The Crimson Moon, Dahlonega
In many ways the Georgia Mountains’ answer to Eddie’s Attic, The Crimson Moon sits on Dahlonega’s town square, attracts some of the same touring singer-songwriter acts, and tilts the balance a bit more toward the kitchen. The Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray lives nearby and has been known to drop in. Owner Dana LaChance is a musician herself, and knows how to set the table for a night of great music combined with relaxed eating and drinking in a mining-town saloon environment absent the rowdiness.
Everett's Music Barn, Suwanee
Named quite literally, Everett's Music Barn is a pass-the-hat, alcohol-free hoedown located on the family’s property in Suwanee. It opens every Saturday night at 8 p.m. with the Everett Family Band and continues with national bluegrass acts and/or open-mic jam sessions. It’s hard to imagine a cooler, more unique way to spend a weekend evening.
The Jinx, Savannah
It’s a mystery why a major destination like Savannah lacks a traditional music venue, but necessity is the mother of invention, and the Forest City has built a vibrant music scene around a series of makeshift clubs. The Jinx is perhaps the highest profile, a neighborhood-style bar hosting local and touring rock acts. And on active nights (which describes most Savannah evenings), it’s situated for an easy crawl to other watering holes.
Lady Antebellum Pavilion, Evans
The Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park near Augusta is an outdoor band shell spilling open onto 140,000 square feet of green space, creating capacity for over 10,000. Affectionately dubbed “The Lady A” for its hometown heroes, the architecturally striking modern structure has housed an eclectic range of performers from Sam Hunt to the Carolina Chocolate Drops to Travis Tritt to the Pavilion’s namesakes themselves.
Mill Town Music Hall, Bremen
The newest significant addition to the state’s music landscape, the 1,000-capacity Mill Town Music Hall opened in 2012 and made immediate contributions to West Georgia’s entertainment scene. Family-friendly bookings emphasize classic country performers (Larry Gatlin, Tanya Tucker Oak Ridge Boys, Wynonna). It’s also purpose-driven, with a local ministry operating the concession booth to fund its community outreach.
The Northside Tavern, Atlanta
This blues club has made several lists of the nation’s top dive bars and, yes, that’s a compliment. The once-industrial Westside Atlanta neighborhood has gentrified with trendy restaurants and boutiques springing up around it, but the Northside Tavern seems suspended in time, grates on its windows and a textbook juke joint feel. Befitting that vibe, the club features gritty old-school blues seven nights a week.
Spivey Hall, Morrow
This concert hall south of Atlanta on the Clayton State University campus was built in 1991 but has the stately feel of a much older chamber. The 400-capacity room’s national reputation has been bolstered by frequent appearances on public radio’s “Performance Today.” Spivey Hall’s acoustics are exquisite, befitting its world-class classical (and occasionally jazz) programming.