdam Ave. NE, 404-892-2227), refreshingly, is the kind of bar where just about anyone might feel welcome. It's mostly a guys' spot, but women often hang out here, and you'll see a nice mix of ages, styles, races, and so on. Part of the draw is the variety of diversions, including a nice section with pool tables - Amsterdam feels a bit like a laid-back sports bar during the week (especially after work), but it draws more of a crowd on weekends. There's also a casual restaurant serving sandwiches, wraps, wings, and the like.
Address306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
Some of the Eagle gay bars in the world have become fairly standard cruise bars over the years, but the Atlanta Eagle (306 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, 404-873-2453) remains true to its roots - an authentic leather-and-Levi's bar, in a city that still has a loyal following for this sort of a hangout. This is pretty much ground-central for bears, cubs, leather daddies, and hard-core cruisers. Gets bonus points for having a very fun-loving staff.
Address1198 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318-5580, USA
Bacchanalia & Star Provisions (1198 Howell Mill Rd., 404-365-0410) are the anchors of a transformation that has turned West Midtown, a formerly downcast industrial area a couple of miles across I-75/I-85 from Midtown's gay scene, into a hotbed of edgy design shops, hipster bars, and trendy restaurants. At this beautifully rehabbed space you'll find the long-running contemporary American restaurant Bacchanalia, as well as the newer, elegant dining room, Little Bacch; in the front of the space, Star Provisions is an upscale deli, gourmet food shop, and cafe serving delicious sandwiches and salads, plus a shop with fine kitchenwares, gourmet cheeses, a first-rate butcher, and more. Walk back behind the main restaurant and you'll find yourself in the heart of the Westside Provisions District, overlooking a courtyard (pictured here) that's home to the casually hip JCT. Kitchen & Bar and Sid Mashburn clothing shop. A pedestrian bridge leads over rail tracks to more shops and galleries, plus famed chef Ford Fry's exquisite steakhouse, Marcel. Jack Spade, Jonathan Adler, Room & Board, and Perrine's Wine Shop are a few more reasons to check out this campus of design and dining.
Address2043 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE #1, Atlanta, GA 30324-4927, USA
With its much-appreciated stable of hot go-go boys (the lap dances here are reputedly the best in town), this cruise-y, not-so-subtly named men's strip bar on Cheshire Bridge Road is a consistent hit with guys of all ages (although tending toward the 40-plus set many evenings). BJ Roosters (2043 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, 404-634-5895) moved into a larger and more attractive space in 2013, just down the street from its former location in a shopping mall (it's now a neighbor of another long-running bar in these parts, Heretic Atlanta). For fans of male Latino strippers, who make up a substantial percentage of the go-go staff, BJ's is nirvana. If that's the sort of thing that gets your blood flowing, don't miss this place...
Address227 10th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309-3706, USA
There was a time when Blake's (227 10th St. NE, 404-892-5786), despite its attractive decor (exposed-brick walls, cheerful sun porch) and appealing location near Piedmont Park and several good restaurants, seemed a bit too stuck up for its own good. And true enough, it still draws an awfully pretty bunch of boys (and more than a few girls). But the 'tude has softened a bit over the years, and once you fight your way past the occasional posse of plastics, you'll find some genuinely friendly barflies here (and a very nice staff). There's no question that it's highly popular place and a good bet for visitors trying to get a sense of the gay Atlanta scene.
Address893 West Peachtree Street Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30309-3910, USA
For more than 30 years, this hugely popular gay club smack in the center of Midtown has been going strong as one of the largest and most successful African-American GLBT hangouts in the country. Always drawing good-sized crowds, especially on weekends, Bulldog's (893 Peachtree St. NE, 404-872-3025) tends toward a fairly cruisy mix of guys in their 30s and 40s, though you'll see more than a few younger men, too, especially late on weekends. There are a few different spots to settle in with a drink and mingle or cruise, but in the warm weather, the large patio is the best place to congregate. Although the clientele is predominantly black, the staff and crowd couldn't be more welcoming of all kinds, whatever your race.
Gay bars and businesses have come and gone over the years to Ansley Square Shopping Center, a homo-frequented strip mall a bit north of Piedmont Park, but rambling Burkhart's (1492 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-872-4403) has been a dependable, friendly fixture for seemingly eons. The bi-level space is great for people-watching (you can spy on cuties on the main floor from a second-floor railing up above), shooting pool, and belting out tunes during the famed Monday and Tuesday karaoke nights. The interior is happily cluttered and old-school, which actually feels pleasant given the self-consciously chic interiors of many newer spots. The on-site restaurant serves pretty tasty burgers, steaks, and other traditional American fare, too.
Address1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-4923, USA
Situated beside the retro-fabulous (and surprisingly well-maintained) Cheshire Motor Inn on slightly seedy Cheshire Bridge Road, the The Colonnade (1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, 404-874-5642) has been delighting fans of old-school Southern cooking since 1927 (there's a great picture of some of the restaurant's vintage menus on the website). As it's both an Atlanta institution and one of the nearest eateries to the several gay nightspots in this part of town, the Colonnade draws a truly diverse crowd, from little old ladies who lunch to boisterous drag queens to working joes to cruise-y dudes. Eating here provides a genuine (and delicious) glimpse into an earlier era in Atlanta - think salmon croquettes, chicken-fried steak, grilled calf's livers, fried or broiled oyster and shrimp platters, and gloriously rich desserts like coconut ice box pie and hot fudge cake.
Address57 13th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
CosmoLava (45 13th St., 404-873-6189) is a sprawling entertainment and clubbing complex on an attractive block in Midtown, comprising several indoor-outdoor spaces. The main sections are Cosmopolitan Lounge, which has a lush deck and dramatic indoor bar with swanky seating and a plush feel, and the connected dance club, Lava, with several bars on three floors. Most nights, the crowd is more hetero than not, but there are occasional gay parties, and it's definitely a gay-friendly space, making it popular with mixed groups of friends looking for a fun place to dance to top area DJs.
Address466 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312-1838, USA
Devoutly weird Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium (466 Edgewood Ave. SE, 404-522-8275) sits right in the heart of the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, just east of the interstate from downtown and close to Sweet Auburn, Cabbagetown, and Inman Park. Unquestionably the domain of adoring hipsters (as is Sound Table, across the street), Sister Louisa's is also one "church" that loves its gays - just be warned that you not of the skinny-jeans-attired may be in the minority). The irreverently kitschy artwork (from a "Fart Face" mural to all manner of often very funny "religious" art - "Jesus [hearts] a Thirsty Pussy," Crack Moms for Christ") is for sale - this is a gallery, too. And the interior contains an actual church organ, where an actual organist plays. There's all sorts of fun going on in here, especially during the wickedly infamous Monday night Ping-Pong tourneys. Come with an open mind - Jesus would. There's a second, newer outpost of Sister Louisa's in the hip college town of Athens, Georgia.
Ecco (40 7th St. NE, 404-347-9555) began earning acclaim right out the gate, when Esquire magazine named it "best new restaurant" of the year. Part of the group of notable, gay-popular Atlanta eateries that includes South City Kitchen, La Tavola, El Taco, Alma Cocina, and Lure, this beautiful Midtown eatery typically packed with beautiful people has one of the best see-and-be-seen patios in the city - it's a great place for dinner or pre-dinner cocktails. Inside or out, you can dine on ethereal charcuterie and cheese plates, a wood-fired pizza topped with pancetta and smoked mozzarella, or main dishes like roasted quail with farro verde, chorizo, pea tips, and sherry gastrique. Prices are surprisingly reasonable for such an esteemed dining destination.
Address1077 Juniper St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309-4046, USA
A top brunch spot with gay folks since 1991, Einstein's (1077 Juniper St., 404-876-7925) occupies a cool old house in Midtown with a beautiful patio and a similarly handsome interior. The famed Einstein's brunch menu is available on weekends from 9 until 4 and features such favorite standbys as spinach-strawberry salad with salmon, mixed-berry crumble French toast, barbecue pulled-pork stack with scrambled eggs, and buttermilk fried chicken eggs Benedict. Cranberry crush cocktails (with rum, cranberry, and ginger) make a nice accompaniment, whether at brunch, lunch, or dinner.
Address1510 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324, USA
A friendly, if quite tiny, gay neighborhood bar in the tres gay Ansley Square strip mall across from Piedmont Park in Atlanta's Midtown area, Felix's (1510 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-249-7899) is a simple little gay hangout that's fun for early-evening drinks, hanging out with friends, chatting with the friendly staff, and fueling up on relatively affordable cocktails before heading out later to one of Atlanta's more popular, late-night gay clubs.
Address1000 Marietta St NW #204, Atlanta, GA 30318-0683, USA
Plenty of well-crafted microbrews are served at 5 Seasons Brewing (1000 Marietta St. NW, 404-875-3232, with additional locations in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta), a convivial and very popular brewpub in the city's trendy West Midtown district. The rooftop patio is a great place to while away an afternoon, sampling Berliner Weisse, Venus Belgian White Ale, English IPA, and the like. Count on reliably good comfort food from the kitchen, including spicy Asian chicken wings, chili-seared sea scallops, and grilled pizzas.
Address1655 McLendon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA
Sure, these days, Flying Biscuit Cafe (in Candler Park, 1655 McLendon Ave., 404-687-8888; also with a very gay-popular location in Midtown at 1001 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-874-8887; additionally in several other locations around metro Atlanta, including Brookhaven, Buckhead, Johns Creek, Northside Parkway, Norcross, Peachtree City, Sandy Springs, and Roswell) is well-known among the hetero suburbanites of Atlanta and Charlotte, as this regional chain now has more than a dozen outposts (it's in Florida and North Carolina now, too). But the original (and highly charming) Candler Park location has long been a favorite with Atlanta's gay community, going back to when it opened in 1993, and the much newer Midtown location near 10th and Piedmont is still an LGBT mecca. These affordable, down-home eateries are best known for breakfast (served all day), with treats like eggs with chicken sausage and grits, and smoked-salmon scrambles standing out in particular. But throughout the day, you'll find all sort of other tasty dishes, including Coca-Cola BBQ-glazed salmon salad, vegan BBQ burritos, and turkey meatloaf with "pudge" (garlic-basil mashed potatoes). Beer and wine are available, too.
Address736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE Unit 6, Atlanta, GA 30306-4340, USA
A super-friendly neighborhood bar kinda near the Atlanta Eagle on Ponce de Leon Avenue, Friends (736 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, 404-817-3820) is homey, zero-attitude roadhouse-style tavern with inexpensive drinks, pool tables, and a nice bunch of guys. Perfect if you're looking for a relatively quiet, easygoing spot to hang out with friends, and also a good bet if you're new in town and looking for a friendly welcome.
Address309 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA
First-rate Italian restaurants in a trendy section of Inman Park, both Fritti (309 N. Highland Ave., 404-880-9559) and neighboring Sotto Sotto (313 N. Highland Ave., 404-523-6678) earn marks for their stylish atmospheres and exceptionally good food. Fritti tends a bit more toward casual fare, including traditional antipasti, Neapolitan-style pizzas (the Bianca pie with buffalo mozzarella, emmenthal, pecorino, and smoked mozzarella is a winner), big salads, and affordable grills. Check into Sotto Sotto for a more refined and romantic meal, with heavenly pasta and more substantial entrées like wood-roasted whole fish with roasted potatoes and garlic-spinach. Enjoy the terrific wine lists at both places, and go for a walk in the neighborhood before dinner - you'll find some great shopping in this area.
Address931 Monroe Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
Frogs Cantina (931 Monroe Dr., 404-607-9967) makes no particular pretenses about serving either authentic or fancy food, but if it's simple Tex-Mex and Southwestern chow you're after (fajitas, buffalo chicken tacos, chorizo con queso), along with pitchers of margarita and cold beer, this festive and carefree place is a reliable option. It's also a longtime fixture in the Midtown gay scene, dating back to when Midtown Promenade had a couple of gay bars.
Address219 10th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
Near the scene-y intersection of 10th and Piedmont, a longtime Midtown hub of the GLBT community, G's Midtown (219 10th St. NE, 404-872-8012) is next to the famed gay bar Blake's as well as the sister restaurant, 10th & Piedmont (not too far away is a third member of the Communitas Hospitality family, Hobnob Neighborhood Tavern, which is also worth checking out). This natty space was formerly Gilbert's, the same owners having reopened it with a new American gastropub menu. G's is filled most nights with the chatter of happy diners, serving such comfort food favorites as gumbo and smoked brisket sandwich for dinner, and country fried chicken, shrimp & grits, and blueberry pancakes for brunch. But it's also popular as a bar option, either for lighter snacking or drinking. You can order food from the bar menu until 2:30 am most nights.
Address2069 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-4241, USA
As the name suggests, Heretic Atlanta (2069 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, 404-325-3061) has long stood out among gay Atlanta bars for its rebellious, downright scandalous attitude. It's a favorite destination for leather aficionados (even has its own leather shop, open during FUR Fridays and Saturdays (except for country nights)), and in recent years, especially with Atlanta having lost some gay country bars, it's become a favorite dance spot with the gay country set on 3 Legged Cowboy Thursdays, and all night some Saturdays. Wednesday night's Pig Dance blackout party remains notoriously cruise-y and always intriguing.
Address1544 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324, USA
You have to work a little to find this cozy gay neighborhood haunt tucked in the back of Midtown's Ansley Mall shopping center - just walk past Cooks Warehouse and you'll spy The Hideaway (1544 Piedmont Rd. NE, Suite 124, in back of shopping center, 404-874-8247), a very friendly and relaxing with pool tables (they're free), darts, and other fun diversions. The Hideaway draws all walks of life, from young gay guys out for conversation before clubbing to, shall we say, more seasoned veterans of the Atlanta bar scene who used to visit this space when it was known as New Order.
Address510 Flat Shoals Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316-2044, USA
A quirky and welcoming spot for java, light food, and conversation, Joe's East Atlanta Coffee Shop (510 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, 404-521-1122) is in the heart of East Atlanta Village, just up the street from favorite gay bars like Mary's and My Sister's Room.
Address1049 Juniper St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
Like its sister neighbor bar-tavern Einstein's, Joe's on Juniper (1049 Juniper St., 404-875-6634) is one of those informal, casual restaurants that's as popular for drinking as dining, and is typically packed with gay patrons. It's part of Metrotainment Cafes, which also operates a number of other similarly laid-back hangouts like Cowtippers, Hudson Grille, and Sugar Shack. Like the others, Joe's is more about the fun vibe and good drinks than the food, which is perfectly fine and very well-priced - try jalapeno poppers, Thai nachos, or Philly steak sandwich. And take note of dishes with suggestive names like the Sausage Fest or the frankly gross-sounding "Jerk Mehoff" burger (some sexual innuendos just don't sound at all appetizing), in case you had any doubt about the target clientele here. Drinks flow forth potently, brunch is a fun scene, and the "adult trivia Tuesdays" promise plenty of laughs.
In a space just off Cheshire Bridge Road, you'll find Jungle Atlanta (2115 Faulkner Rd. NE, 404-844-8800), the city's largest GLBT nightclub, where there's an event going on every night of the week. from talent competitions to drag shows to high-energy Saturday-night dance parties, during which top international DJs and performers regularly make appearances, as do some very cute go-go dancers. At the front of the club, the more intimate Jungle Room hosts "dinner-and-a-movie" nights, cabaret, and other fun events. Food is served in both rooms - mac-and-cheese wontons, chicken wings, coconut shrimp, black-bean burgers, and New York strip steaks are among the offerings. The Jungle regularly hosts charity fundraisers and has long been active in supporting Atlanta's GLBT community.
Address1031 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306-4215, USA
When area bars have closed, you'll be glad Majestic Diner (1031 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-875-0276) is still serving its classic brand of greasy-spoon cooking, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Decked in neon signage, this art decor diner opened in 1929 and still specializes in classics like corned beef hash, bagel and lox plates, chicken biscuits, chili dogs, tuna melts on rye, and so on - the menu here is nearly as long as a Tolstoy novel.
Address224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
Dainty and delightful Mary Mac's Tea Room (224 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-876-1800) is yet another Atlanta classic that's been serving great food since long before the city developed a fervent gay scene - and has in recent years become a mainstay of that very community. Serving lunch and dinner daily, this go-to for filling and tasty Old South cooking has changed little since it opened in 1945. Count on the talented cooks here to keep turning out big bowls and plates of Brunswick stew, fried pork chops, chicken and dumplings, fried oysters, broccoli soufflé, Georgia peach cobbler, and Key lime pie with whipped cream. The cocktail list includes mint juleps, hurricanes, and whiskey lemonades, and other down-home favorites sure to get your party started.
Address1287 Glenwood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316-1932, USA
One of the city's hippest and coolest neighborhoods, East Atlanta Village is home to this happily quirky cocktail bar. Mary's (1287 Glenwood Ave., 404-624-4411) that pulls in the city's most eclectic crowd - a mix of men and women, mostly gay but with plenty of supportive heteros. Creative theme nights (Tuesday's "Maryoke" sing-alongs, Wednesday's indie pop for furry men Honey Pot, Friday's trash-disco-inspired Boy's Room) feature some of the best get-your-hips-shakin' music in Atlanta. The crowd tends toward sexy in that be-yourself, dressed-down kinda way - Mary's doesn't have much use for snootiness. High-camp and drag are well-appreciated, however.
Address999 Brady Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, USA
There is no shortage of exceptional restaurants in Atlanta's hip West Midtown Design District, with Miller Union (999 Brady Ave. NW, 678-733-8550) standing out in the crowd for its inviting space (high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, a good-size patio) and consistently outstanding regional American food. It's worth sticking around for dessert - consider the peach cream cheese tart with honey-balsamic ice cream. This sun-filled restaurant is especially lovely at lunch.
Address1492 Piedmont Ave NE Ste B, Atlanta, GA 30309-3389, USA
A great addition to the ever-popular Ansley Square complex, this stylish video lounge is made up of a few different sections including a dance floor and a popular outdoor smoking lounge on the patio. The crowd at Mixx Atlanta (1492 Piedmont Rd. NE, 404-228-4372) is quite eclectic and generally friendly, often drawing gay guys and some lesbians from the other hangouts in the same shopping center, including Burkhart's, Oscar's, and Felix's (and the famed LGBT book and video store, Brushstrokes). A variety of theme events are held in the upscale-lounge-y Chill section of the club, including piano cabaret. Guest DJs on Saturdays are one of the favorite events in the Sizzle nightclub section. The kitchen serves tasty bar fare, too, from nachos to burgers to barbecue pulled-pork tacos, and the bar at Mixx is known especially for its extensive martini menu (some 30 varieties).
Address699 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
This classic, long-running gay neighborhood bar is an enjoyable place to mix with locals of all stripes and types, from bears to regular joes to suits. Model T (699 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-872-2209) has a great jukebox. The bar is set in a historic former Ford motors factory in Midtown. Bingo and poker nights, karaoke, and shooting pool are among the favorite pastimes here.
Address66 12th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
This popular lesbian hangout, which bills itself a "sports bar and grill," is now located in the heart of Midtown's LGBT nightlife and dining neighborhood, after having thrived for several years in hipster-frequented East Atlanta Village (as it appears in the photograph here) and before that in the town of Decatur. It continues to draw a loyal bunch for drinks and socializing. My Sister's Room (1271 Glenwood Ave., 678-705-4585) is basically an easygoing neighborhood bar. The clientele is predominantly female, and quite diverse in terms of age and race. The kitchen serves tasty pub fare.
Address180 Walker St SW ste b, Atlanta, GA 30313, USA
Steadily over the past decade or so, downtown Atlanta's Castleberry Hill neighborhood has developed into an interesting district of edgy contemporary art galleries and indie boutiques, with No Mas! Hacienda & Cantina (180 Walker St. NW, 404-574-5678) - both a home-furnishings store and a terrific Mexican restaurant and bar - helping to lead the way. If you're up for a memorable urban adventure in a distinct neighborhood, or you're seeking beautiful handcrafted furniture and accessories from Mexico, stop by this spacious and elegantly decorated spot. The bar stocks more than 60 fine tequilas and pours terrific margaritas - be sure to test-drive the addictive queso dip along with salsa and chips. Everything is pretty tasty here.
Address1009 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, USA
You could make a pretty strong case that Octane Coffee (1009-B Marietta St., 404-815-9886; also in Grant Park at The Jane, at the Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead, and at the Woodruff Arts Center), a high-ceilinged mod-industrial space in ultra-hip West Midtown, serves the finest coffee drinks in town - the seemingly always packed space is run by talented baristas who serve up first-rate Americanos, single-origin coffees, and even a few well-chosen beers and wines (along with great sandwiches, such as the salami and provolone with roasted red pepper plugra and arugula). The Grant Park branch is a great option if you're in that part of town, and it shares a space with the lovely Little Tart Bakeshop, carrying their wonderful French-inspired pastries. If you're a serious coffee aficionado, stop by and pick up a bag or two of the artisan-roasted beans for home.
Address1510 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
Sharing the same gay-popular shopping center as bars like Burkhart's, Mixx, and Felix's, plus the famed GLBT book and erotica shop Brushstrokes, friendly Oscar's (1510 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-815-8841) has a strong happy-hour following and keeps the crowds coming back thanks to Tuesday show-tune nights, ReBoot Retro Wednesdays, and good drink specials. This unpretentious video and martini bar has a fun vibe, and an attractive, art-filled interior.
Address1080 Peachtree St NE #8, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
The gay-popular, Midtown Atlanta branch of the noted national Japanese chain, Ra Sushi (1080 Peachtree St., 404-267-0114) serves creative fare and colorful cocktails, making it a notable option for happy hour, sake sampling, and more.
Address1824 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-4945, USA
A gay fave for drinking and dining, casual Roxx Tavern (1824 Cheshire Bridge Rd., 404-892-4541) serves food until 11 or midnight, depending on the night, and is a good bet for mingling with friends or dining before or after hitting the several gay bars in upper Midtown's Cheshire Bridge Road neighborhood. The kitchen turns out fair-priced salads, sandwiches, burgers, and grills, and there's a nice brunch on Sundays.
Address483 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, USA
The Sound Table (483 Edgewood Ave., 404-835-2534) draws fans of great tunes (tending toward trance and electronica, but the beat can vary a lot depending on the DJ), well-conceived cocktails, and quite good small-plates dining (including shrimp chorizo tacos and rabbit 'wings'). In the historic Old Fourth Ward, the club attracts a good mix of patrons, from hipsters to music buffs to a handful of LGBT folks.
Address1400 Northside Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30318-4214, USA
A legendary men's strip club, Swinging Richards (1400 Northside Dr. NW, 404-352-0532) has become acclaimed for its huge stable of humpy, hunky dancers and the fact that the boys here remove *all* of their clothes. There's pretty much a guy for every taste in this place, and it's a particularly fun adventure for a group of friends looking to celebrate, cut loose, and gawk at some lovely bodies. On the other hand, the prices are steep for drinks and admission, and the club has a slightly cheesy Chippendale's-esque mood about it...like it's a theme park for male striptease. Note that there's also a branch in North Miami, Florida (at 17450 Biscayne Blvd., 954-357-2532).
Address991 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
Good old Outwrite Books is missed, although Atlanta still has a great source of gay lit and gifts (Brushstrokes), and you'll find a sleek and very fun restaurant/bar, 10th and Piedmont (991 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-602-5510), occupying the former gay bookstore's corner space in Midtown, right next to Blake's gay club. This trendy spot that specializes in small-plates dining is owned by the same folks behind neighboring G's Midtown. It's quickly become popular for weekend brunch and weekday lunches; at night, dishes like lamb meatballs, sesame-crusted ahi tuna, Ecuadorian-style ceviche are perfect for nibbling and sharing.
Address820 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30306-4397, USA
Two Urban Licks (820 Ralph McGill Blvd., 404-522-4622) is famous enough that most Atlanta-bound food lovers will probably read or hear about it elsewhere, but given its cool vibe, astoundingly great food, and attractive setting in Poncey-Highland near Midtown (and the gay-trendy Virginia-Highland and Inman Park neighborhoods), it deserves inclusion on any gay eats-and-drinks list. It's a top contender for best date locale in the city, and it does book up quickly, so reserve ahead if possible. What's all the fuss? Todd Stein's beautiful plated modern American food, a state-of-the-art "wine barrel" program, fine-crafted cocktails, live blues music most nights, and a patio that affords stunning views of the city skyline. It's part of the estimable Concentrics Restaurants group, which includes the also exceptional (and gay-popular) ONE Midtown Kitchen, convivial Tap Gastropub in Midtown, Parish Brasseries and Cafe in Inman Park,, and a bunch of other fine spots in Atlanta, plus Flip Burger in both Atlanta and Birmingham, and Three Sixty in St. Louis.
Address438 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307-1423, USA
Mmmm...let's talk about hamburgers for a moment. Vortex Bar and Grill (in Little Five Points at 438 Moreland Ave., 404-688-1828; also in Midtown at 878 Peachtree St., 404-875-1667), which has locales in quirky Little Five Points and gaygarious Midtown, serves what some consider to be the finest char-grilled meat patties in the city - lovely is the Rebel Outlaw, smothered with pulled pork, cheddar, bacon, and the special "outlaw" sauce, which adds a nice kick to this concoction. Vortex also serves insanely proportioned "Bypass" burgers (as in the coronary kind), but these are a bit of a novelty gimmick. The regular burgers are plenty filling enough. The sides of plantains are a nice alternative if you're not so much for fries, and fried-chicken salad, Cubano sandwiches, and "big ass tacos" round out the menu. But wait, there's more - both of these LGBT-frequented locations serve an impressive roster of adult beverages: a good list of draft beers (and beer cocktails), and a gargantuan list of bottled beers, plus a full bar. There's much to love, but you may not want to love this place too many nights a week (or month).
Address1820 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
Having moved from its original location in downtown Decatur, Watershed on Peachtree (1820 Peachtree Rd. NW, 404-809-3561) has brought the splendid, contemporary Southern cooking of chef Joe Truex to the Ardmore section of Atlanta, just north of Midtown and close to Buckhead. Truex has a long pedigree of cooking in fine spots (including Le Cirque in NYC), but a big reason Watershed has considerable popularity with LGBT foodies is the restaurant's ownership, out Indigo Girls singer Emily Saliers. The restaurant is airy and even a bit spare, a comfortable place to dine with friends and sample some of the best brunch, lunch, and dinner fare in town. Don't miss the house-made pecan sandies with maple-marscapone cream for dessert.
Address2425 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-3323, USA
Atlanta's only true gay sports bar (Amsterdam has a bit of the vibe but is more broadly a video bar), Woofs (2425 Piedmont Rd. NE, 404-869-9422) is decked with sports memorabilia, has pro and college games airing on more than 30 TVs, and attracts players from local GLBT sports teams. For ardent sports buffs, this place is pretty impressive - not just a gay hangout with a sports theme but a venue where you really can watch any number of games and events alongside a similarly enthusiastic bunch of fans.