Middle Management

Will Peachtree bear fruit or spoil thanks to new clubs?

There’s a civil war taking place on Peachtree Street. At least I hope everyone’s trying to be civil. This war is sometimes chivalric, sometimes chauvinistic, though usually everyone is wearing (what they, at least, consider to be) their most elegant uniform. This war is a war of Southern hospitality versus Northern aggression. The players in this war are new clubs Ten27 (1027 Peachtree St.) and the Velvet Room (1021 Peachtree St.). Located a block from the Riviera, in the old locations of Pasta da Pulcinella and the Cotton Club, respectively, Ten27 and the Velvet Room are representatives of opposing ends of Atlanta set down beside each other.
As Atlanta has expanded, each area has established its own personality. I won’t go into what makes East Atlanta East Atlanta or Buckhead Buckhead, but you could definitely say it’s partially the type of nightspots they support.
The Crescent Ave-12th Street district, two blocks over from these new Peachtree establishments, has come into its own during all of this expansion, with a distinct, oddly unconflicting flavor of well-manicured martini bars and an “anything goes” attitude. Now, as the city contracts, drag queens will mingle with an even more diverse crowd drawn from Buckhead and the rest of metropolitan Atlanta to Midtown.
Saturday night I accidentally stumbled into a private party as I checked out Ten27. Denzel Washington’s entertainment attorney was having a wedding reception, which explained why I was the only one in a jean jacket.
Ten27 was crowded but still inviting. Like East Atlanta’s Fountainhead Lounge, Ten27 is an elongated rectangle with a bar down one side and a small lounge at one end, in this case situated to the right of the entrance. There’s couches nestled to the left as well, at the end of the open area and mirrors hanging loosely from the wall, helping give the space depth. Velvet softened the corners.
Unlike the Fountainhead, the floor space was definitely dance floor, though other nights, such as “Blue Lines” Wednesdays, are said to be more chill, with the volume lower but the mood just as high. There’s a small upstairs seating loft, with a balcony overlooking the dance floor, situated next to the clear DJ booth, from which locals like DJ Kemit will share space with a host of out-of-towners along the lines of, say, a DJ Shadow. Downtempo and abstract hip-hop will share space with funk, soul and rare groove, with the occasional house banger.
Next door at the Velvet Room I was told they also play house music. I wouldn’t know, though, because I couldn’t get in. It seems the Velvet Room, apparently owned by the same folks as Buckhead’s Plush, has a “cosmopolitan” dress code that does not include “arena-rock reject,” the straight-out-of-‘84 look I was going for that night. Everyone else in line appeared from their stretch pants and black leather loafers to know the drill, obviously spending more time on “Little Bourbon Street” up at Peachtree and Pharr than I had. From the window, the space appeared to be a bar, lined with columns and soft white curtains, but from my vantage point I couldn’t really be sure. I may not agree with dress codes past a certain point, but I can’t completely fault a club for having its own rules, no matter how ridiculous I find them. The Velvet Room, despite drawing a more northerly crowd, wasn’t really that aggressive. Actually, the security was extremely courteous. Even in places where I’m wanted, nobody calls me “Sir.” Gives me something to check out later.
Needless to say, these few blocks of Peachtree, also home to Kaya and the Metro, already see almost more traffic than they can support. Soon there will be even another nightclub, Eleven50 (1150 Peachtree St.), located in the old location of Axis/Petrus. Regardless of who wins the war between the nightclubs, or if all the clubs find they can peacefully coexist, will another battle come up between clubbers, cars and crime? Maybe, maybe not. But for the time being at least there are some new, hip places to relax and not worry about it. The after-10 crowd should check out this growing 10th-11th Street area.