Atlanta Nightlife — The 2020 Guide to the City’s Eclectic Night Scene

If you’re making a long-distance move to the capital of Georgia, one thing’s for sure — you’ll be thrilled by the burgeoning Atlanta nightlife scene. A-town has a lot to offer to newcomers, and you’ll love it by night, when clubs and pubs and various idiosyncratic places come alive. Whether you want to dance your feet off, chill at a rooftop bar, meet a celebrity, or stroll around a museum, you’ll have plenty of options to do so. All the hassle that comes with moving to another state will pay off!

The A never sleeps!

So What Is There to Do in Atlanta at Night?

Where can I go at night in Atlanta? you may be wondering. No matter if you want to go party downtown, or you wish to explore another one of the many great Atlanta neighborhoods, you won’t be disappointed. The city hosts a diverse crowd of night owls and can sate everyone’s appetite. It’s a shame if you’re only staying a night! However, if you’re moving to Atlanta, you’ll have plenty of time to explore this glorious Southern city under stars, and we encourage you to savor it all, East to Westside.

You won’t be disappointed with the bustling ATL nightlife.

Downtown Atlanta Nightlife — From Bowling to Best Mai Tai in Town

If you’ve only got enough time to scout the fancy Downtown, we’ve made a varied selection of places to visit when the sun goes down.

Fun Down Peachtree Street

There’s no way you can miss a chance to walk down the famous Peachtree Street. Along the way, there’s fun galore, and you’re sure to find something that might interest you. Here are some of the places and what they offer:

  • Game-X — Located near Centennial Olympic Park, this place offers all sorts of social games for you and your friends to enjoy. If you’re looking for things for kids to do in Atlanta, know that Game-X is suitable for both adults and children.
  • Braves All Star Grill — Feel like watching your favorite team play with your crew? Head to this sports bar and grab a bite to eat while watching the game in a perfect setting.
  • Metro Diner — This diner is open 24/7, so whenever you’re in the area and wondering what you could eat, you can’t go wrong with this place.

Enjoy the Rooftop View

This city is famous for its rooftop bars and restaurants, and Downtown offers the one widely praised as the best — SkyLounge. This sophisticated lounge atop the prestigious Glenn Hotel offers a beautiful skyline view of the city at night. You’ll be served some of the best cocktails in town. Bear in mind though that, even though the entrance is free for hotel guests, you’ll have to pay a symbolic $5 charge. Bear in mind that there are sometimes private events here, so make sure to check in advance.

Ground-Level Lounge Bars

If you want to chill on the ground level, you can do that too. Downtown offers various options to suit everyone’s style. One of the most popular locales is Trader Vic’s located inside the Hilton hotel. It’s tropical-themed without being tacky. You can drink the best mai tais here and eat unusual island-style food.

One alternative is the swanky Red Phone Booth — a cigar club that represents the prohibition era, with sleek leather, dark wood, and cozy fireplaces. You even have to “dial” a secret code on a red phone booth before you can enter.

Where to Party on a Saturday Night

Downtown is not the best neighborhood for clubbing, but it holds one gem — MJQ Concourse. Despite being one of the longest-running clubs in the city, it doesn’t have a website. The club’s underground and people often have trouble finding it in the first place. But if you do find it, you’re in for a treat! The music is never the same, and the amazing DJs know how to heat up the atmosphere. It’s open until the small hours of the morning.

Looking for Some Free Fun? You Might Be on Time for the Castleberry Hill Art Stroll

Castleberry Hill is an artsy historic district, ideal for those looking for a more sophisticated kind of fun. This district hosts the famous Art Stroll every other Friday of the month, where you can enjoy diverse art galleries completely free of charge. If you feel touristy and would like to spend some money there after all, there are many artisan shops along the way with various unique items, as well as intimate live music pubs and eateries.

Enjoy the rooftop view from SkyLounge. (source: glennskylounge.com)

Places to Go Dancing in Atlanta

Downtown has many cool spots, but when it comes to music and dancing, other parts of the city, such as Midtown and Buckhead, have plenty to offer as well. We would again like to remind you of the most beloved club in the entire city — MJQ Concourse — and possibly the longest-lasting one as well. But aside from this must-visit underground hub, what are the hottest clubs in Atlanta?

Havana Club

Havana is the hottest club in Buckhead and a dancing paradise stretching over 15,000 ft. There are three rooms, all differently themed music-wise. You can enjoy the latest hits in the Main Room, feel the heat in the Latin Room, and dance your feet off to EDM beats in the so-called “Havanahaus.” Havana promises the time of your life, but beware that it’s not cheap, and it’s certainly not as casual as MJQ.

Tongue & Groove

Another famous hotspot in “Beverly Hills of the South,” aka Buckhead, Tongue & Groove is a neon-lit music dome of pleasure. As soon as you enter, you’ll feel the hype as every inch of the place invites you to have a blast. There’s a huge bar directly in the middle, so you’ll have no problem getting yourself a fresh drink whenever you want to. T&G is always crowded but somehow still comfortable and easy to move around.

El Bar

A rather small place for a club, El Bar can be difficult to find. It’s behind a Mexican restaurant called El Ponce. If you want to hear some of the best DJs in the city, this is the spot to visit. If you’re not into the grandiose Havana-style club scene with strobe lights and huge crowds, you’ll love the intimate atmosphere of this place. Another great thing about El Bar is that it is super affordable.

The Basement

Speaking of the hottest clubs in the city — The Basement is literally the hottest one there is — you’ll be sweating in no time. If you’re visiting, be sure to wear comfy, breathable clothes and get ready for some serious partying! Located in the East Atlanta Village, it’s one of the best places in the neighborhood if you truly want to dance and not just pose for an Insta photo.

What Clubs in Atlanta Do Celebrities Go To?

Celebrity-sighting is not uncommon in the A’s nightclubs. If you’d like a chance to meet someone famous, here’s where to look:

  • MJQ Concourse is known for attracting many celebrity DJs from around the world
  • Havana Club also often hosts famous DJs, and it’s often visited by high-status celebrities, such as Lenny Kravitz and LeBron James
  • The famous strip club Magic City (especially on a Monday night) is often visited by many athletes and rappers. If you’re a die-hard fan of the Falcons, you might get to meet some of the team members here.
Lose yourself on the dance floor of a hot club.

Best Nightlife in Atlanta Bars and Pubs

If you don’t feel like clubbing, or you’d like to have a drink or two in a laid-back atmosphere before you hit a club, you’ll have no trouble finding a suitable bar or pub to enjoy. There’s a variety of places where you can start your evening or even spend the night. Whatever part of the city you find yourself in, you’re bound to find a unique bar or pub. Here are several of our top picks.

The Porter Beer Bar

The Porter Beer Bar, located in the most hipster-worthy part of the city, i.e., Little Five Points, is the top beer spot in town any enthusiast needs to visit. This bar has a wide array of beers, both draft and bottled, and when we say wide, we mean — over 800 options! It also boasts an impressive food menu, where you can find delicious gourmet meals and crispy snacks. If you’re lucky, you may stumble on a beer tasting event!

Brick Store Pub

Another favorite spot for beer enthusiasts, Brick Store Pub has been around for 23 years. Nestled on the Decatur Square, this cozy place in a gorgeous historic building is a labor of love of three friends. They offer a variety of beers that you can find nowhere else and even a special Belgian menu, from which you can order to-go.

Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium

In the Old Fourth Ward, you’ll find one of the most eclectic places in the city — Sister Louisa’s Church. It is church-themed, but many influences shape the quirky style of the bar. It was opened by a former divinity student gone artist known as “Sister Louisa.” You’re in for an exciting mash of styles — you can play ping-pong or sing karaoke in a church robe while eating picnic food and enjoying the pop-art-inspired decor.

The Painted Pin

An upscale bar in Buckhead that is also a bowling alley, The Painted Pin is perfect for those looking for a night of high-end fun spiced up by craft cocktails and superb food. If you don’t feel like bowling, you can simply drink with your friends, but there are also other games available, such as darts and bocce ball.

Ormsby’s

If you find yourself in the Westside Provisions District, you can’t miss the cozy local tavern — Ormsby’s. This spot has it all. You can grab a bite, then hit the bar and have a craft beer or another refreshing drink, and enjoy some standard bar games with your friends. The game offer includes all the classic favorites, such as pool, darts, bocce, backgammon, etc.

There’s a great number of perfect beer bars in A-town.

Explore the Live Music Scene by Night

Living in Atlanta is a great advantage if you’re interested in music. Whatever your jam, you can find a venue where you can hear amazing musicians, both new and established. Indie, hip-hop, rock, experimental — the city has it all! And Hotlanta is bustling with aspiring musicians and songwriters. You can discover numerous local artists among whom there may be a future star. Here are some of the best live music venues.

The Northside Tavern

Northside Tavern is not a touristy place. It’s more of a local dive bar (which used to be a gas station) that hosts some of the best blues and jazz gigs. You’ll have to arrive early to catch a seat, but it’s totally worth it. The best thing about it is that no matter what day of the week you choose to visit it, there will be a live gig. It’s a true gem of the Northwest.

The Tabernacle Atl

If music is your religion, then the Tabernacle could be your church. This live concert venue literally used to be a church — and every concert in this place is a religious experience. The venue hosted many great artists over the years, from Guns N’ Roses and Alice in Chains to Adele and Lana del Rey. You should check the event page and see if some of your favorite musicians are going to play soon. The Tabernacle also holds comedy tours.

Eddie’s Attic

Eddie’s Attic is an important part of A-town’s music scene. It’s a small, intimate venue that numerous famous musicians have played. John Mayer, for example, who’s a local, started out his career playing here. Apart from established artists, this is a place that also welcomes many new ones as well as aspiring singers, songwriters, and other musicians. There’s a weekly open mic event, where artists from all over the US come to compete.

The Earl

One of the best rock venues in the country, The Earl has quite a long-standing reputation. Many internationally acclaimed artists have played here, such as Cat Power, St. Vincent, and The Avett Brothers. The place is essentially a dive bar and a respectable eatery too. We urge you to try the Earl burger.

These live music venues will leave you breathless.

Comedy Clubs

Apart from the live music scene, the city also has a flourishing comedy scene. There’s a variety of places hosting both improv and stand-up, so you’ll definitely find something that suits your preferences. Here are some of the city’s best comedy clubs to visit.

Laughing Skull Lounge

A small and intimate comedy venue that can seat only up to 74 people, Laughing Skull Lounge is an outstanding place where you can experience brilliant comedians in the best possible way. The venue is a frequent stop for established touring artists as well as the local ones. Eating and smoking are not permitted here, so if you get annoyed by munching sounds and people puffing in your face during a show, this is the right spot for you.

The Punchline

The Punchline is an established comedy club, which has existed since 1982. It’s an old-school place, nothing fancy, but you’ll be rolling on the floor ten minutes into the show. Many greats have performed here, and so have locals. No matter whether you know the name of the performers or no, be sure to pay this place a visit — you won’t regret it. Just beware that reservations are mandatory, so you can’t simply pop up and take a seat.

The Basement Theater

Another underground place in the city you have to visit, The Basement Theater hosts improv comedy shows, which you won’t be able to forget. They have a seasoned house cast that never fails to astound the crowd with their witty remarks, but the audience and guest comedians can perform as well. If you’re not a fan of raunchy humor usually served at comedy venues, they also hold family-friendly shows, which are equally hilarious.

Village Theater

Village Theater is another amazing improv venue with hilarious house improvisers who have years of experience in comedy. The shows are not only wildly entertaining, but they’re also wallet-friendly at a mere $10 per night. The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is warm and familial, and if you’re coming by car — there’s free parking! If you’ve just moved to the city and are interested in unique things to do in Atlanta, you can take up some improv classes at the theater.

Uptown Comedy Corner

Uptown Comedy Corner is a staple urban comedy spot in Atl. Many A and B-listers have performed here, such as Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and the like. It’s a snug place, and you’re bound to kill yourself laughing. Beware that the service here tends to be a bit slow, but refrain from being a Karen at a comedy club. So what if your drink doesn’t arrive immediately if you’re laughing your socks off?

Whatever your type of humor, you’ll have a hearty laugh in Hotlanta.

What Else Can You Do in Atlanta at Night?

If you’re still wondering what to do in Atlanta at night, we have more ideas for you! Whether you live in Atlanta suburbs or somewhere closer to Downtown, there’s always something fun to do, even (or especially) at night. Good old bars and pubs are alright, but there’s so much more you can do in A-town after dark. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination.

Hit Georgia Aquarium

The city is home to a huge public aquarium that contains over a hundred species of sea animals! But did you know that you can visit Georgia Aquarium at night too? Going to the Aquarium at night is a great idea because there won’t be huge lines and crowds. What’s more, you can get a 30% discount off the standard ticket. The Aquarium also hosts sleepovers from time to time, which is guaranteed to be a unique experience.

An Impressive LGBTQ+ Scene

The city doesn’t lack in queer culture either. In fact, it hosts the largest black gay pride festival in the US. If you’re queer and you find yourself here, you won’t be disappointed as there are many LGBTQ spots around town. For example, if you want to grab a bite and sing karaoke, hit 10th & Piedmont in Midtown. Looking for a diverse, edgy crowd and incredible music? Visit the staple club Heretic. There’s even a gay sport’s bar, as well as many other options.

Karaoke Nights for Metal Lovers

When you think karaoke, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston, not “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. However, Darkhorse Tavern hosts widely popular Metalsome karaoke nights, where guests get to sing their favorite metal songs. Such an opportunity doesn’t come often, so if you’re a metalhead, be sure to stop by.

Watch a Movie Out in the Open

If you’re looking for romantic things to do in Atlanta with a date, a movie night is a classic you can’t go wrong with. But the multiple-screen Starlight Drive-In is an even better option. There are many movies to choose from, and projections often start after midnight. There’s no buying tickets in advance, so you can come here spontaneously and catch a perfect parking spot ahead of others.

Eat a Burger While Drag Queens Spill the Tea

If you’re a fan of drag, you should check out Lips Drag Queen Show Palace, Restaurant & Bar. As you might have guessed, this is not a standard eatery. You can enjoy your dinner while being entertained by amazing drag queens. There’s a show every night, but Saturday night’s reserved for “Taboo: The Forbidden Show“ by incredible Edie Cheezburger. However, skip this place if you’re on a budget as there are many small charges that add up quickly, from valets to tipping the queens.

Learn About the History of Trap Music

There are not many museums open late in ATL, but if you’re a music lover, you can always go to the Trap Music Museum. You can experience an interactive exhibition dedicated to the most important artist in the genre. If you feel playful, the museum also offers an escape room experience — Escape the Trap.

Geeky Date Night at the Museum

Fernbank After Dark is an amazing experience for all the sciency people out there. You’ll get to mingle with a like-minded crowd and have tons of fun. The museum offers a variety of geeky activities for guests. These nights happen every other Friday of the month, and there’s a different science theme every month.

Where to Eat at Night in Atlanta

Some of the best restaurants in Atlanta are open until the small hours of the morning. So there are plenty of options for the late eaters in this big city, some of which we’ve mentioned before. Even if you’re going to a comedy venue, you’ll probably be able to order some food. But if you want a proper restaurant where you can focus on your food, we got you covered. Here are some of the best restaurants open late at night.

Argosy

Argosy is a cozy nautical-themed spot in the East Atlanta Village, where you can eat many specialties, ranging from burgers to charred octopuses. However, if you arrive super late, your only option will be pizza, but wood-fired kind with extra crunchy crust. If you’re vegan, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that Argosy also has delicious vegan options and freshly produced juices round the clock.

The Bookhouse Pub

If you’re a fan of the cult series Twin Peaks, you will love The Bookhouse Pub. It was inspired by the show and has many hidden references to it that fans love to explore. This dimly-lit place with wooden statues and stained glass windows serves its full menu every night of the week up until midnight. On the weekend, you can pop in for some proper pub grub even later.

Hae Woon Dae BBQ

There are many Korean restaurants in the city, but nothing beats this gem on Buford Highway. Not only is food always fresh and the service impeccable, but this place is open until 6 am five nights a week! If you’re looking for something other than junk food at 3 o’clock in the morning, head to this respectable restaurant and have a saucy pork belly prepared on a charcoal grill with a side dish of your choosing.

Landmark Diner

If you’re out having fun in one of the hotspots in Buckhead, you can go to Landmark Diner for a late-night snack. Eating here is especially recommended if you’re at a comedy show in The Punchline as it’s attached to it. The Diner is open 24/7, so whenever the show’s over or you’re tired of partying, you know you can come here. The menu is diverse, so no matter how big of a picky eater you are, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste buds here.

You won’t lack for choice in late-night eateries.

How to Get Around Town at Night

Even though the general cost of living in Atlanta is not that low, the public transportation is fairly cheap. If you’re considering your options for moving around town, an expert tip would be to use MARTA — Atlanta’s public transportation system — for as long as you can. So here are your best options:

  • MARTA — The public system includes both bus and rail lines that spread around the city and are easily accessible. MARTA fare is $2.5 per one-way trip, but there are also other options available, which you can check out on the website. MARTA is available up until 1 am, so you don’t have to waste money on taxis if you’re comfortable with public transport.
  • Taxi — Taxis don’t cruise in the city, and they’re usually found in front of hotels and at the airport. Of course, you can always call one. The rates are reasonable, but they get a lot pricier once you leave the business district.
  • Your own car — This is not recommended. Driving in this city can be a nerve-wracking experience, with scarce (and expensive) parking lots, traffic jams, and confusing streets.
  • Uber — You can always go with Uber or Lyft as cheaper alternatives to taxis, but overall, public transportation is your best option (and the most intimate way of exploring the city).
MARTA is your best option for moving around town.

Have Fun in the Big Peach

So, overall, does Atlanta have a good nightlife? It sure does! If you’re moving from a small town to a big city such as the A, you’ll be so overwhelmed by the wealth of choice you have for a fun night out here with your friends. Just make sure to enlist the moving services of experienced Atlanta long-distance movers and get ready to party! Getting professional help with moving and even packing, as well as arranging for auto transport, will take some weight off your shoulders and make your move an enjoyable experience.

One thing is certain though — no matter if you’re extremely outgoing or more of a shy, reserved type of person, you’ll be able to have a blast in this city! From highly unique bars and pubs to aquariums and museums, you’re bound to find your place under stars in Atlanta.

Written By: Blake Shaw