Have a Conversation and a Cocktail at These Atlanta Lounges
By Kelly Skinner
Atlanta Local Expert
Yes, you’ve ticked the must-see attractions off your list while visiting Atlanta. Great job! But the fun doesn’t have to end once the sun goes down and you’ve paid your check at that lauded restaurant. Given your day, you’ll want to go somewhere with a great environment that’s conducive to conversation. In a pinch, we’ll typically go for one of these 10 lounges when we’re looking for an intriguing scene to sip and socialize.
If luxe and upscale is your bag, you’ll enjoy the bar at Livingston restaurant inside the Georgian Terrace hotel in Midtown. Featuring plush seating and a glorious view of the Fox Theatre across the street, it attracts both visitors staying in the hotel, and locals looking for an extra-special evening.
Close by, the rotating bar and lounge atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta downtown offers a hip vibe and breathtaking views. In the same ‘hood, you’ll also find upscale club/lounges like Cosmo Lava and Halo Lounge. Both tend to draw a clubbier scene. Midtown's jazz bar, Churchill Grounds, meanwhile, has more of a relaxed setting and regularly features live music.
Whiskey Blue, in Buckhead always has a lively, fun-loving crowd and it’s the place to go for sipping cocktails and enjoying the outdoor patio. Meanwhile, Three Sheets in Sandy Springs and Eleanor’s in Smyrna exude a speak-easy-style ambiance with tasty cocktails to boot.
The Clermont Lounge
In the realm of strip clubs, nothing comes close to The Clermont Lounge. A decidedly run-down scene, this spot has claimed its fame for its aging line-up of strippers (who are as friendly as they are natural), the most famous of which is Blondie, who crushes beer cans between her bosoms. The crowd that attends Atlanta's oldest strip club is shockingly wide ranging. Everyone comes here, at least once, for the novelty. At the bar, you'll see a 20-something sorority girl ordering a PBR beside a 30-something young professional and a bonafide celebrity (Bill Paxton, Morgan Freeman, Jon Hamm and Jennifer Lawrence have all been spotted here). Musicians often play shows, and Tuesdays are karaoke night. Note that while this club is welcoming to everyone, it is not kid or family friendly; this is an all-nude strip club. ((404) 874-4783)
This sparkling American restaurant inside The Georgian Terrace hotel in Midtown is a gleaming space for dining on contemporary cuisine. If you are looking for a nice place to eat dinner, take a seat and enjoy! The Bar portion of Livingston Restaurant + Bar is adjacent to the restaurant and is a cozy place to gather with a cocktail or glass of wine after dinner and pre-stage show. Grab a specialty drink or go with a classic. Seating is comfortable and matches the restaurant's modern, polished ambiance. The patio out front faces the dazzling Fox Theatre and encourages people-watching and conversation. (4048975000)
This blue-domed rotating restaurant and bar sits perched atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The first rooftop restaurant in the city, it originally opened in 1967, then closed for a decade in the early 2000s. Recently reopened in summer 2014, the space now boasts a re-envisioned interior that's sleek and handsome. Full of large windows, you'll scope out breathtaking views of the city below. The menu is full of shareable small plates inspired by local, seasonal ingredients (including several grown on the restaurant's rooftop). Though you don't need to make dinner out of it in order for it to feel special. Having a cocktail at Polaris just might be the perfect end to a romantic date night. (404.460.6425)
Perched atop the W Atlanta - Buckhead hotel, this glitzy bar and lounge is a popular place to socialize. Like the hotel itself, the stylings and interiors are upscale and modern. The crowd is a mixture of hotel guests, young professionals and business men looking to mingle. Several events like fashion shows and magazine parties take place here, so you can expect a happening scene. Cocktails are often creative and delicious, but they're on the pricier end. One of the top attractions of this bar is its expansive outdoor patio offering an impressive view of the Buckhead area and of Atlanta. (678-500-3190)
A bit on the outskirts of Atlanta, Three Sheets doesn't miss out on any of the slick and modern sophistication of its Buckhead or Midtown counterparts. Think red drapes and dark leather couches. Tasty cocktails are pricey but good. The high end decor and lounge areas throughout this Sandy Springs establishment lend themselves to girls nights out and birthday parties or intimate date nights. Guys will appreciate the humidor stocked with a variety of cigar brands. Tickle your taste buds with their once a month Flavor Tripping parties. With upscale cocktails, trendy music and an eclectic small plates menu, this lounge has wide appeal. ((404) 303-8423)
Part of the appeal of this Buckhead bar is in its secrecy. To enter one must dial a certain number in the phone booth that holds the entrance to the bar. Reminiscent of a speakeasy the cocktails are strong and well-crafted. There's an excellent bourbon list with lots of comfy couches that encourage lingering. However, it is one large room, so don't expect any privacy to get cozy with anyone. It is a good choice to take out of town guests. There is heavy cigar smoking allowed here. If you don't like it, this may not be the place for you. ((404) 869-1132)
Live jazz is a truly American genre and gets its due respect at this cozy lounge, located next to the Fox Theatre. The venue regularly books top performers and also grants new talents the opportunity to test their wings. Fans can't say enough about the intimate venue, where music is top-notch and service is spot-on. Jazz artists are typically booked Tuesday through Saturday each week. We suggest going even if you've never heard of the artists. You're bound the have a good time. Boosting the night's pleasure are terrific cocktails and wines, premium cigars, and an elegant, light menu of desserts, coffees, appetizers and Asian-styled dishes. (404-876-3030)
High-ceilinged and open, this lounge stays busy constantly, packed with attractive, young professionals who come to meet and greet. Weekends are especially crowded, although the place has a more comfortable capacity during the week. And if you can make it to the patio, you'll enjoy the chance for a breath of fresh air and a little more elbowroom. Drinks are well prepared, especially the signature cosmopolitan, and a selection of appetizers (including calamari, shrimp, hummus, and eggrolls) provides added energy. Depending on the night, the lounge offers live music or DJ-spun tunes. Plus, Friday happy hour is a great way to kick off the weekend. (404-873-6189)
Sleek furnishings of chrome, glass and wood ably temper the poured concrete shell of this hip lounge. Its centerpiece, a white onyx bar, takes on the colors of changing light, and patrons cozy up to it for Halo's fabulous cocktails. During the week, the scene takes on a low-key vibe, and relaxing with friends is a standard pastime. On weekends, though, the pace picks up, DJs spin the latest tunes, and folks revel in the heightened activity. Drinks are top quality, food is served from 5pm until 10pm, and just so you know, the entrance to the lounge is located on Sixth Street, not Peachtree. (404-962-7333)
SkyLounge at the Glenn
The Glenn Hotel is an excellent choice for accommodations, but even if you're staying elsewhere, you can enjoy sweeping views of Downtown from The Glenn's SkyLounge. Dine on braised vanilla short ribs or Chilean sea bass, and then head outside for after-dinner drinks in the open air at the luxe lounge. The spot also scores high on the relaxation scale with its comfy outdoor furniture and unassuming atmosphere. Make sure you're dressed for the occasion; it's a beautiful spot with high-end environs. Incorporate this spot (with its romantic views) into your dinner and a movie routine and impress your date. (404-521-2250, 66-404-5366)
About Kelly Skinner
Kelly Skinner comes to Atlanta by way of sunny coastal city, Pensacola, FL. A lover of all things food, music and travel, Skinner found her perfect match in Atlanta in the food-centric hub of Decatur. A full-time freelance writer and editor, Skinner's byline has appeared in a range of publications including Paste, The Atlantan, Jezebel, Redbook, South and Living Intown. When she's not writing, editing and exploring Atlanta for the best places to eat, drink and play, Skinner loves doing yoga, running with her dog in Piedmont Park and scouring book stores and record shops for hidden treasures.
Read more about Kelly Skinner here.