Spend a few minutes at Johnny's on a Saturday night, and you might start subconsciously drawing comparisons to a Discovery Channel episode on mating rituals in the wild. Frozen perpetually in 1979, Johnny's is known for their, er, diverse age range of patrons (crasser types might refer to it as a "cougar den," but we'd never stoop to such depths). You'll most likely spot a bevy of sequined, lipsticked gals busting moves to shag and disco on the crowded dance floor, and at least one or two slick gentlemen dressed in white from head-to-toe. (That includes the hair.)
Buford Highway Farmers Market
If you can dodge the shopping carts (and the tenacious grannies throwin' bows), this international market makes for some of the most fascinating people-watching in Atlanta. Perched right on Atlanta's international corridor, a few minutes in the BuHi market will expose you not only to foreign produce (don't be tempted by the durian), but also to the dozens of cultures and languages that make up ATL. If you're lucky, you might even catch some heated haggling over at the fish counter.
The ageless tiki bar beneath the Hilton isn't just a deliciously garish outpost of the '60s, or a lei-bedecked escape to Polynesia: it's also a microcosm of touristy weirdness (especially if you luck out and there's a convention going on). But even if you aren't surrounded by Dragon*Con-ners in all their costumed glory or friendly Furries romping about, you're still likely to get some good people-spotting time in once you camp out at the bar with a mug full of something you'll almost certainly regret the next morning. Show up on a Thursday and feast your eyes on the dance floor, where the drunken will be busting moves to the music of Tongo Hiti.
A true vestige from another time, this honky-tonk is redolent with Stetson hats, Merle Haggard, menthol cigarettes and perhaps a few of the most interesting characters you'll ever encounter. Navigate around the parking lot full of big rigs, saunter inside, and saddle up to the bar (heads-up, your feet might stick to the beer-glazed floor a little) for a cheap beer and conversation. (And before you head down Moreland to Conley, study up with our late-night dispatch from SoCo. Long live George Jones.)
The Daquiri Factory
Believe it or not, you can find gold at the end of the rainbow. Simply follow the neon glow emanating from Daquiri Factory’s slushie wall, take in the ungodly hues of Nuclear Waste green and Papa Smurf blue, and there you will find drunken, people watching gold. Legend has it that if you spend over an hour at TDF (as those in the know call it) that the watcher becomes the watchee, downing countless tubs of throat searing grain alcohol, and trying to make out with the subwoofer. Pro-tip: Not recommended without a partner.
Did you know IKEA has no rules about bringing your own alcohol on their premises? Okay, well, they might, we’re not sure – at the very least they don’t have any signs directly forbidding it. With that in mind, here’s your next Saturday! Put some Grigio in a Camel-Bak and find a comfortable couch in the Living Room section. Bring flags and banners that say “BOYFRIEND” and “GIRLFRIEND”. When a couple starts to fight, cheer on your favorite! Every time a party makes a valid point, make note of it on the scoreboard. If someone blows a raspberry or chastises the opponent’s parents, boom! That’s a foul. Put ‘em on the penalty ottoman for at least a minute.
Octane Grant Park
Do you like to stare at attractive strangers? Gross! You disgust us. A person’s body is their own to decorate as they like without having to worry about being ogled. What you deem as harmless, natural behavior is actually keeping us back a few centuries. Stop treating strangers like objects begging for your judgment, weirdo. Having said that, Octane is like… a pretty people convention. Where did they all come from? Is there an underground factory right underneath this coffee shop, spewing out hotties through pneumatic tubes? Maybe it’s like Epcot, and they’re just beautiful, sexy robots who are only programed to type and thumb through issues of Vice. Keep on your creep game though! One of the hottie-bots might ask you what the wifi password is, and you’ll be kicking yourself all day if you can only grunt in reply.
Local Scout Travis Broyles once stared at the internet until it made sense. He's been writing and eating in Atlanta for five years, and even forced down 5.2 pounds of pizza just for Scoutmob. (The goal was 5.5, but we appreciate the gesture.) If you need him, he will be at Park Grounds with his dog, steadily transitioning from coffee to beer, and writing weird tweets under the ineffective pseudonym @TravisBroyles.