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Lenny's -- Dottie's fine young son

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When it looked like Dottie's would close for good due to the death of its namesake and the legal troubles of her heir, the city almost lost one of its true treasures. Although no civic group started a fund-raising campaign, survive it did, like a mangy street dog, resurrected after a brief closure and a very modest remodeling as Lenny's, still one of the city's only real bars. Changing demographics and unfriendly liquor laws have almost killed this kind of place. It's dark, smoky and rough-hewn, with a jukebox that's split between country and heavy metal, just like the crowd. You won't see people chatting on cell phones or talking stock options here, but a conversation with one of the regulars might be the most interesting you have all day, even if most of what you hear is lies.

And things always get more interesting as the night wears on, so grab a 20-ounce PBR ($3) or a stiff drink (the best deal in Atlanta at $3 for well brands) and try to soak it all in. Bands or a DJ usually take the stage in the ramshackle room adjacent to the barroom later in the evening, so get out and cut a rug with one of the drunk girls still (barely) standing. If you're not into that, hang back in the bar and shoot some pool (it's free on Thursdays), give karaoke a whirl on Wednesdays, or have your picture drawn by Felix, the resident caricature artist. If you have a few drinks too many, a plate of wings ($5 for 10) or a half-pound black Angus burger with fries ($5) should do the trick. But solid food is for wussies; this place defines the term Liquid Diet.

Lenny's Bar, 307 Memorial Drive. Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-3 or 4 a.m. (depending on what's goin' on). Closed Sun. 404-577-7721.

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