Barfly - One flew over the Koo Koo Room

Midtown's hidden den of shenanigans could use some padded walls

Two saucy chicks walk up to a bar to hit on three frat boys who appear to have committed the most juvenile of fashion sins.

"We are not wearing the exact same shirt," one of the fratty triplets insists after the pair points out the obvious. "They are the same pattern. See? But his is green, mine is white, and his has a horse on it. Not the exact same."


Seems it's that sort of subtle difference that makes the Koo Koo Room stand out from the other clubs on Crescent Street. Nestled underneath the tacky blue house that is home to Flip Flops, the mini room is part bar, part lounge, part club. There are no signs, just a guy in a suit, a velvet rope and a staircase. And what started out as an unfinished basement has turned into a hidden den of shenanigans.

With its exposed brick walls and vaulted ceilings, the Koo Koo Room almost has a New York or Boston vibe. Almost. But there are also exposed ceilings with nail heads poking through from Flip Flops' floorboards above. It's sort of reassuring; maybe this Midtown room doesn't take itself too seriously.

Neither, it seems, do the people.

"Oh, you're not gay, you're European!" one girl remarks to a Munich transplant. He tells her and her friend that they are the reason he moved to Atlanta. (The same line gets recycled 10 minutes later on a different set.)

A paisley-shirted guy, probably in his mid-50s, has a sex-pot brunette dangling from his arm. It's hard to tell. OTP couple? Mistress? His hired help? Whatever the case, she looks to be down for whatever in her black, strapless and studded freakum dress.

Back at the bar, a dude in a Yankees cap casually drinks his gin and juice while two girls near the couch do their best version of the obligatory grind-on-each-other-to-see-if-that-guy-will-hit-on-us dance. Meanwhile, out on the floor, the MILF rocking the sequined Minnie Mouse ears has guys crawling all over her.

Two model blondes wearing looks of sheer boredom whisper to each other. A guy tries to hit on one. He's tall. He's good-looking. He's well-dressed. But then the target flashes her monster diamond-and-sapphire wedding ring, giving him the "beat it" look. Apparently, some people take themselves more seriously than others.

As 1.30 a.m. approaches, the room grows crowded but not sardine-can uncomfortable. One of Koo Koo's owners, local celebreality star Ace Amerson of MTV's "Real World" fame, walks through the crowd saying his hellos and thank-yous. He's clearly having a blast at his own party. Just when it seems certain that no one will actually remember why he looks so familiar, some giggly girl walks up and asks to take a picture with him.

By 2 a.m., the people in the bar have paired off: The German has found his steel magnolia, paisley-shirt dude is making out with his girlfriend/lover/secretary and the girls on the couch have turned on each other (seems they weren't looking for dudes after all). Everyone is happy. Well, except one lady who leans up to the bartender and asks: "Why don't you guys have a stripper pole? I want to dance."


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