Barfly - Graveyard Tavern: Where the filthy, 40-ounce sippers are
A Friday night visit to East Atlanta's big, sore, ghetto thumb
If the old Buckhead bar scene and eclectic East Atlanta had a love child, it would be Graveyard Tavern. The kid would be good-looking and popular, but lacking a little something in the class department. It would be the wild child that influenced others to drink and smoke in middle school and was liked by all cliques. If she was a girl, she'd probably be on the sluttish side: not the type that a guy would take to the prom, but he'd hook up with her at the after-party. She'd be kempt and well-dressed, but there would be something a little off beneath that polished exterior — like a wooden leg or a case of herpes.
Such is Graveyard: clean and pristine (not divey and dirty in the least), and a guarantee for a good time. People show up on the weekends from all backgrounds and 'hoods with the intention to let loose and get skanky on the dance floor, not to have the kind of casual, low-key night offered by some of the neighbors (Eastside Lounge excluded).
Graveyard feels a bit out of place in East Atlanta Village with its expansive space, pulsing rap music and club-style DJs, yet I couldn't imagine it anywhere else. I attended on a pre-Halloween "Filthy and Famous" Friday night, and I can only assume they deemed the weekly event with that moniker due to the cutesy alliteration. Because I didn't see anyone famous there, nor did I feel famous after I left; although I did feel a little filthier (mainly due to the smokers in attendance).
I walked in to a Lil Wayne song playing (always a positive start to the night), grabbed a drink and began to scan the mishmash of a crowd. There were some preppy frat-guy types hanging in the bar area. Some "edgier" dudes with dreads in one of the booths wrapping up a late dinner. Pretty girls by the pool tables. Not-so-pretty girls making their way to the dance floor. A couple that busted in the door and beelined to one of the leather couches to furiously start making out (I later found out they were from Cobb County and apparently don't get out much). Then, I spotted one of Graveyard's signature patrons: a hot girl drinking a 40. This place was full of contradictions, and I liked it.
A friend I ran into while ordering a round of SoCo shots (it just felt necessary) called Graveyard "East Atlanta's big, sore, ghetto thumb," yet he admitted he frequented the place. Just like the aforementioned love child: You may call her a slut, but you're still going to sleep with her. I could see the appeal, especially as the in-house DJ stepped up his game, drawing more and more people to the dance floor to booty shake to jams like "Turn My Swag On" and Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love." One person who never made it to the dance floor: hot chick with a 40. The reason: It took her all damn night to finish the thing.
After venturing onto the dance floor with my own swag (or something like it) in tow, I glanced up at the large movie screen above the DJ booth to catch what looked like an old-school, soft-core (maybe lesbian) porn playing — because that goes perfectly with Soulja Boy, right? After a few more hip-hop tracks, the DJ got ballsy and turned to techno, after which the dance floor immediately cleared. Apparently people don't come to Graveyard to listen to techno. They come to dance to urban music if the mood strikes, let loose and drink 40s. East Atlanta's big, sore, ghetto thumb? Sounds about right. But maybe that's the point.
Ed. note: The original photo that was posted with this story has been replaced with the photo above.