The Goths of Cabbagetown

 

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When I found out Bauhaus would be playing within a few hours’ drive, I immediately bought a ticket without thinking of any details. Seeing them live has been a dream since, oh… the late 90s, and I would not abide another missed chance.

My song for this entry is “Double Dare” by Bauhaus:

 

It had been a few years since my last stay in Atlanta and I was surprised by some of the changes. One of our old haunts, the Masquerade, had been demolished and the business relocated to the Underground.

An abundance of new shops, bars, and restaurants have filled out neighbourhoods surrounding the downtown area, but Star Bar and the Earl are still kicking. Same as they ever were.

Unlike many of my adventures, I went with a group of people this time and thought I would write more personally for this entry.

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Skyscrapers and innovative designs always draw me in, even if they are just full of banks and offices. Every trip I take yields dozens of photos of doorways, rails, rooftops, staircases,  knobs, arches, windows, and other architectural features that never see the light of social media.

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Atlanta has no shortage of diversity; something that always wins me over in a city whether its the people, the culture, the food, art scene, or anything else, the least of which is not architecture.

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Cabbagetown
We stayed at an AirBNB in an area I had never even heard of before called Cabbagetown, a historic district on the East side of Atlanta near the famous Oakland Cemetery.

A Jewish immigrant built the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill (pictured below) in the early 1880s, as well as a tiny shotgun-style town for the workers to live in. Many of them were, or were descendants of, Irish and Scottish settlers. Legend has it that the town took its name from the abundance (and smell) of cabbage gardens and the inhabitants who were always growing, cooking, and eating cabbage.

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Today the old mill has a new life as the largest residential loft housing unit in the country. It is a sanctuary for businessmen, artists, musicians, and a mysterious lot of others.

The streets in Cabbagetown, like most industrial or factory towns, are teensy tiny and narrow. Residential sidewalks are hardly wide enough for one person, the blocks are very short, and the houses are cramped so near each other or touching.

Main roads are more spacious though, and we enjoyed the colourful Victorian homes and small decorative gardens.

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The smallest of details at our AirBNB made our stay a lot of fun.

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Art of all types can be found on buildings, street lamps, hanging out from windows, and on the ground itself in Cabbagetown. The neighbourhood even has its own street gang that watches over art to make sure people stay cool and do not impose or destroy any beloved pieces.

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Murals, tags, graffiti, and other mediums are everywhere you look.

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Mother Mary, Puddles the Clown, and Colin Kaepernick on the same wall.

 

For more street art and murals, check out the Krog Street tunnel that connects Cabbagetown, Inman Park and Reynoldstown.  I am not sure what the exact parameters of these neighbourhoods are but in my inexperienced mind, they all run together around the tunnel. Go through the tunnel during the brightest of daylight because we drove through at night and it is not well lit.

This Youtube video below has some interesting commentary (via the most boring delivery ever) on artists and gentrification going on in Atlanta. It has interviews with the artists themselves, which is why I chose it over dozens of other “walking around in Krog Tunnel with loud techno playing” videos.

The last minute or so where she interviews a local couple and the artist DubelYoo is the most intriguing part for me.

 

There is an adorable city-wide scavenger hunt you can trek at your own pace called Tiny Doors ATL where, as you may guess, you locate tiny doors with varying themes and contexts.

Photo shared from Tiny Doors ATL

Dinner at Agave
Two of my dear hometown friends now live in Atlanta and they made reservations for us all at a restaurant called Agave, which was just three blocks from our AirBnB.

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Agave bills itself as an “eclectic Southwestern eatery” and I enjoyed my meal of pulled pork enchiladas with green hatch chilies and charred street corn.

The photo does not do the food justice, but they have a cool atmosphere and super attentive servers. I can see why Agave has been a staple in Cabbagetown for nearly twenty years now.

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Goths Take Over the Jukebox
After dinner we went for beers at a local alt-dive called 97 Estoria. We found the largest corner table and took over the jukebox to play a few of our favourite songs and get pumped for the show.

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Typically I avoid posting photos of beer in my blogs, but I have to give a shout out to Three Taverns Brewery for their Lord Grey, an earl grey tea sour ale. I am not a fan of ciders or sours at all, but I love earl grey tea and this was INCREDIBLE!

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Showtime
Masquerade was originally in a part of town that everyone I knew took cabs to because no one wanted to be caught (or hijacked) outside. The old location in the Old Fourth ward was becoming dangerously ran down and last time I was there, I saw damage/holes in the stairs big enough to fit your hand through and wave at people in the level below.

It was also sat right by what locals call the Murder Kroger (grocery store).

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A little over two years ago, Masquerade moved to its new home in the Kenny’s Alley wing of a multi-level entertainment complex called the Underground that has been struggling to survive for decades.

The city has made some great contributions and exceptions for the venue, including allowing a much later closing time than other bars, to ensure continued success.

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It was missing its old gothic charm and I did not make it upstairs, but I was able to check out the balcony from below and it looked nice.

Photo shared from Ajc.com

 

Bauhaus

The show itself was INCREDIBLE! If you are not familiar with Bauhaus, that’s on you. Peter Murphy was forced to cancel his performance the night before and was rushed to the ER for unconfirmed reasons, so the fact that he was in seemingly improved health and able to put on such a production less than 24 hours later was a gift from the gods.

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I was thrilled that they opened with my favourite song “Double Dare” before all the other hits- “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “St. Vitus Dance,” “In the Flat Field,” “She’s in Parties,” “Stigmata Martyr,” “Kick in the Eye” and many more. Bucket. List.

Art Show & Whiskeys
After the concert we moved on to the Highlander for their event Bloody Valentines- An Ode to Love Gone Wrong.

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We had such a great time, saw some rad local art, and met a few new people. They also have a smoking section if that’s your thing.

 

At last call we went back to our AirBnb for an afterparty, complete with dancing, PBR, and some Rap Snacks.

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The Morning After
We went for breakfast at Homegrown, an unassuming former convenience store that will totally surprise you. So many options, great quality, and creative fare.

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Everyone was in a gravy mood so we all ordered a variety of biscuit entrees- some with fried chicken, eggs, grilled veggies, grits, potatoes, and even a salmon cake.  So delicious and definitely worth the wait!

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While you wait, they invite you to make yourself a cup of coffee and take a look around their store in the back. It has a mix of antiques, handmade crafts, and repurposed items.

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…and for some reason a collection of xylophones. An elderly man walked in through the back door, sat to play along with the instructions on his laptop for a few moments, then disappeared again.

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We drove around the Grant Park area to check out the traveling Oddities Market at the Circus School of Atlanta and headed to Little Five Points.

Little Five Points
The most popular and populated area of Atlanta is known as the Little Five Points neighbourhood. This is where you will find a good mix of alternative lifestyles, tattoo and piercing studios, every CBD product you could imagine (salesmen will follow you in vans telling you not to be shy), whacky costumes, records, vintage clothes, antiques, and more.

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Junkman’s Daughter is a gift shop / head shop with clothes, costumes, decor, and gifts which has been around as long as I can remember.

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It used to be the only place you could find all of that in one store, as well as a huge selection of licensed character items. Long before specialty stores in malls, accessible internet shopping, and Hot Topic, alt kids everywhere dreamed of going to Junkman’s Daughter.

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Another costume shop down the street-

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Criminal Records also has gifts, toys, comics, electronics, dvds, etc.

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Little 5 Pizza was really great when I was there last time, and I have heard good reviews of Corner Tavern.

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We stopped into the Porter Beer bar and I tried a German chocolate cupcake stout. The place has an old world feel, with carved wood, lots of antique trunks, and beer signs from Germany, Belgium and Holland. Their draft pulls are also made from repurposed railroad stakes (see bottom right).

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Star Bar is one of my favourite places in Atlanta, because of a combination of nostalgia for Chicago’s Gold Star Bar, and my love of casual punk rock grittiness that both bars facilitate.

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The staff and guests welcomed us and started up conversations with us right away. Some we recognised from the show the previous night and others we found different things in common with. They have a nice stage and have really polished the place up in recent years. I will always make it a point to return here each time I visit.

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Another must try is the Vortex, which is right across the street from Star Bar and impossible to miss. They are known for their burgers but you can substitute beef for chicken or vegetarian options. It can be hectic to get in with 1-3 hour waits, depending on the time, but you will be rewarded.

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Ordering multiple entrees and splitting them is my preferred way to eat out. Two of us teamed up on the Zombie Apocalypse burger (pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, over-easy eggs on Texas toast) and the Ka’Mana Wa’na Lei’ya (bacon, pineapple, jalapeno jelly, on Texas toast).

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We all tried some fried pickle spears and funnel cake strips as well. I was so full after the pickles and a few bites of my burger that I took most of it to go.

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While researching Cabbagetown I found an astounding number of songs by the same name, devoted to Cabbagetown, and even about tearfully leaving Cabbagetown. Here are just a few for your entertainment:

 

 

 

 

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