Looking for an excuse to check out a different side of Atlanta? Here are seven suggestions:
Don't be fooled into thinking this is an honest, earnest celebration of the corn dog. Now in its 12th year, Corndogorama is a kitchy blend of indie, punk and garage bands mixed with corn-dog-eating contests, flip-flop races and beer games. It all takes place at Lenny's Bar, a straight-up scuzzbox of a bar where all the kids wear Chuck Taylors and nurse Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys. It's bliss.
Corndogorama: June 26-29 at Lenny's Bar, 486
Decatur St. SE; www.corndogorama.com.
The New York native is one of Atlanta's most celebrated chefs, mostly for stints on TV's Top Chef and Iron Chef America, and for his signature high-tech creations, like ranch ice cream and foie gras milkshakes. In April, he and Atlanta restaurateur Tom Catherall opened Home, a fresh, gourmet take on the home-cooked meal. He also created the menu at a gourmet burger joint called Flip on Howell Mill Road in Midtown. Blais said it will open in early fall, and a signature item will be the corned beef burger with buttered cabbage and a fried egg, and a Krispy Kreme milkshake. Mmmm.
Home, 111 W Paces Ferry Road NW; (404) 869-0777.
The Clermont Lounge
It may not be Atlanta's most famous nudie club, but it's up there. A dingy basement lounge beneath the crumbling Clermont Hotel, the Clermont Lounge is the sort of dive you visit on a dare, just to say you've been. A number of celebrities have paid homage to the Clermont over the years. Dancers pick their own songs on the jukebox, including Blondie, a local legend who'll crush your beer can between her breasts for a $5 tip. But you didn't hear it from us.
Clermont Lounge, 789 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE; (404) 874-4783, www.clermontlounge.net.
All the big shows
Atlanta is a great destination for a summer concert road trip. Some of the artists who will be in Atlanta this summer, but not Tampa Bay, include Erykah Badu and the Roots (Fox Theatre, May 23), R.E.M. and Modest Mouse (Lakewood Amphitheatre, June 21) and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (Chastain Park Amphitheatre, July 10). Check Pollstar.com for concerts in Atlanta.
Each Labor Day, Atlanta's beloved Starlight Six Drive-In hosts a two-day, all-night celebration of monster movies, cars and music. It's the biggest, most raucous annual event at one of the East Coast's great remaining drive-in theaters.
Starlight Six Drive-In, 2000 Moreland Ave. SE; (404) 627-5786, www.starlightdrivein.com.
Take a culinary tour of the city's best barbecue starting at Fat Matt's in Midtown, which has live music nightly and tender, unrepentantly sloppy ribs with a pleasantly crispy bark. Then visit Rolling Bones, housed in an old gas station in the historic Sweet Auburn district, where the almost ridiculously sweet pulled pork sandwich smothers two heroic slabs of Texas toast. Drive down to Daddy D'z, a ramshackle cabin that serves sweet meat in tangy sauce. Finally, make a quick trip to Harold's, a local landmark that looks like it hasn't changed a bit in 30 years. Good eatin'.
Fatt Matt's Rib Shack, 1811 Piedmont Ave.; (404) 607-1622, www.fatmattsribshack.com. Rolling Bones Premium Pit BBQ, 377 Edgewood Ave. SE; (404) 222-2324, www.rollingbonesbbq.com. Daddy D'z BBQ Joynt, 264 Memorial Drive; (404)222-0206, www.daddydz.com. Harold's Barbecue, 171 McDonough Blvd. SE; (404) 627-9268, www.haroldsbarbecue.com.
Netherworld Haunted House
For a fall road trip, hit one of the top haunted houses in America: Netherworld, a horrifying labyrinth of ghouls and specters. Fans and celebrities come from around the world to be spooked.
Netherworld Haunted House is open from early September to early November (dates have not yet been announced) at the Georgia Antique and Design Center, 6624 Dawson Blvd., Norcross, Ga.; (404) 608-2484, www.fearworld.com.