ATL Hotspots From Donald Glover's 'Atlanta': From Strip Clubs to Waffle House
The first season of the FX hit comedy Atlanta has offered viewers an all-access pass into some of the city’s hottest spots, as seen through the bloodshot eyes of rapper/weed enthusiast Paper Boi (portrayed by Brian Tyree Henry) and his cousin-manager Earn (played by the show’s creator, Atlanta native Donald Glover). “The show gets it all right,” says Atlanta rapper/binge-watcher Jace. “It captures the realness.” Now, some of the real-life spots frequented by the stars.
1. Rio Club & Lounge
Clubgoers are more likely to spot Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho in the VIP section than fictional Atlanta Hawks point guard Marcus Miles, whom Paper Boi encountered in the show (Henry calls that episode “one of my favorites to film”). With its luxe bottle service and imported Brazilian DJs, Rio bills itself as a trip to the tropics for the “social elite” where rappers such as Yung Joc have performed.
2. Waffle House
This 24/7, 365-days-a-year diner chain has been name-checked by 2 Chainz, Future and J. Cole. “I mean, where else do you go in Atlanta after the club?” asks Henry. “I don’t even use a fork and knife there. I eat those waffles with my hands!” The actor often would stop by the restaurant at 3 a.m. to go through his scripts for the show. “Those waffles melt in your mouth.”
3. Goldrush Show Bar
The first season of Atlanta concluded in the hazy aftermath of Paper Boi’s birthday party at this iconic strip club. “It’s where a lot of business gets done in this city,” jokes Jace of the adult cabaret venue that’s close to the airport. Adds Henry, who documented the season-finale shoot for director Hiro Murai on Snapchat: “I have seen some of the most acrobatic feats of my life in Atlanta strip clubs. It’s an art form.”
4. J.R. Crickets
Paper Boi’s first taste of fame comes when a fan who works in the kitchen hooks him up with the off-menu “lemon pepper wet” wings. “We filmed that scene at 8 a.m. It was so hard to not dive into that box,” recalls Henry, who has eaten “pounds” of Crickets wings. Business has spiked ever since: “After the show’s premiere, it has been nonstop,” says GM Joel Carr, who serves rappers like T.I. (he orders his wings hot).
5. Cameli’s Gourmet Pizza
Perhaps the only Zagat-rated pizzeria in a shopping center with a grocery store nicknamed Murder Kroger, Cameli’s offers cheap but creative pies. “After 20 years, we’ve seen a lot of weirdness, usually involving nudity,” says owner George Cameli. ”When the show first approached me, I had no idea who the star was -- I thought it was a Danny Glover project. But I definitely know who Donald is now, and I love him!”
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 12 issue of Billboard.