Food & Drink » Bar Review

Getting past the velvet rope

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Despite its non-descript facade (the back door of an old theater), eleven50 makes a strong first impression. To enter, you have to make it past a couple of surly, muscled-up doormen in discount Italian-suits. Think Sopranos if it aired on public access instead of HBO.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I want confetti or a mandatory, Blockbuster Video-style, "Good evening, welcome to eleven50. Let me know if I can help you find anything." I just don't want to be made to feel like the club is doing me a favor by letting me in. After all, they need my money more than I need their booze.

I guess that's the rub. You can't be welcoming and exclusive at the same time, and eleven50 definitely errs on the side of exclusivity. Or at least on the side of pretending to be exclusive. The surly attitude is as much of a facade as Blockbuster's faux-cheeriness. They pretend that they only let cool people in and, voila, you feel cool for being there.

With that out of the way, I suppose it'd be appropriate to relate what you find once you're inside. There's the main room, dominated by a stage and a translucent video screen. Outside is a lovely patio with a long reflecting pool. Supposedly, it's reminiscent of Miami, or at least of "Miami Vice." Upstairs, in what was the balcony when the space was a theater, is the main VIP area. It's a desirable place to be, if only for the lower customer-to-bartender ratio. Above that is a glass-enclosed VVIP area. Presumably it's for people who need a break from the hectic pace of a loud club. Although why you wouldn't wanna just go home for that is beyond me.

Then there's the people. Eleven50 hosts quite a few corporate parties, so in addition to black-clad Midtown scenesters, you're also likely to find khaki-clad Midtown middle management. How's that for eclectic?



eleven50, 1150B Peachtree Street. www.eleven50.com for a list of what famous DJ is coming and when. 404-874-0428.

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