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20 Unique Ways to Spend Your Summer Nights
Alison Abbey, Caroline Cox, Perrine DeShield, Nikki Igbo and Stephanie Davis Smith | Photo: Prestige Helicopters Photo by Derek Blanks | May 28, 2014
When the temps heat up around Atlanta, so does the city’s VIP social scene. Here, a slew of exceptional ways to revel, dine, sip and indulge your way through summer.
1. SKY HIGH
Take a ride that would leave even Aladdin a smidge jealous. If you’re slumbering at the W Atlanta - Downtown or dining at BLT Steak, Prestige Helicopters will pick you up on the hotel’s helipad for $225 and swoop you through Downtown and Buckhead for 30 minutes ($325 if not staying or dining at the hotel). A concierge helps you wind your way through VIP access, up a secret elevator and out onto a meandering staircase to the hotel’s roof to behold a magnificent skyline. Then it’s up and away! 45 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd.
2. HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Until now, few have had the chance to step back in time for dinner at the circa-1860s Smith Family Farm at the Atlanta History Center. The museum is opening the farmhouse grounds for private affairs seating up to 12 on the porch of the historical house or for 30 on the Swan House Boxwood Porch—think full premium bar, costumed interpreters, live period music and games, plus a private tour of the house museum. It’s a blast from the past! $8,000-$30,000, food not included, 130 W. Paces Ferry Road
3. ART OF THE MATTER
What Atlanta art aficionado wouldn’t clamor for an exclusive invite to cocktails with High Museum of Art Director Michael Shapiro on his private Director’s Terrace? All you need to be included is membership inside the Director’s Circle Forum. Once part of the club, also receive private exhibition tours and special curator-led exhibition tours, VIP passes and priority admission to all High events, consultation with the museum’s curators on personal art acquisitions and the coup de grace: the opportunity to travel with Shapiro and a small group to an art-related destination each year. $15,000 per year, 1280 Peachtree St. NE
4. LET ROCK RULE
See perennial faves Aerosmith deliver the definitive rock ‘n’ roll experience at Philips Arena on Aug. 28. Treat yourself to the group’s Wheels Up Package and snag VIP early entry into the arena with seating in the first 10 rows of this epic event; exclusive show swag; and a pre-show Q&A and performance with Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford and Tom Hamilton. The pinnacle? The chance to attend a meet-and-greet and photo op with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry ($1,250). Or, see the show from one of the private suites (pictured above) with 16 of your friends and receive four parking passes too ($4,785). 1 Philips Drive
5. COVERT CUISINE
A success with foodies in NYC, L.A. and Chicago (among others), Dinner Lab has recently come to Atlanta. Members of this underground supper club receive weekly invites to please their palates with adventurous foods prepared by stellar chefs (such as Tyler Williams formerly of Bacchanalia and Woodfire Grill) looking to throw together some seriously chic eats. Each of these dinner parties (June 7, 11, 21 and 25) is held at a remote location, the name of which is withheld until the last minute, making the experience equal parts James Bond and James Beard. Venues have included an underground Downtown gallery and a boxing arena, so there’s no telling where this gastro group will pop up next. $150 annually, dinner prices vary
6. JET, SET, GO!
The Taste of Speed on June 7 promises to be a first-class frenzy of all things upper-crust. Walk the red carpet into a fabulous 10,000-square-foot airplane hangar filled with the world’s finest gadgets, garb and gems. Acquaint yourself with custom-built motorcycles, elite autos is bringing something special) and private aircraft. Savor fine wines and desserts. Get wise to exclusive getaways. The superposh event also features celebri-chef Heather Hurlbert, The Mad Violinist Ashanti Floyd, an auction by the stars of Discovery Channel’s Auction Kings benefiting CURE Childhood Cancer and a fashion show. A super-VIP area with Atlanta Motorsports Park is rumored to have a pro race car driver as host—but to get access, you have to get on the VIP list. From $125, Pilots Country Club, 2007 Flightway Drive
7. DELUXE DRIVE-IN
On July 12, steal away to Serenbe’s picturesque Wildflower Meadow to catch this lavish spin on retro drive-in flicks. Enjoy a decadent picnic dinner from The Farmhouse’s new chef, Thaddeus Barton, complete with entrees, dishware, cutlery, glasses, wine, cocktails, popcorn, candy and candlelight. Relax with your best movie buddy, or make it a double date as you take in The Wizard of Oz. Later, the screening gets interactive as the Serenbe Playhouse cast members create a special moment with the audience. After the show, stick around to meet and greet the cast, and the Playhouse’s executive director. Then dance the night away under the stars to live music. $300 for two, $500 for four, 10700 Hutcheson Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills, brownpapertickets.com
8. LAKE LIFE
Wade through the waters of Lake Lanier with new luxury boat-share service Cruzin, which offers up day rentals—think high-end models from Regal, Cobalt, Malibu, Harris and more. Hop a 40-foot Cruisers 3650 with an enclosed cabin, two bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen and dual-zone air conditioner for $1,600 for the day. Then dock to dance and dine at one of the lake’s Full-Moon Parties. On June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9, live bands will perform for sun-kissed revelers. Step off your ship for a few hours and enjoy the music, along with specialty cocktails and new menu items from the Sunset Cove restaurant, all followed by a fireworks spectacular. Lake Lanier Islands Resort, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford
9. SOUTHERN SOUNDS
Buff up your boots because country is coming to town. Zac Brown Band (June 7), Tim McGraw (July 13), and Brad Paisley (Aug. 14) are all arriving in Atlanta, and you might as well see them in style. Purchase a VIP Box Seat Package at Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood to all three shows and leave the regular entrance to the rest of the crowd. You’ll have access to premium parking, and exclusive seating under the pavilion roof via your own private passage. Plus you and your party of up to six will be treated to at-your-seat wait service and entry to the VIP Club. Pricing upon request, 2002 Lakewood Ave. SE; livenationpremiumseats.com
10. PATRIOTIC PENTHOUSE
Kick Independence Day up a notch with a private party at one of two 1,800-square-foot or one of eight 720-square-foot suites at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Crank your America-loving soundtrack on the Bang and Olufsen BeoSound 9000 or have a few anthems played on your room’s baby grand by a private pianist. The hotel can serve your guests in-room dinner or feel free to hire your favorite private chef to work culinary magic on site with Viking appliances in the butler’s pantry. Check in early to watch both the Peachtree Road Race and the Lenox Square fireworks with your suite’s VIP view. From $519 per night, 3434 Peachtree Road NE
11. DIFFERENT STROKES
Enjoy a swinging good time every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, at the newly bowed TopGolf Alpharetta. Snag a Platinum membership and skip the lines. You’ll get unlimited priority access and special treatment in a VIP bay for up to five players to enjoy unlimited range time from 8pm till close. Improve your stroke and challenge your mates by hitting at targets with microchipped balls that instantly track your accuracy and distance. Meanwhile, a dedicated bay host will be on hand to attend to your every need. $250 per month, $50 per person per visit, 10900 Westside Parkway, Alpharetta
12. POLO PICNIC
On June 22, don your big hat and your best seersucker to attend a swank Sunday polo match at Chukkar Farm Polo Club (prices vary, 140 Liberty Grove Road) at 2pm. Picnic blankets, cocktails and bites all welcome. That evening, just up the road, join Derek Dollar, the executive chef of Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails for the ultimate farm-to-table alfresco dining event. Under the Georgia night sky, the elegant restaurant will host a Seed to Fork Garden Dinner ($125 per person, 800 Mayfield Road, Milton) from 5 to 8pm. Begin with hors d’oeuvres and libations in the Milton’s Acre garden and Strawberry Fields behind the restaurant, followed by a chef’s tour of the grounds. Then you’ll be seated garden-side for a four-course menu of Southern comfort foods featuring a modern-rustic palate, wine pairings and the freshest vegetables and herbs in the garden.
13. VIEW TO A THRILL
Skip the line at SkyView Atlanta and get a double flight with your party of five to enjoy a spectacular vista of Downtown when you opt for the VIP ticket. The 20-story-high Ferris wheel has one VIP gondola complete with a glass floor, television, comfy Ferrari leather seats and its own roped-off bar and pre-ride party area. Afterward, take in more views and a few nightcaps in the nearby Sky Lounge rooftop deck and bar of the Glenn Hotel (named one of the top rooftop-bars in the world by abc.com). Book one of two VIP semiprivate areas ahead of time and you’ll have your own servers and bites waiting for you when you arrive. $50 per person, 168 Luckie St. NW; prices upon request, 110 Marietta St. NW
14. PAIR, IF YOU PLEASE
For the 22nd year of Jeffrey Fashion Cares—one of the most chichi premier fashion events in the city—expect a pair theme. For the first time, their VIP Patron Package gets you two fabulous fashion-forward parties for the price of one. Opt in to get access to the private VIP patron party at Jeffrey Atlanta on June 8, which features complimentary cocktails and bites from Yebo. Patrons also can expect the royal treatment at the main event on Aug. 25—VIP cocktail reception, pre-party access, front-row seats to the runway show and tickets to the afterparty. $1,500, 250 Williams St. NW
15. ALL NIGHT LONG
Lionel Richie will have fans running with the night at Chastain Park Amphitheater on July 7. Atlanta’s own CeeLo Green is opening for the legend on the outdoor stage. Skip the masses and saunter into a VIP entrance with the SLO VIP Services Meet & Greet package. Say “Hello...” to the legend in person during a preshow meet-and-greet and photo op with the soulful Richie. You’ll get one premium level ticket (table up front, please!) and enjoy exclusive access to a private area with hors d’oeuvres, spirits, desserts and crowd-free merch shopping before the concert. $660, 4469 Stella Drive NW
16. MANGEZ BIEN
A 48-hours-in-advance reservation is required to book this private off-the-menu dinner party for you and up to nine of your favorite fellow epicureans at F&B Atlanta ($120 per person, 3630 Peachtree Road NE). Chef Philippe Haddad will treat you to a seasonal four-course carte du jour of his Belgian-inspired French fare paired with Champagne. Blissfully full, take Uber just down the road to Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta (from $535 per night, 3376 Peachtree Road) and stay in its 2,340-square-foot Mandarin Suite at the tippy top of the hotel and have your in-room butler bring you a nightcap to enjoy on the en suite private balcony overlooking Buckhead.
17. GRAND SLAM
Treat yourself like an ace during this year’s 2014 BB&T Atlanta Open. Acquire the A-lister Lexus Inner Circle Weekend Package ($668 per person) and you’ll have the best seats in the stadium plus access to the VIP Courtside Club for the weekend’s matches. Insiders know about this year’s Tennis Night on the Town July 19 at Twelve Atlantic Station Hotel. The sports-inspired gala benefits the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and features courtly cuisine, signature cocktails and lots of elbow-rubbing action with ATP World Tour pros (from $100). One more VIP event not to miss: Ladies Day on July 25 will include an ATP player clinic at 9:30am, lunch at Strip, a special appearance by a tennis celebrity and a platinum ticket for the day’s matches. 361 17th St. NW
18. FIELD DAY
Foodies should expect to be on cloud nine during the second annual Field Feast—an exclusive fundraiser for Wellspring Living on June 7. Event stylist wunderkind Joy Thigpen is turning Cherry Hollow Farm in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga. (approximately 45 minutes south of Atlanta), into a billowy, cloud-themed extravaganza. If it’s anything like last year’s over-the-top pink aesthetic, revelers are in for a treat. With access only given to 200 people, the farm-to-table dinner under cafe lighting overlooking a pond is sure to sell out once again. Southern band Whiskey Belt is back to play for the crowds again. The special supper will be situated inside a stunning barn that was constructed from old warehouses, mills and other barns in the South. Begin the evening with a lemon and ginger, or bourbon and rosemary cocktail from Bamboo Juice before sitting down to a family-style meal and conversation with the who’s who of Atlanta sitting all around you. $125, 12525 Jones Ferry Road, Palmetto; email email@example.com for tickets.
19. HAVING A BALL
Gumball 3000’s opulent cross-continental racing affair ($67,000 entry fee, anyone?) comes roaring into Atlanta on June 5 to host a car rally at Centennial Olympic Park. Expect elaborate cars on display, plus 20,000 music fans grooving to live alfresco performances. Race founder, British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper and his fiancee, Grammy Award-winner Eve, are using the entire excursion as a pre-wedding party—so their celeb friends should be along for the ride. See it all from a luxe VIP perch for $125, then secure a table at Vanquish nightclub for the ultraexclusive afterparty for $600. 265 Park Ave. W., ticketalternative.com
20. FONTASTIC FOUR
Attention, Luddites! Hang out with Atlanta’s artsy set at MODA’s (1315 Peachtree St. NE) Come As Your Favorite Font party on Aug. 16. Before flaunting your typeface attire, book the 2,200-square-foot Presidential Suite at nearby Four Seasons Atlanta Hotel (rooms from $1,500 per night, 75 14th St. NW) for a private pre-party dinner. Each suite has a private dining area. At $150 per person for up to 10 of your favorite design-obsessed friends, relish Park 75’s Chef’s Tasting Dinner, which features an in-room, multicourse feast with wine pairings based on your preferences. After the MODA bash, head back to your suite for a panoramic view of the city that’s too good for words.