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February 2010 Email this to a friend


By John Rambow


At Swinging Richards

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Atlanta article click DailyXtraTravel

For centuries, Atlanta has drawn people from all over and from all walks of life -- and that definitely includes the gays. It's a cosmopolitan city, sure, but this Southern belle somehow still manages to move at a slightly slower, more graceful pace. There's no denying the city heat ups during the muggy summers, but the long autumns, mild winters, and vivid, flower-filled springs make up for it.
The city's been at the center of some of the most important events in US history: the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and, lest we forget, the creation of Coca- Cola as well as CNN.
These days, though, the city may stand out the most for the number and quality of performing and visual arts on offer. The High Museum of Art, having recently collaborated with the Louvre, MoMA and the Republic of China, has cemented its reputation as one of the premier museums in the US. A number of Atlanta neighborhoods, including the Midtown West and Castleberry Hill, as well as the more established Bennett Street and Peachtree Hills areas, are notable for their arts scene.

Getting here
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest in the world. But unlike other big-city airports, Atlanta's is convenient to the center of the city (it can take as little as 15 minutes to drive to Midtown, and there's a rail link right at the airport).

Getting around
Public trains and buses, known as MARTA, are a convenient option for many destinations. The city as a whole, though is spread out, making driving to many areas mandatory -- plan ahead, because Atlanta's bad traffic and long commute times aren't just legend.

Midtown: The reigning epicenter of gay Atlanta remains Midtown, and its anchor is 10th and Piedmont, the location of legendary bookstore Outwrite Bookstore. The area has seen explosive growth, which has changed the former Skid-Row area along Peachtree Street to a gleaming corridor of condo high-rises. Still, its leafy, tranquil and low-swung residential area of restored bungalows and Victorian houses remains intact. You can check it out between Juniper Street and Monroe Drive.
East Atlanta: In and around the intersection of Flat Shoals and Glenwood avenues, early-20th-century buildings contain cool restaurants and some of the city's best nightlife and indie music. Turn-of-the-century gems like the intersection of Flat Shoals and Glenwood avenues remain untouched and ready for a renaissance.
Midtown West: This former warehouse and railroad district is turning into a destination. The neighborhood around of Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street has a number of galleries, shops, and adventurous restaurants. Some of the city's best- loved and adventurous restaurants, including Bacchanalia and West Egg Cafe, are also here.
Buckhead: Mansions, expensive restaurants, and upscale hotels are all here; the most exclusive shopping areas in the city, Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, stand kitty- corner from each other, on Peachtree Road.

Local media
After the demise of Window Media last year, the assets of Southern Voice and David were acquired this February by the publishers of Gaydar. They promptly rebranded with a re-launch in March of David, and plan to follow up with a new SoVo edition soon.
At the same time former SoVo staff members are already publishing the GA Voice. Competition promises to be sharp. For news on this, and great daily listings of things to do in Atlanta see Project Q Atlanta, a web-blog by two more former staff at the old Southern Voice.

Pride Atlanta

In the Life Atlanta is this city's Black Gay Pride, the country's largest pride celebration of African-American LGBT people. September 1-6, 2010 are the dates this year for the various events. The Lowes Atlanta Hotel (1065 Peachtree Rd. NE) is the official host host hotel.

The Atlanta Pride Festival is one of the largest in the nation, luring more than 300,000 revelers from all over the southeast and beyond. Traditionally, the festival portion has taken over the historic green space at the center of the city, at Piedmont Park. The 2010 festival will again take place here, repeating the changes of last year from the old June schedule, to the later dates of October 9 and 10. This will be their 40th year of celebrations.

Bars and clubs

Amsterdam (502 Amsterdam Ave) Dutch flavor decor of Queen Beatrice and wooden clogs, video games and darts, dancing, food, patio and lots of men.

BJ Roosters (2345 Cheshire Bridge) spiffy metal decor, youthful male go-go dancers in constant rotation.

Blake's (227 10th) young, good-looking mixed crowd video bar on two levels, with very popular drag shows.

Body Shop (2675 Johnson) Saturday after hours dance club from 2am, with seamless music flow and amazing lights.

Bulldogs (893 Peachtree) popular men's dance bar with weekend lines to enter, easy black- white mix, and backyard grill.

Burkhart's (1492-F Piedmont, Ansley Sq Mall) mostly guys, with burgers and steaks at good prices, and busy cocktail hours.

Chaparral (2715 Buford Hwy) popular mixed, Latin, Caribbean, and Hip-Hop dance club.

Club 708 (708 Spring) sleek hip-hop music dance club with mixed genders and orientations.

Eagle Atlanta (308 Ponce de Leon) a dark throbbing cruise clubhouse with bear, leather and underwear nights, huge patio.

Felix's on the Square (1510-G Piedmont, Ansley Sq Mall) is the neighborhood bar where the old Scandals did its thing for so many years..

Friends on Ponce (736 Ponce de Leon) friendly, attractive staff, expansive outdoors deck, big free Sunday buffet spread.

Heretic (2069 Cheshire Bridge) midweek to weekend, multi-ethnic, stripped-to-skin dance club.

Hydrate Thursdays at the W Hotel Midtown (188 14th St NE) weekly gay cocktail party, 9pm to midnight, with special guests and outdoor patio.

Jungle (2115 Faulkner) mega dance club, with Hip Hop/Urban Fridays, 18-plus Saturdays, and Monday drag shows.

Mixx (1492 Piedmont) cocktail bar, Tuesday movies, weekend DJs and dancing.

Just across the avenue from Friends, Model T's (699 Ponce de Leon, Ford Factory Sq) is open to all for martini specialties, with Model Teeze Girls shows, and free Sunday buffets.

New Order (1544 Piedmont) among Atlanta's originals, has a laid-back older crowd, and serves strong drinks.

Stage Door (4431 Hugh Howell, Tucker) a gaming/lounge bar outside the center, with drag queen/king shows.

Swinging Richards (1400 Northside Dr) open nightly all-nude male strip, with three stages and private debriefing lounge.

Three-Legged Cowboy (931 Monroe Dr NE) has a mixed crowd coming for their country music only line-dancing.

Trademark (91 Broad SW) located in Underground Atlanta area with Friday Manhunt and Black Pride parties.

Traxx (1287 Columbia Dr, Decatur) big dance club, popular Saturdays, Black Pride celebrations.

Tripps (1931 Piedmont Circle) cozy unassuming bar, gaming machines, extended happy hours 3 -9pm, free Wi-Fi.

Woofs on Piedmont (2425 Piedmont) sports bar, full kitchen with blue-plate specials, subs and pizza, also Lottery and Keno games.

Saunas and such

Eros Atlanta (2219 Faulkner) big busy private sexy but relaxed social club with lots of cruisy nooks, open from 10pm.

Flex (76 4th) gay men's steam and sauna social club with rooms, heated and clothing- optional pool and sun deck, plus Internet access.


Joe's on Juniper (1049 Juniper) traditional American food, extensive beer list, generous cocktails, mixed sports crowd.

Colonnade (1879 Cheshire Bridge NE) has fried chicken, fresh fish and veggies, cooked and served homemade Southern style.

Cowtippers (1600 Piedmont) has steaks and Southwest fare, big cocktails, outdoors terrace and no-hassle parking.

Einstein's (1077 Juniper) a stylish lounge with uniquely Southern accented bistro cuisine, open air dining.

Las Margaritas (1842 Cheshire Bridge NE) Latin/Mexican restaurant has popular patio with strong lavender vibe.

Roxx (1824 Cheshire Bridge) is famous for their burgers, with gay folk in droves on the patio.

Shopping and Services

Boy Next Door (1477 Piedmont) unique lines of gay clothing with plenty of personal attention.

Within Ansley Mall, Brushstrokes (1510 Piedmont) has a huge selection of DVDs, CDs, books, gifts, magazines, t-shirts, rainbow gear, cards, and gizmos.

Their sister store Capulets (1510-D Piedmont, Ansley Sq Mall) stocks candles, incense, soaps, and other gift items.

Gay men into serious fitness make their way to the well- designed Gravity Fitness (2201 Faulkner) with free-weights and machines for a good work-out.

At Juniper and 10th you'll find Outwrite Bookstore (991 Piedmont) for books, CDs, mags, DVDs, gifts, new and visiting superstar guest writers; plus Wi-Fi in their coffeeshop.

Poster Hut (2175 Cheshire Bridge) has party and fetish accessories, soap, aromas, joke items, cards, posters, and movies. They also carry "Dirty Fuckers" underwear and True Religion jeans.

Rawhide Leather (306 Ponce de Leon) downstairs at The Eagle with all leather necessities.


Gaslight Inn (1001 St. Charles NE; 404-875-1001) a 1913-era craftsman house B&B close to restaurants, shops and theater.

Hello B&B (1865 Windemere Dr; 404-892-8111) a small gay B&B in a wooded residential neighborhood with Jacuzzi.

For those weary of look-alike chains, the gay-friendly Hotel Indigo- Atlanta Midtown (683 Peachtree NE; 800-957-4654) is a tranquil service-oriented alternative to bland.

Brand new this year, also gay-friendly, the Lowes Hotel Atlanta (1065 Peachtree NE; 888-563-9736) has stylishly modern rooms and suites and all the amenities.

W Hotel Atlanta Midtown (188 14th NE; 582-5800) in Gayborhood central, has Southern comfort and hospitality, and they host the Hydrate gay cocktail parties, Thursdays from 9pm.

Top experiences

Exploring picture-perfect nabes: Locals are rightly proud of their well-preserved historic residential neighborhoods, including Midtown, Inman Park, Ansley Park, Grant Park, Candler Park and Buckhead. Keep an eye open for neighborhood festivals and home tours, particularly in spring, when everything's in full bloom.

Remembering the fight for rights: Run by the National Park Service, Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site is a fitting memorial to the struggle for civil rights. It's in the center of the Sweet Auburn Historic District, known as the "the richest Negro street in the world" in the first half of the 20th century.

Part with your dollar bills: Swinging Richards has the best strip show south of Montreal, bar none.

Strolling Centennial Olympic Park: The lush lawns and dancing fountain at this 21-acre park downtown help you beat the Atlanta heat. The world-class Georgia Aquarium anchors the northern edge of the park; nearby is CNN's headquarters and studios, which you can tour. (Sorry, Anderson Cooper works out of New York.)

Climb Stone Mountain: This national park has as its centerpiece an enormous carving of the head Confederates Stonewall Jackson, Robert E Lee, and Jefferson Davis. Begun in 1925 and not finished until 50 years later, it's the largest bas relief in the world.

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