Uptown Comedy Corner reopens in new location in Hapeville

Uptown Comedy Corner is reopening this weekend in a new location in Hapeville after the landlord booted them from their prior spot. Manager Lee Moore and owner Angelo Sykes have been working with the club for many years. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

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Uptown Comedy Corner is reopening this weekend in a new location in Hapeville after the landlord booted them from their prior spot. Manager Lee Moore and owner Angelo Sykes have been working with the club for many years. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

The club was booted from its previous space for a new development

Uptown Comedy Corner has found its fifth home in three decades, a new location in Hapeville not far from its previous location off Virginia Ave. and I-85.

After nearly a year since the comedy club was booted by a landlord that wanted to rebuild the property into a mixed-use community, Uptown co-owners Lee Moore and Angelo Sykes are reopening this week at 1155 Virginia Ave. about two miles from its previous spot.

“This is a great space,” Sykes said. “We’re around a lot of different restaurants and hotels.”

Opening night is free on Thursday with open mic night hosted by Ashima Franklin. Doors open at 8 p.m. for an 8:30 p.m. show. (You can reserve seats at eventbrite.) The first headlining comic is Nard with two shows both Friday and Saturday night starting at $20.

On Mother’s Day at 8:30 p.m., multiple comics will appear with T.I. hosting. The actor and rap star recently started doing stand-up comedy.

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Uptown Comedy Corner's main space. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

Uptown Comedy Corner's main space. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

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Uptown Comedy Corner's main space. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

The current space, which previously served as a crab restaurant, has been empty since before the pandemic. Sykes and Moore signed a 10-year lease last August but then faced an issue: The city of Hapeville had passed an ordinance that limited the size of restaurant spaces like that to 6,000 square feet. They had anticipated the club taking up 9,000 square feet. Because the previous restaurant had been closed so long, it was not grandfathered in, so they had to reconfigure the space.

They plan to build a separate tapas restaurant in the 3,000 square feet they aren’t using for the club.

The new Uptown now has a capacity of 225, smaller than the 315 in the previous location, though Sykes said the kitchen is larger.

Uptown Comedy Corner has a storied history in Atlanta. It started in the 1990s in Stone Mountain, then moved to Buckhead where many future headliners learned their craft, from Earthquake and Don “DC” Curry to Chris Tucker and Kevin Hart.

But when that spot shut down, Uptown lay dormant until 2005 when the club opened on Marietta St. in an aging, worn-down building that had previously been a grocery store and an auto parts store. The kitchen was too small, the bathrooms subpar and its neighbor a strip club. Uptown survived there for 12 years. In 2017, the landlord forced Uptown to close, replacing the space with mixed-use development.

Sykes, who has been active with Uptown for 18 years and ran security in the 1990s for Uptown in Buckhead, pivoted and found a new location in Hapeville that was previously a Castle seafood restaurant. It was bigger and cleaner with adequate kitchen space. They even got to keep two fancy thrones.

But they only got to stay there three years, part of it during the pandemic. In May 2021, the landlord gave them just 30 days notice to move out, Sykes said.

“We had to make tough decisions,” Sykes said. “We were just hitting our groove. The crowds were coming out. Then boom!”

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Uptown Comedy Corner is now at 1155 Virginia Ave. in Hapeville. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HH

Uptown Comedy Corner is now at 1155 Virginia Ave. in Hapeville. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HH

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Uptown Comedy Corner is now at 1155 Virginia Ave. in Hapeville. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HH

Credit: RODNEY HH

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The exterior of the new Uptown Comedy Corner at 1155 Virginia Ave. in Hapeville. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajcc

The exterior of the new Uptown Comedy Corner at 1155 Virginia Ave. in Hapeville. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajcc

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The exterior of the new Uptown Comedy Corner at 1155 Virginia Ave. in Hapeville. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajcc

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajcc

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