We're all about spreading Atlanta's seed as far and wide as possible. So naturally, we're all for someone shouting local love from rooftops across the globe. And if we can learn something new in the process? All the better.
You'll want to keep a new travel piece for the venerable UK publication the Guardian on hand. It highlights some after-dark spots you'll recognize as among Atlanta's best – and perhaps a few you don't. The gay-inclusive list (Hey there, Sister Louisa's and Joystick!) works for travelers of course, but you’ll like it too.
After catching our attention last monthcruising the Beltlinefor CNN, local gay about town Tray Butler keeps some gay near the top of his Top 10 Bars & Clubs in Atlanta. Specifically, the travel writer gets to heap more praise on our favorite placeSister Louisa’s, Grant Henry’s irreverent theme bar that defies all reasonable explanation.
Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium
Former-seminarian-turned-folk-artist Grant Henry took a leap of faith in 2010, opening a cheeky ping-pong parlour in a half-empty stretch of Edgewood Avenue. He doubled down on the gamble by covering the exposed brick walls with irreverent Jesus paintings credited to his alter-ego, Sister Louisa. The kitschy sanctuary of sin quickly acquired a zealous congregation of inked urbanites, scruffy grad students, aging scene queens and, eventually, incognito celebrities. On Wednesdays, the faithful don choir robes for Church Organ Karaoke, while epic table-tennis showdowns occur nightly. Sister Louisa's has assisted in at least one irrefutable miracle: bringing a lifeless business district back from the dead.
Other haunts on the list will have you covered for something off-the-beaten path no matter where in Atlanta you find yourself. And that’s what makes it useful not just for hot visitors with awesome accents, but for those of us closer to home. After all, who doesn’t want to do a check-in at a place named Joystick?
A bratty new kid in an up-and-coming nightlife strip, Joystick Gamebar delivers something different from ATL's many meat markets: an escape hatch into the pixelated bliss of yesteryear. For only a quarter, unleash your inner nerd on the addictive collection of vintage arcade games. Look for old-school favourites such as Ms Pac Man and Galaga, along with a few oddball artefacts (Turtles in Time, anyone?) Gameplay gets extra challenging after a couple of the speciality cocktails. The names may be jokey – Decisions Before Dawn, A Desperate Venture – but the potency isn't child's play.
Those two gay-owned spots are just the beginning. None of Atlanta's specifically gay bars are on the list, but peruse Butler’s handiwork now and bookmark it for the next time you're out and about with a hankering for something cool that's perhaps gay-adjacent without being too literal about it.
Photo by Alli Royce Soble via The Guardian