Little gauges a city's vibrancy better than its nightlife, and Atlanta, by all accounts, has nothing to fear. Rife with alternatives, the metropolitan area boasts everything from raucous dance clubs to intimate bars and swank lounges. The strongest contenders for action are the Buckhead and Midtown neighborhoods, although the crossroads of Virginia-Highland holds its own as well. In Buckhead, roam the scene nightly, scoping out their favorites. Tops among them is upscale Sambuca Jazz Café. South of Buckhead, Midtown offers posh ambience, thanks to a substantial gay population. Resident clubs boast some of the city's best dancing, courtesy of terrific sound systems, cutting-edge interiors, and hip dress codes. Showcased is the strong cool quotient of both Leopard Lounge and Sutra Lounge. A quieter nightlife scene prevails in the Highlands, whose relaxed bars and pubs prove that style doesn't have to be ostentatious. There, Blind Willie's delivers consistently fantastic blues, and the Dark Horse Tavern caps hectic days with live rock and a blissfully comfortable social scene where "Hey, y'all" flows as easily as the beer.
Senior editor Kelly Sigmon is Southern born and Ivy educated. During his tenure with the company, Kelly has prized being a mystery traveler and overseeing the printed 10Best Travel Guides for San Francisco, Miami, and Atlanta.