It was once wisely said by the great and venerable Kenny Rodgers that "you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away."
That advice is easily applied to the side of town you choose to spend your evenings, in the era after college and post-graduate education.
If your network is your net worth, as another old adage goes, the neighborhood where you socialize will have quite an impact on who you know and where you're going in life.
With that in mind, these are some of the best neighborhoods for the hip, young professional in the too-old-for-Buckhead era of nightlife.
The tried and true neighborhood of choice for the college graduate looking to socialize, Virginia-Highland has been a social destination for Atlanta's young professionals for decades. From the popular choices like Darkhorse Tavern to the savvy veteran's choice (Blind Willies or the Dark Horse's upstairs private club at the Warren), there are few things not to love about life in the O.G. live-work-play neighborhood. (Except maybe the cost of living.)
Whether you call it West Midtown or the Westside —a question of present discussion in media —the area to the west of Midtown Atlanta gets its spiritual center at the Westside Provisions commercial district.
No matter what you call it, West Midtown is one of the best places in Atlanta to go out. There are seemingly endless choices of great restaurants, bars, clubs and entertainment venues. Top Golf is located on the Westside, and the hottest bar in Charleston (O-ku) recently opened an Atlanta location as well.
Much as the 90's are making their inevitable (and welcome) comeback today, nothing is actually new. The Old Fourth Ward was one of Atlanta's best neighborhoods a century ago.
Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up in the neighborhood (and preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church). Today, it's sort of the trust-fund hipster mecca of Atlanta — where buildings in disrepair are converted into trendy spaces and the balance of history and future intersect.
Ponce City Market is in the neighborhood; a top live-work-play nationally, not just in Atlanta. The Street Car is a thing here. The Beltline, too. The Old Fourth Ward is where Atlanta's tomorrow is today.
For nightlife, try Edgewood Avenue. There is something more playful about Edgewood than the rest of Old Fourth Ward. Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping-Pong Emporium is a fully crazy bar that is better visited than explained.
The EDM scene thrives first on Edgewood — from Sound Table and Music Room to Erosol (Dept. Store)— it's where to go dance in Atlanta.
The fun you can have destroying newbs at Mortal Kombat (at Joystick Gamebar) will take you back to the era before your MBA, your mortgage, your car payment or anything else that sucks. And you can do it among the other too-cool-for-school, post-grads who populate the area.
Take that, LinkedIn!