Some metro Atlanta nightclubs planning to open tonight will ‘play it by ear’

Area bars and nightclubs face uncertainty despite permission to reopen Monday

A citywide curfew for Atlanta has thrown a wrench into plans for bars and nightclubs looking to reopen tonight after being closed for weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 9 p.m. curfew applies only to the city, but venues outside Atlanta in the metro area are also taking a wait-and-see approach. 

Monday night’s curfew will be the third in as many days issued by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to stop the violence and unrest seen in the city during a weekend of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis

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An employee at Chaplin’s, a karaoke bar in Roswell, said that the club was tentatively planning to stay open until 10:30 p.m. as originally announced, but they could close earlier depending on external circumstances. “We’re playing it by ear,” the employee said.

Johnny’s Hideaway, the popular Buckhead nightclub on Roswell Road, is usually open seven nights a week with a DJ and dancing. The club, which is located within the city of Atlanta’s borders, intended to reopen its dance floor from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. with a variety of safety measures and social distancing precautions. Instead, Johnny’s Hideaway will close around 8 p.m. in compliance with the city’s order. “I want to give my staff time to get home ahead of the 9 p.m. curfew,” said owner Chris Dauria.

Johnny’s Hideaway, which began serving lunch and dinner last Friday, relies on its popular dance floor for business. During its coronavirus-related shutdown, the nightclub live-streamed its DJ from the unoccupied dance floor for free on Facebook Live. Now, the 300-square-foot dance floor will be empty for yet another night.

“My general manager said that on Friday, he fielded about 40 calls,” said Dauria. “They would ask, ‘Are you guys open?’ He’d say, ‘Yes,’ then they’d ask, ‘Is the dance floor open?’ He’d say, ‘No,’ and ‘click.’ They’d just hang up on him.”

Outside of Atlanta, Lawenceville is the only other metro-area city thus far to issue a curfew, although mayors of other cities, including Brookhaven and Sandy Springs, considered issuing stay-at-home orders over the weekend.

Protests within the city of Atlanta in Buckhead and downtown have been the largest pockets of demonstration and violence, but other cities in the metro area have been affected.

On Saturday night in Hall County, protesters demonstrated and some were arrested for violence in Gainesville. Demonstrations have also been held at Sugarloaf Mills mall and Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County and on Marietta Square in Cobb County.


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