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Barfly - Graveyard Tavern: Where the filthy, 40-ounce sippers are

A Friday night visit to East Atlanta's big, sore, ghetto thumb

If the old Buckhead bar scene and eclectic East Atlanta had a love child, it would be Graveyard Tavern. The kid would be good-looking and popular, but lacking a little something in the class department. It would be the wild child that influenced others to drink and smoke in middle school and was liked by all cliques. If she was a girl, she'd probably be on the sluttish side: not the type that a guy would take to the prom, but he'd hook up with her at the after-party. She'd be kempt and well-dressed, but there would be something a little off beneath that polished exterior — like a wooden leg or a case of herpes.

Such is Graveyard: clean and pristine (not divey and dirty in the least), and a guarantee for a good time. People show up on the weekends from all backgrounds and 'hoods with the intention to let loose and get skanky on the dance floor, not to have the kind of casual, low-key night offered by some of the neighbors (Eastside Lounge excluded).

Graveyard feels a bit out of place in East Atlanta Village with its expansive space, pulsing rap music and club-style DJs, yet I couldn't imagine it anywhere else. I attended on a pre-Halloween "Filthy and Famous" Friday night, and I can only assume they deemed the weekly event with that moniker due to the cutesy alliteration. Because I didn't see anyone famous there, nor did I feel famous after I left; although I did feel a little filthier (mainly due to the smokers in attendance).

I walked in to a Lil Wayne song playing (always a positive start to the night), grabbed a drink and began to scan the mishmash of a crowd. There were some preppy frat-guy types hanging in the bar area. Some "edgier" dudes with dreads in one of the booths wrapping up a late dinner. Pretty girls by the pool tables. Not-so-pretty girls making their way to the dance floor. A couple that busted in the door and beelined to one of the leather couches to furiously start making out (I later found out they were from Cobb County and apparently don't get out much). Then, I spotted one of Graveyard's signature patrons: a hot girl drinking a 40. This place was full of contradictions, and I liked it.

A friend I ran into while ordering a round of SoCo shots (it just felt necessary) called Graveyard "East Atlanta's big, sore, ghetto thumb," yet he admitted he frequented the place. Just like the aforementioned love child: You may call her a slut, but you're still going to sleep with her. I could see the appeal, especially as the in-house DJ stepped up his game, drawing more and more people to the dance floor to booty shake to jams like "Turn My Swag On" and Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love." One person who never made it to the dance floor: hot chick with a 40. The reason: It took her all damn night to finish the thing.

After venturing onto the dance floor with my own swag (or something like it) in tow, I glanced up at the large movie screen above the DJ booth to catch what looked like an old-school, soft-core (maybe lesbian) porn playing — because that goes perfectly with Soulja Boy, right? After a few more hip-hop tracks, the DJ got ballsy and turned to techno, after which the dance floor immediately cleared. Apparently people don't come to Graveyard to listen to techno. They come to dance to urban music if the mood strikes, let loose and drink 40s. East Atlanta's big, sore, ghetto thumb? Sounds about right. But maybe that's the point.

Ed. note: The original photo that was posted with this story has been replaced with the photo above.



More By This Writer

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The parking lot wasn't as full as I remembered from the days when the VIVA! 105.7 van parked out front, but there were a handful of people in the lot enjoying brown bag-wrapped beverages. I walked in with the male friend I recruited to attend with me and let my eyes adjust to the dark, expansive space, surprised by the lack of people on the dance floor and at the two bars. It seemed quiet for an 18-to-party/21-to-drink spot, but it was only midnight.

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We made our way through the clouds of machine-generated smoke to an elevated area behind the DJ booth where the scene looked like an episode of Tijuana "Teen Mom" meets MTV Spring Break. The girls were young and scantily clad while their suitors looked like high school "wankstas." A young, pocket-sized girl, who stood out among her curvier cohorts, approached a Latino male her exact size with a simple one-liner: "Hey, what's up." They hit it off immediately and I mentally high-fived her. She had game.

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Article

Wednesday November 17, 2010 04:00 am EST
Spring Break on Buford Highway | more...
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  string(3475) "It was a scene straight from a mob movie. Walk through the pristine sushi restaurant — straight-faced servers quietly cleaning up remnants of sashimi to your right, sake-bombed couple making out at the sushi bar to your left — and you reach a door where a tall, dark and handsome man in black is waiting with a big stick. Don't be alarmed (or turned on), he's just going to scan the hand stamp you received at the hostess stand. Yep, this isn't Hollywood; it's Atlanta, and instead of a drug cartel, prostitution ring or assassin operation going on behind the guise of a swanky Asian eatery, there's a "flashback dance party" going down, where the only illegality is some of the guests' dance moves.

We walked into the intimate MF Room to the sound of "I Wish (I Was a Little Bit Taller)" by Skee-Lo (not to be confused with Cee-Lo, who would never name a song some dumb shit like that). Mike Bryant, one of the promoters of the new weekly event, informed me that "anyone is welcome to Flashback Saturdays as long as they're dressed right." I scanned the room and landed on a middle-aged lady in a tie-dyed muumuu of some sort, complete with matching headpiece. I bit my tongue.

Rebecca Whelchel, the stunning events specialist at MF who could be straight out of the aforementioned mob movie, referenced Johnny's Hideaway when I asked her for a crowd comparison. That felt more accurate, and her point was proven later when an older man chatted me up and informed me he was out with his cardiologist. I guess you can never be too cautious, especially when you're getting down to "Groove is in the Heart" at the ripe ol' age of "he's older than my dad."

It was apparent that the people in this crowd had left their inhibitions at the hostess stand with their requested e-mail addresses. As I observed everyone having the times of their lives, I coincidentally spotted a couple channeling the actual "I Had the Time of My Life" scene from Dirty Dancing. The glassy-eyed male twirled his short-skirted buxom blonde around the dance floor with such force and fervor that I knew my posse and I were about to get a full viewing of her ass. We made a bet: If she's not wearing any underwear, we take tequila shots. Not a minute later, I was quenching my thirst with Patrón (or what I believed to be Patrón). A tip of the shot glass to you, Commando Barbie.

I thought I might just people-watch and tequila-shoot from my self-designated VIP area for most of the night, but the energy of the crowd beckoned me to dance. It didn't hurt that I was feeling inspired by the moves from New Kids on the Block's "Hangin' Tough" video, playing on multiple flat screens throughout the room. We hit the dance floor and were instantly welcomed by the eclectic crowd of black and white, young and old, coordinated and spastic. A cute guy beckoned me over to his group of three, one of whom was donning a vest, but I didn't judge — maybe he, too, had fallen victim to the New Kids nostalgia.

"Are you girls European?" their ringleader asked.

What the hell was that supposed to mean? Was this a jab at my dance moves? Maybe my limbs were more uncontrolled than usual, but I thought I was in a dancing "safe place."

Turns out he was asking because of my "fair skin" (still an insult?), but I did tone down my moves a bit. I didn't need my fair-skinned ass turning Flashback Saturdays into Flash Your Back Saturdays to the unsuspecting patrons.

That would not have been a happy ending."
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We walked into the intimate MF Room to the sound of "I Wish (I Was a Little Bit Taller)" by Skee-Lo (not to be confused with Cee-Lo, who would never name a song some dumb shit like that). Mike Bryant, one of the promoters of the new weekly event, informed me that "anyone is welcome [to Flashback Saturdays] as long as they're dressed right." I scanned the room and landed on a middle-aged lady in a tie-dyed muumuu of some sort, complete with matching headpiece. I bit my tongue.

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I thought I might just people-watch and tequila-shoot from my self-designated VIP area for most of the night, but the energy of the crowd beckoned me to dance. It didn't hurt that I was feeling inspired by the moves from New Kids on the Block's "Hangin' Tough" video, playing on multiple flat screens throughout the room. We hit the dance floor and were instantly welcomed by the eclectic crowd of black and white, young and old, coordinated and spastic. A cute guy beckoned me over to his group of three, one of whom was donning a vest, but I didn't judge — maybe he, too, had fallen victim to the New Kids nostalgia.

"Are you girls European?" their ringleader asked.

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Turns out he was asking because of my "fair skin" (still an insult?), but I did tone down my moves a bit. I didn't need my fair-skinned ass turning Flashback Saturdays into Flash Your Back Saturdays to the unsuspecting patrons.

That would not have been a happy ending."
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  string(3751) "    What really goes on in the back room at MF Buckhead   2010-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 Barfly - Everybody Wang Chung at MF Room   Ashley Hesseltine 2152940 2010-09-29T08:00:00+00:00  It was a scene straight from a mob movie. Walk through the pristine sushi restaurant — straight-faced servers quietly cleaning up remnants of sashimi to your right, sake-bombed couple making out at the sushi bar to your left — and you reach a door where a tall, dark and handsome man in black is waiting with a big stick. Don't be alarmed (or turned on), he's just going to scan the hand stamp you received at the hostess stand. Yep, this isn't Hollywood; it's Atlanta, and instead of a drug cartel, prostitution ring or assassin operation going on behind the guise of a swanky Asian eatery, there's a "flashback dance party" going down, where the only illegality is some of the guests' dance moves.

We walked into the intimate MF Room to the sound of "I Wish (I Was a Little Bit Taller)" by Skee-Lo (not to be confused with Cee-Lo, who would never name a song some dumb shit like that). Mike Bryant, one of the promoters of the new weekly event, informed me that "anyone is welcome to Flashback Saturdays as long as they're dressed right." I scanned the room and landed on a middle-aged lady in a tie-dyed muumuu of some sort, complete with matching headpiece. I bit my tongue.

Rebecca Whelchel, the stunning events specialist at MF who could be straight out of the aforementioned mob movie, referenced Johnny's Hideaway when I asked her for a crowd comparison. That felt more accurate, and her point was proven later when an older man chatted me up and informed me he was out with his cardiologist. I guess you can never be too cautious, especially when you're getting down to "Groove is in the Heart" at the ripe ol' age of "he's older than my dad."

It was apparent that the people in this crowd had left their inhibitions at the hostess stand with their requested e-mail addresses. As I observed everyone having the times of their lives, I coincidentally spotted a couple channeling the actual "I Had the Time of My Life" scene from Dirty Dancing. The glassy-eyed male twirled his short-skirted buxom blonde around the dance floor with such force and fervor that I knew my posse and I were about to get a full viewing of her ass. We made a bet: If she's not wearing any underwear, we take tequila shots. Not a minute later, I was quenching my thirst with Patrón (or what I believed to be Patrón). A tip of the shot glass to you, Commando Barbie.

I thought I might just people-watch and tequila-shoot from my self-designated VIP area for most of the night, but the energy of the crowd beckoned me to dance. It didn't hurt that I was feeling inspired by the moves from New Kids on the Block's "Hangin' Tough" video, playing on multiple flat screens throughout the room. We hit the dance floor and were instantly welcomed by the eclectic crowd of black and white, young and old, coordinated and spastic. A cute guy beckoned me over to his group of three, one of whom was donning a vest, but I didn't judge — maybe he, too, had fallen victim to the New Kids nostalgia.

"Are you girls European?" their ringleader asked.

What the hell was that supposed to mean? Was this a jab at my dance moves? Maybe my limbs were more uncontrolled than usual, but I thought I was in a dancing "safe place."

Turns out he was asking because of my "fair skin" (still an insult?), but I did tone down my moves a bit. I didn't need my fair-skinned ass turning Flashback Saturdays into Flash Your Back Saturdays to the unsuspecting patrons.

That would not have been a happy ending.             13055470 2152941                          Barfly - Everybody Wang Chung at MF Room "
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Article

Wednesday September 29, 2010 04:00 am EDT
What really goes on in the back room at MF Buckhead | more...
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