Considering an evening out in Virginia Highlands?
Here are four options that are as intriguing as they are saturated in VaHi personality:
822 N Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta 30306
Just a tiny little place almost overshadowed by its Plaza Theater neighbor, the Righteous Room is pretty cool. They've got a long-stretch of bar capped by mod art on brick walls, a chandelier, polished wood -- a stop by kind of place.
They serve unapolagetically delicious bar food, like sloppy chili dogs and beer battered fish. But then they've got hummus, a vegetarian black eyed pea chili and that sort of thing going on, too.
The beer prices guarantee a neighborhood crowd and return customers: $2.50 for a can of PBR and none costing more than $5.50. One more thing to be super happy about: an old-school jukebox, fully stocked with righteous tunes.
1051 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta 30306
"It ain't easy bein' sleazy" is one Blind Willie's motto. "Too much soul to control" is another catchphrase.
A third tagline tells you just what goes down there: "Booze, blues and Cajun food." They list 16 whiskies on the bar menu. Don't miss the $8 plate of red beans and rice, smothered with fresh vegetables and seasoned with ham hocks and andouille sausage.
As for the blues, co-founders Eric King and Roger Gregory (who doubles as bassist for the house band, Shadows) built the club in 1986, literally. Local musicians helped them paint and build, among them the late blues legend Chicago Bob Nelson and guitarists J.T. Speed and Michael Catalano.
The place has been a working musician's haven ever since. Blues performers bring it every night. On Sundays, there are three three sets a night. Cover charges range from $3-15 and the place heats up about seven — music starts no later than 9:30.
828 North Highland Ave., Atlanta 30306
Smith's Olde Bar
The pun is irresistible. This VaHi-adjacent bar really is an oldie but goodie. The Smith's 300-capacity Music Room has hosted Kings of Leon, John Mayer, Widespread Panic and scores of others in the past two decades. They show every indication of keeping up the "great bands start here" mantra. It might be rock and roll one night, comedy the next, but every night of the week is something. The bar food is right on, too, like Fox Bros Bar-B-Q on Wednesdays and Thursdays. There's a DJ late nights Friday and Saturday, Thursday trivia and copious amounts of band memorabilia to gaze at any time you come through the door.
1578 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta 30307
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