The Southern belle offers bachelors barbecue, plenty of booze, and beer cans crushed between a set of cans, too.
Depending on your mind-set, or the season, AtlantaHotlanta nickname has two very I different definitions. Come summer, it symbolizes the essence of muggy, sweltering, mercury-boiling temperatures.
Summertime in Atlanta is not for the faint of heart or citizens lacking air-conditioning. But come September, Atlantatemperatures start dropping like tops at a strip club, of which the city has no shortage. Thatwhen youunderstand the alternate definition of Hotlanta: Itthe Southpulse-quickening, libido-spiking center of after-dark hedonism.
In other words, Atlanta is the perfect metropolis for a memorable bachelor party. From the Atlanta Braves to the Falcons and the Speedway, the sports scene offers something for just about everyone. The col lection of
highly skilled pit masters means youfeast on some of the countryfinest belly-stuffing barbecue. Killer craft beer and potent cocktails have swept the bar scene, but you can still slum it at dive bars with cans of cheap beer and a basketfu I of freshly fried pork rinds. And the ladies? Well, the Georgia peaches look good enough to eat. Gentlemen, ittime to put Hotlanta to the bachelor-party test.
Whereto Bed Down
Before beginning your weekend of sin, you need to acquire a central command center for your debaucherous operation. For starters, gander at the Glenn Hotel (110 Marietta Street N W; GlennHotel.com’). which was originally built in 1923 as office space. Marriott renovated the historic structure into a sumptuous boutique hotel boasting modern, stylish accommodations and the party-hearty SkyLounge atop the building. If I were you. Ibook the 850-square-foot penthouse suite, which provides panoramic views, an airy living room and a dining table big enough for eight thatseated, not standing on top.
Elsewhere, look to the perpetually hip W Hotel. The convenient Midtown location (18814th Street NE; WAtiaataMIdtQWiLCQm) comes equipped with all manner of creature comforts, including the WET pool, where you can reserve a sound system-equipped cabana for a private rendezvous. The choicest room is the Extreme WOW Suite, which encompasses 1,200 square feet of pleasure and pampering. The luxurious suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, a wet bar, slippery 350-thread-count sheets, and a bathtub big enough for two. And should you crave food or a bolt of brown booze, the hotel is equipped with Jean-Georges’Spice Market and Rande GerberWhiskey Park.
If cocktails and nightlife are just as important as the bedding, then check in to W Hotel Downtown (45 Ivan Aller Jr. Boulevard; WAtlantaDowntown .com). Sure, every room features goose-down duvets, plasma televisions, and Whatever/Whenever concierge service thathelp you score everything from tickets to the game to dinner reservations, but youlikely spend most of your time at Drinkshop. Itone of the trendiest cocktail bars in town, attracting no shortage of lovely ladies sipping immaculately crafted drinks. Order a highball or, better yet, a bottle of booze encased in a block of ice. Ittime to celebrate.
Another hotel-party hot spot is the Highland Inn (644 North Highland Avenue; IheJdlgblandlnrLCQm), where the comfortable, no-nonsense rooms start at less than $100 —a boon for the bachelor party on a budget (and free breakfast in the morning is not too shabby, either). But the Highlandreal lure is the 1920s-era ballroom, where the weekends welcome bands and dance floor-filling deejays. Remember, if you score, itonly a quick stumble upstairs.
Atlanta might just be the Southern
capital of sports obsession. The city is blessed with an embarrassment of sporting riches covering just about every major league. (Sorry, hockey fans, but the Atlanta Thrashers were sold last year and relocated to more ice-appropriate Winnipeg, Manitoba.)
Head to Turner Field to catch the Atlanta Braves, who remain one of Major League Baseballmost competitive and compelling teams to watch. Slugging second baseman Dan Uggla and cannon-armed outfielder Jason Heyward provide plenty of pop, and the Braves’pitching staff, as it has been since the days of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, is still the strength of the team. Starting pitchers Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy, and Tommy Hanson are always worth the price ofadmission.
If the NFL is more your bag, the Atlanta Falcons are just what the sports doctor ordered. Quarterback Matt Ryan will once again connect with fleet-footed receivers Roddy White and Harry Douglas, as well as big-play target Julio Jones. Running back Michael “the Burner”Turner should have enough left in the tank for another season, and Jason Snelling and quicksilver change-of-pace back Jacquizz Rodgers will capably back him up. Plus, defensive ends John Abraham and Ray Edwards will continue to be sack-crazy terrors for
On the college level, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets always field a competitive football team. Building upon their 8-5 record in 2011, the Yel low Jackets look to return to a bowl game. Dual-threat quarterback Tevin Washington will continue to lead the offensive charge, and running backs David Sims and Orwin Smith will pound the rock. Though the Yellow Jackets’basketball team suffered through a subpar 2011-2012, top recruits such as power forward Robert Carter and small forward Marcus Hunt should help bring the team back to the NCAA tournament. Plus, the baseball squad, which went 36-24 in 2012, is poised to continue its winning ways next spring.
When basketball season bounces back around, beeline to Philips Arena and catch one of the N BAmost energetic and exciting teams with the Hawks’core lineup of shot-blocking master Al Horford, the athletic and always dangerous Josh Smith, and scoring demon Joe Johnson. And for fans of car racing, Atlanta has fast and furious events, highlighted by Labor Day weekendAdvoCare 500, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Beneath the night lights on Sunday, September 2, such racers as Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth.and Greg Biffle will battle for the first-place trophy. If you miss the race, donworry: The Speedway hosts the street-style Friday Night Drags racing series, and the Georgia Dome hosts annual events such as the Monster Energy AM A Supercross and Monster Jam monster-truck show.
Meat Your Match
Atlanta is not a city you visit when youwatching your waistline. Wait —what am I talking about? The point of every bachelor party is excess, like making a dinner out of maple donuts topped with bacon. Well, maybe that was just/ny bachelor party, but Atlanta is a town filled with countless calories-be-damned delights. For starters, head to Atlantalandmark 1928 eatery the Varsity Downtown (61 North Avenue; TheVarsity.com). The worldlargest drive-in restaurant offers 600-car parking, but for the full experience, venture inside to hear the paper-hatted cashiers bark, “Whatya have?”Using Varsitylingo, order strings (French fries), a heavyweight all the way (hot dog with extra chili an< onions), and an F.O. (frosted orange beverage). It might just be the last, and best, nonalcoholic beverage youhave all weekend —except for the Cake Shake. This specialty dessert at DeliaChicken Sausage Stand (489 Moreland Avenue; TheSausageStand .com) consists of ice cream tossed int< a blender alongside an entire frosted cupcake (choose between red velvet or chocolate). The result is cool, thick, and sweet, and canbe beat. If you lack a sweet tooth, instead look to the Slingers, which are massive links of chicken sausage served in a fluffy bun and topped with everything from guacamole to gooey cheese sauce, sauerkraut to marinara.
For , Atlanta has more than a
few standout smoked-meat purveyors. First, make your way to HaroldBarbecue (171 McDonough Boulevard; 404-627-9268), which youfind by its towering sign featuring a glasses-wearing pig roasting over a fire.
Inside the squat brick structure —not far from the federal prison, mind you —are wood-paneled walls, tables topped with red-and-white checkered tablecloths, and waitresses who will likely address you by “honey”or “darlin*.’’The star at Haroldis the sliced hickory-smoked swine, which is softer than silk. Equally commendable is a rack of meaty, messy pork ribs thatI leave you gnawing every last morsel, as well as the crumbly corn bread and Brunswick stew swimming with bits of pork, tomato, and corn.
Massive meatheads might like to time their trip to the Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival CAtlBbqFesLcom). which takes place this year September 14 and 15. More than 15,000 attendees flock to the festival to devour a wide cross section of regional (Texas, Carolina, St. Louis, Kentucky, Memphis), and sample meats from the professional and amateur teams vying for cash prizes and gut-busting glory.
If fried chicken is more your thing, wing it to the Busy Bee Cafe (810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW; Ih.eBusy-B-e.e-Cafe.CQin). An Atlanta legend since 1947, the Bee specializes in rib-sticking soul food such as collard greens, ham hocks, gooey mac and cheese, and, above all. golden fried chicken that s as crunchy as kettle-cooked potato chips and as juicy as a slice of summertime watermelon. But be warned: The restaurant is shuttered on Saturdays.
And for the inevitably rough morning after, soothe your stomach at the down-home Silver Skillet Restaurant (20014th Street;
TheSiJverSkille^ Since 1956, the dinerbeen decked out with Formica tables and upholstered booths the color of pea soup and pumpkin flesh. The house specialty is good-and-greasy Southern fare, including buttery grits, skillet-cooked country ham, red-eye gravy, fluffy biscuits, and battered-and-fried pork chops. Your hangover wonstand a chance.
Atlanta may be best known as the birthplace of Coca-Cola, but lately the city has started earning a sterling reputation for great cocktails and craft beer. Begin your bar crawl in neighboring Decatur, where the Brick Store Pub (125 East Court Square; BdckStorePuiD.com) has anchored the areagood-beer scene since 1997. Brick Store does not have a single TV, ear-splitting music, or lurid neon, as the bar prefers to put the focus squarely on drinking. Downstairs, youfind a carefully edited list of English, German, and both local and national American craft beers from the likes of Duck-Rabbit, Bell, Terrapin, and Highland. Upstairs, therean array of potent, mind-blowing Belgian beers, including plenty of rarities if you care to splurge.
Next, keep the beer flowing in Decatur at TwainBilliards and Tap (211 East Trinity Place; Twains.net).
At the patio-equipped pool hall, you can shoot eight ball and knock back pints of house-brewed beers such as the tropical-tinged Black Eye Roasted Rye, citrusy Langhorne IPA, and, of course, the fittingly named Hell for Society Stout. Raise a few of those before heading back to Atlantahip Little Five Points neighborhood for a brew —or more than a few —at the Porter Beer Bar (1156 Euclid Avenue; ThePorterBeerBar.CQm). The long, narrow gastropub offers rustic wooden booths and nearly 30 drafts, a lengthy list of whiskeys and bourbons (a bolt of ten-year-old, 107-proof Old Rip Van Winkle will set you straight), and cocktails available by the pint or quart. After a couple of quarts of Mint Julep or Gran PapSweet Tea (hey, this is the South after all), yoube snatching up Porterhush puppies made with applewood-smoked bacon by the fistful.
If youstill craving a decent pint, not too far away is quite possibly Atlantaquirkiest brewpub. Over the last century, this historic Victorian-style home has held a church, a dance school, an architectural-antiques shop, and now, in the basement, the Wrecking Bar Brewpub (292 Moreland Avenue NE; Wrecking BarBrewpub .com). You can pound pints of the nicely bittered Victor IPA (named after the houseoriginal owner, Victor Kriegshaber), the potent Spring Break TRIPel, or the pugilistic Punch Yo Momma Smoked Porter. Of course, there comes a point in every bachelor party —and heck, every Saturday night —when drinking good beer and booze is a lost cause. When that time hits, head to the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club (1136 Euclid Avenue NE; TheEAYC.com ). identifiable by the neon sign advertising , beer, food.”The nautically themed dive serves cheap beer, strong drinks, and fried-to-order pork rinds to a mix of bikers, punks, and plenty of pretty col lege girls. Sure, you can practice your pickup lines, but the nightnot over yet. Wild adventures are still to come.
The Bare Essentials
Though ita crime Atlanta does not have a Penthouse Club —yet —there are several top-shelf strip clubs and adult emporiums. If your bachelor partiers are, ahem, early risers, allow us to steer them to the Oasis Goodtime Emporium (6363 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard; OasisAtl.com ). Situated just outside the city1-285 belt, the pleasure palacedoors swing open at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, welcoming you into a rarity: a surprisingly chill, affordable strip club. Beer prices hover around $5 or $6, and dances will run about $10 a song. There are three stages, each equipped with a pole worked by an array of smoking-hot Southern ladies, and bachelor parties can grab the large VIP room overlooking the club. Plus, the gorgeous shooter girls are friendly as all-get-out.
If yourolling in greenbacks, then speed to the Cheetah (887 Spring Street N W; TheCheetah.com). Atlantaswankiest, best-known strip club is so renowned that it was name-dropped in Jay-ZJust Wanna Love U.”You, too, can make it rain at this sprawling, 13,000-square-foot ode to nudity. The main stage is flanked by four 180-inch TV screens broadcasting sports, and therethe runway and lighted stages spread through the club. Even better, the tabletops are also lit up, meaning you can examine every inch of the sublime Southern belle shimmying atop your table. Putting the cherry on top of this sexy sundae, big spenders can retreat to the intimate Executive Room for entertaining,” where plenty of fine cigars are available from the humidor, and the Alluvia restaurant serves surprisingly fine steaks, lobsters, and fried chicken breasts. Pro tips: If you go to a college or professional sporting event that day, bring your ticket stub for free entry. Also nearby are the excellent nightclubs Primal and Opera
Almost on par with Cheetah sits a different breed of animal, the Pink Pony (1837 Corporate Boulevard NE; 404-634-6396). Although the building and the bathrooms have seen better days (and the Pony seems to have cornered the market in mirrors and neon), the ladies remain peerless, with multiple dancers sharing the stage at the same time. Bonus: If you have the bucks, the shooter girls might feed you test tubes full of brightly colored shots directly from their ample cleavage. And if you want to embarrass the bachelor on his big day, you can pay to have comely lasses drag him onstage and humiliate the hell out of him. One note of caution: Make sure you bring plenty of cash.
The ATMs only spit out Pony bucks,” which are about as useful as Monopoly money in the real world.
Another Atlanta strip club commemorated in song is Tattletale Lounge , which Motley Crue immortalized in , Girls, Girls.” Just like the rockers, the strip club has lost a little luster since its heyday. However, therestill plenty of down-and-dirty debauchery to be had, and the tattooed strippers’pole tricks canbe topped. Print out a free-admission pass from the clubwebsite, then spend your bucks on frisky VIP-room fun for the bachelor —or yourself. That champagne isngoing to drink itself.
The preferred beverage at the lovably skuzzy Clermont Lounge (789 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE;
Ribbon. In a former life, the Clermont, Atlantaoldest strip club, was a classy supper club. But in 1965, the basement of the Clermont Motor Hotel was reborn as a proudly sleazy strip joint that has become an enduring Atlanta institution and a must-stop or perhaps the last stop on any bachelor crawl. Herewhy: The Clermont is smoky enough to bring out that forest fire-fighting bear. The beers and Jagermeister shots are criminally cheap. And thereeven a Ms. Pac-Man machine. But the real lure is the strippers, who will perhaps light their nipples on fire or, in the case of amply proportioned Blondie, crush your empty PBR can between her bosoms. Itthe last sight you should see on your last night as a free man.
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