19 Things to Do in Atlanta After Dark

From adults-only rollerskating to VR bars, see a different side of the city with these fun nighttime activities in Atlanta.

Atlanta nightlife has far more to offer than hookah lounges and strip clubs. Sure, this city does boast plenty of top-tier spots where you can enjoy as much hookah and adult entertainment as you can fathom, but there really is so much more to do in Atlanta after dark. Whether you’re a sucker for nostalgic speakeasies or a gamer whose friends are forcing you to finally get out the house for once, there’s a late-night move that’s perfect for you. Peculiar dive bars, stunning technological experiences, adult-only skate nights, heart-pounding live music, and midnight drive-in movie screenings are just a handful of the things that you can get into after the sun goes down. Here is a full guide to 19 legitimately fun things to do in Atlanta after the sun goes down.

Have some late-night laughs

Various locations
Although it’s known for having a diverse assortment of concerts and live shows practically every day, Atlanta also boasts an impressive comedy scene. If you’re down for potent drinks and easy laughs, clubs like Laughing Skull Lounge are perfect for seeing some of the city’s brightest do stand-up comedy. For those with an appreciation for improv comedy, Village Theatre and RoleCall Theatre both get the job done with shows starting between 8:30 pm and 9 pm. And for the best late-night comedy—we’re talking hilarious sets that start as late as 10:30 pm and even midnight—look no further than Dad’s Garage and Atlanta’s Original Uptown Comedy Corner.

Roaring Social Alpharetta
Roaring Social Alpharetta

Try to get into a speakeasy

Various locations
Locals of the bougier variety may turn up their nose at the idea of popping out at one of the hottest and most crowded spots in the city, and if you’re unashamedly a part of that group of people, then we’ve got one word for you—speakeasies. Atlanta surprisingly has a pretty long list of low-key bars, parlors, and clubs, but while many are like best-kept secrets, some are actually damn-near impossible to get into. When it comes to late-night, prohibition-inspired speakeasies you’ll (probably) get into, look no further than the Red Phone Booth, The Chapter Room, The Blind Pig Parlour Bar (which is currently living its best life as The Playa Pig), The Hamilton’s Roaring Social, and Argosy’s Brigantine Beer Parlor. On the opposite end of the speakeasy spectrum is Himitsu, and if you’re persistent enough—and money isn’t an issue—you might be able to get into the lavish and extremely exclusive venue. Regardless of which speakeasy you have your sights set on, each location requires some effort to successfully enter, but that’s part of what makes them so much fun. Just ask around and do your research, so you can enjoy a mysterious night out in the A.

Revery: VR Bar
Revery: VR Bar

Midtown
In theory, virtual reality and mixed drinks shouldn’t go together, but Revery VR Bar is a tech- and gaming-infused cocktail bar where everything comes together perfectly. Open from 6 pm to 2 am, Revery is the late-night unicorn that Atlanta deserves. Nightcrawlers more interested in the gaming aspect can pull up prior to 10 pm, and everyone else who just wants to party at one of the most aesthetically pleasing bars in the city just has to make sure they’re inside by the time the DJ goes on at 11 pm.

Midtown
The one and only Midtown Bowl, which you should be more than familiar with since it’s been here for six decades, lets the balls roll until late every weekend (until 1am on Thursdays, 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, and midnight on Sundays). In addition to staying open later than your typical bowling alley, Midtown Bowl has a solid snack game, including subs, breaded wings, and a weekly changing eggroll special. They also take their beer seriously, with rotating highlights from Creature Comforts, New Realm, Dogfish Head, and a few ciders and meads here and there.

 Jojo's Beloved
Jojo's Beloved Cocktail Lounge

Various locations
It’s probably safe to say that going out for drinks is the most popular nighttime move for everyone ages 21 and up, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for your typical neighborhood bar. Over the past couple of years, Atlanta’s bar scene has gotten a huge upgrade, and two of the most stunning new watering holes are JoJo’s Beloved and The Bar at the Illuminarium. JoJo’s Beloved’s moody and nostalgic decor is a cocktail lounge that looks like it came out of a scene of Bad Times at the El Royale, so don’t hesitate to book a reservation there. Then there’s The Bar at the Illuminarium, and although it’s attached to Atlanta’s newest tourist attraction, the bar is a visually striking 21+ only offshoot of the Illuminarium that’s only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Wall-to-wall projections will transport you through several magical immersive settings, so prepare to enjoy some drinks and tapas and be amazed.

Hit a strip club

Various locations
The strip club scene has been part of the city’s culture since way before the Olympics came to town. You’ve heard of the main players: Magic City, Clermont Lounge, Cheetah, Tattletale, Oasis, Swinging Richards, and Blue Flame Lounge, among countless others. Grab your cash and give back to the local economy by supporting an Atlanta strip club tonight, with that same energy you’d have for a casino in Las Vegas.

Slutty Vegan
Slutty Vegan | Photo by Maya Hockaday

Refuel with a late-night meal

Various locations
Sometimes when you’re out late, you’ll find yourself in desperate need of food because you didn’t eat before going out with friends like you were supposed to, or you’ll have completely worked off your last meal and start looking for a tasty way to cap off your night. Since COVID first threw a wrench into all of our plans last year, many restaurants have drastically cut their hours, but luckily, Atlanta still has you covered. You can get your late-night fix from 24/7 diners like Landmark and new late-night options like the Slutty Vegan on Edgewood, and of course, there’s always a Waffle House nearby.

Virginia Highland
People can’t ever seem to wrap their minds around the concept of heavy metal karaoke until they experience Metalsome for themselves. Every Monday through Saturday from 10:30 pm to 3 am, you can walk into Dark Horse Tavern and expect to see a karaoke party that’s backed by a live band. If you want to unleash your inner rockstar, make sure you arrive early as they are very strictly first-come, first-served. Don’t forget to check the song lists on Facebook before you go applying too much hairspray.

Georgia Aquarium
Georgia Aquarium

Downtown
Although the Georgia Aquarium's rare adult cocktail party and sleepover package is currently unavailable, there is still plenty to do at the aquarium after dark. Leave the kids at home and head over to one of the aquarium’s recurring Sips Under the Seas or 21+ fundraiser events, and even though you won’t be able to spend the night there, you will be able to sip themed cocktails while exploring the beloved local attraction. Pro tip: Dish out the extra cash for a VIP ticket because they automatically come with three complimentary drink tickets. Now go drink like a fish with some of the most popular aquatic creatures in Atlanta.

Old Fourth Ward
Joystick Gamebar, the original barcade, is finally back to regular service. Joystick not only has Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, TMNT, and other '90s-era arcade staples ready to play for just $0.25, but the bartenders can sling some seriously crafty drinks and whip up some boozy sodas to-go. So instead of just playing your Playstation or Xbox at home and sipping on a lackluster homemade cocktail, go drink, mingle, and game at Joystick Gamebar. The party doesn’t stop until 2:30 am Monday through Saturday.

Fernbank Museum
Fernbank Museum

Druid Hills
When the second Friday of the month rolls around, go ahead and do Fernbank After Dark, where the city’s brightest science-minded geeks like yourself enjoy adult beverages, tapas and legit scientific fun from 7 - 11 pm. There’ll be hands-on experiences, and for the next handful of FAD events, the themes will be Adult Summer Camp, UnNatural History, Bones and Brews, Senses, and Science & Spirits. So if any of those pique your interest, you should definitely pay a visit to the Fernbank Museum’s spectacularly geeky 21+ experience.

Westside
T.I.’s Trap Music Museum was supposed to close for good after Super Bowl LIII, but its popularity has made it necessary to bring in new exhibitions (a new “Trapper of the Year” art display honoring MoneyBagg Yo was unveiled earlier this spring). In addition to curated art representing trap music all-stars like Lil Baby, Migos, Future, Gucci Mane, and Jeezy, and the “Escape The Trap” room experience—a replica of a trap house that you can now visit on Thursdays from 4 - 10 pm for “Sip & Trap,” which for $30 gets you a complimentary glass of Champagne and a private tour of the museum.

The Painted Pin
The Painted Pin

Drink, eat, and get your analog game on

Various locations
For those who like the kinds of games you can’t plug into a wall, including bocce, basketball shooting, ping-pong, shuffleboard, billiards, skee-ball, and more, Atlanta has several options that all serve later crowds. There’s Puttshack at the Interlock, The Painted Pin in Buckhead, its cousin The Painted Duck on the Westside, Ormsby’s in West Midtown, both the Westside and Alpharetta locations of Topgolf, Skyline Park on The Roof at Ponce City Market, and Punch Bowl Social at The Battery.

Thomasville
It’s not exactly news that you can see movies after 9 pm, but not every city has the Starlight Drive-In, which has been around for 60+ years and routinely has films starting after midnight. At only $10 per person, and the nostalgic coolness of bringing your own food and listening to your movie’s audio through your FM radio, it’s a priceless piece of Atlanta history that’s open all week long and is still going hella strong. Where do you think Donald Glover screened the first episodes of Robbin’ Season? Yep, here. But be advised: You can’t buy advance tickets, so get there early for a good parking space.

The Basement
The Basement

Dance all night

Various locations
You’re really into clubbing—it’s fine. You’re in Atlanta, so of course you have options. There’s Havana Club, Tongue & Groove, Gold Room, Compound, and Suite Lounge if you want the super-big cosmopolitan nightclub vibe. But if you’re really into dancing—serious dancing—you’ll find that in spots like MJQ Concourse and The Basement in East Atlanta. Seriously, no judgments either way.

Home Park
People to this day are still surprised to learn that you can get a Sublime Doughnut 24 hours a day. Yes, at both the Briarcliff and Tech Plaza locations you can get donuts and ice cream at any time, day or night. Don’t feel too bad if you’ve never taken advantage of their anytime-pastries attitude—we all make bad decisions after midnight, and not eating a donut is pretty high on the missed opportunities list.

Lips - Atlanta
Lips - Atlanta

Get dragged

Various Locations
Atlanta is a legendary LGBTQ+ capital, and thus, it’s only right that it’s also home to plenty of great drag shows. On Buford Highway, there’s Lips Drag Queen Show Palace, Restaurant & Bar, a place that offers you a lively drag performance along with flavorful eats. On Saturday nights, they have a pretty wild performance from “mistress of seduction” Taejah Thomas called Taboo: The Dirty Show. Sometimes, you can also pop over to Edgewood Avenue for drag shows at My Sister’s Room, Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, and Georgia Beer Garden, and of course, you can’t forget about Mary’s in East Atlanta.

Cascade Skating
Cascade Skating

Southwest Atlanta
Wednesday and Sunday nights might seem like a bad choice to stay out from 8 pm until midnight, but how can you resist going to a skating rink that’s 100% clear of anyone under the age of 18? That’s why Cascade Fun Center is still culturally relevant decades removed from when it was predominantly featured in 2006’s ATL. Friday also has a late-night adult skate session from 11:30 pm to 2:30 am, but as long as you go when it’s 18+, you’re bound to be amazed by talented skaters executing some of the most unbelievable rolling routines you’ve ever seen. Roll in and roll out.

Smith's Olde Bar
Smith's Olde Bar

Hear live late music

Various locations 
As evidenced by the incredible addition of The Eastern last year, the city can always use more live music venues, but with that said, we’ve still got a few that have held us down for years and continued to serve their neighborhoods some soul-stirring live tunes. If you’re in the Old Fourth Ward there’s Venkman’s for everything from funk to yacht rock (literally, as members of Yacht Rock Revue own it). Then you can find blues at either Northside Tavern in West Midtown or Blind Willie’s in Virginia-Highland, a range of rock, alternative, country, and acoustic at Smith’s Olde Bar, and everything from Hip-Hop and R&B to alternative rock and heavy metal at The Masquerade.

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Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram at @roshrisky.
Mike Jordan spent so much time out late in his 20s and 30s that he never wants to see a sunrise again, but he can still be bribed with a Sublime Doughnut from time to time. Follow him on Instagram at @MikeJordanATL, and on Twitter at @MichaelBJordan.