The music is bumping, and you're sipping your favorite cocktail, exchanging glances with someone tall, dark and handsome across the room. The lights flash on signaling "last call," but you're not ready to leave the crowded club. Oh, wait. We're talking about a different kind of clubbing.
This month, we've rounded up some of the best and most welcoming clubs in Atlanta. From bookworms to barbecue lovers, there really is a club for everyone. These active groups keep the heartbeat in our city, allowing people of all ages to come together and bond over a common passion. Let's go clubbing, Atlanta.
The Wine Cellars Wine of the Month Club
Whether you have an untrained palate or you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, it's easy to get stuck drinking the same familiar wines over and over. The Wine Cellars Wine of the Month Club will keep things fresh, though, featuring two new wines each month and holding member-only wine tastings. "Member-only wine tastings often feature winemakers and always feature tastings with higher-end wines," says Reneé Rowe, the group's president. Monthly memberships cost $39.99, but discounts are available if you pay to join for three, six or 12 months at a time. Plus, Rowe says, members receive a monthly newsletter. "The TWC Newsletter includes information on featured wines, recipes, gift features and more."
Fun Fact: You are allowed to bring one guest to the monthly tastings, or you can purchase a membership for a friend. Just make a note of "gift" in the comments section when you order online, and your friends will be ready to wine and dine right along with you.
Insider Info: The Wine Cellars also hosts two large galas each year, which are catered and feature special tastings of more than 30 high-end wines for their members.
Details: 1295 W. Spring St., Suite 100, Smyrna, GA, www.winecellarsonline.com/wineclub
Atlanta Over 40
If you're looking for the perfect blend of social and professional networking, the Atlanta Over 40 club might be for you. Darrah Brustein, the group's founder, says, "The people who attend are of the same mindset and are attracted to events that allow them to enjoy great conversations without fear of being sold something or being hit on, like might happen at a singles event." Events consist of three-hour happy hours, giving you a chance to explore and mingle through a high-energy crowd.
Fun Fact: No memberships for this club! Just come to any events that fit your schedule.
Insider Info: This group grew out of the success of Atlanta Under 40, so if you don't meet the age requirement for Atlanta Over 40, you have another great option to have fun and network.Details: www.atlantaoverforty.com
Atlanta BBQ Club
Have you ever attended a "meating" in Atlanta? Here's your chance. Every month, the members of the Atlanta BBQ Club meet up at a local barbecue spot to eat, chat with the owner of the restaurant and receive a tour of the smoker and kitchen. Live like a true Southerner and attend some awesome events like The Atlanta BBQ Festival held every year. "Everyone loves barbecue, and it brings people together for good food and good memories. Hog heaven on earth," says Bob Herndon, the down-to-earth club president.
Fun Fact: Atlanta boasts the highest ratio of barbecue restaurants per capita of any other city in the nation, and we're the only city in the U.S. with a barbecue club. Even more reason to join!
Insider Info: The Atlanta BBQ Club offers an app for iPhones called "Atlanta BBQ Club Locator." No matter where you are, you can always find some delicious barbecue nearby.
Big Peach Running Co.
From the newest newbie to the most seasoned running veteran, you will find a home at the Big Peach Running Co. Their "no runner left behind" policy ensures that you will get fit, stay safe and have fun. "We always have someone leading the pack for the faster runners as well as someone at the back of the pack to make sure no one gets lost or is left behind," says Karen Kaye of Big Peach Running Co. The group offers various distance runs – anywhere from one to six miles on a given day. Long distance runs are offered Saturday mornings for those training for half or full marathons. To join, just show up for their runs whenever you're available.
Fun Fact: You don't have to be a runner to join the club. Big Peach Running Co. embraces walkers, day hikers, racewalkers, run/walkers, folks just getting started and those with a lot
Insider Info: Be sure to sign up for their weekly e-newsletter for an insider's look into special activities and updates.Details: www.bigpeachrunningco.com
Atlanta Sport and Social Club
Remember recess? The Atlanta Sport and Social Club serves active adults interested in playing sports, having fun and staying active. You can either sign up as a free agent or sign up with friends as a team. Don't worry – you don't have to be a prior Olympian to join the league. Think of it as a great way to meet new people and add some variety to your exercise routine.
Fun Fact: The club hosts ATL Field Day, giving the adults of Atlanta a chance to get down and dirty and vie for the title of "King of the Field."
Insider Info: The club's demographic mainly includes adults from ages 24 to 35. About 60 percent of participants are male, and 40 percent are female. Not bad, ladies!
Alliance Française d'Atlanta
Indulge your sophisticated side by considering a membership with Atlanta's premiere provider of French language and culture. This nonprofit organization is supported by its members, requesting just $5 a month to join. Have an itch to get out of town? Practice what you've learned and join the group in one of their organized trips to a French speaking country. "It's like a little slice of France in Atlanta," says Wendy Robertet, communications director of the club, and people of all backgrounds are welcome. "I love meeting people from all over the world who share my affinity for the French language and culture," Robertet says.
Fun Fact: Classes are available for students as young as 12 months old. Your toddler can join the BeBe Alliance class and start her cultural experience early.
Insider Info: The club has two locations, Midtown and
Roswell, making it accessible for both the ITP and OTP crowd. Class sessions usually run for 10 weeks, with three hours of language learning per week.
Atlanta Outdoor Club
Need some fresh air? Get off your couch with the Atlanta Outdoor Club, founded in 2000 for Atlantans ages 21 and up. This organization hosts more than 200 outdoor events each year, including urban hikes on the BeltLine, camping in Georgia's state parks and rafting or paddling trips on the Ocoee. Jennifer Howle, the group's vice president, says, "Being able to leave behind the stress of work and day-to-day life to connect with nature is priceless." In addition to the connection with nature, you can't beat their activities in terms of fitness. "I have seen people drop 50 pounds and go from being able to barely hike a mile to scaling a mountain with ease," Howle says.
Fun Fact: Membership is free! Simply join online to begin registering for events. There may be occasional fees associated with specific trips, but most of their events are free.
Insider Info: Before signing up for an event, check out the difficulty rating online. Even if you're enthusiastic, you don't want to get stuck in an event that is more demanding than you expected.
Midtown Review Book Club
Get swept away by a love story or wrapped up in a mystery novel at the Midtown Review Book Club. This book club's attendees are low-key, welcoming to new members and always up for a good discussion. Monthly meetings usually include 10 to 20 members sitting down for dinner and drinks at a local restaurant, followed by two questions: "Did everyone read the book?" and "Did everyone like the book?" Then the conversation takes off from there. The organizer of the club, Dana Barrett, is a former independent bookstore owner with a passion for books, authors and readers. The organization attracts people of all ages from diverse backgrounds who share a common love of reading and are open to discussing important topics, and the voluntary membership fee is just $24 per year.
Fun Fact: The club often hosts local or visiting authors to join in and deepen the discussion.
Insider Info: In addition to monthly meetings, the group posts about book signings, author visits and more on their Meetup page, so you can keep your finger on the pulse of Atlanta's literary scene.
Details: www.midtownreview.com, www.meetup.com/midtownreview
So whether you're interested in food, fitness or good old-fashioned fun, these Atlanta clubs can deliver. Join in today!
Dana Barrett, Midtown Review Book Club – www.midtownreview.com
Darrah Brustein, Atlanta Over 40 – www.atlantaoverforty.com
Bob Herndon, Atlanta BBQ Club – www.atlbbqclub.com
Jennifer Howle, Atlanta Outdoor Club – www.atlantaoutdoorclub.com
Karen Kaye, Big Peach Running Co. – www.bigpeachrunningco.com
Korey Meek, Atlanta Sport and Social Club – www.atlantasportandsocialclub.com
Wendy Robertet, Alliance Française d'Atlanta – www.afatl.com