Three abreast, the click of platforms on asphalt resonates from the soles of a group of ladies strutting feverishly toward the entrance of Opera, the club formerly known as Eleven50 and the city's latest "see-and-be-seen" locale. The girl in the middle, a novice to the art of walking in heels, shuffles ahead to the curb to join a drove of other scantily clad revelers patiently waiting their turn to enter the historic building. The process of admittance is a bit overwhelming, as there are several lines and a secondary "doorman" waiting at the top of the stairs to ensure that getting in feels like an accomplishment. The scene is an eclectic mix of hip-hoppers, model types, beautiful men and other personalities from the Us Weekly crowd. Opera has its demographic by the hair extensions.
Visually, the club is stunning. The source of its name is obvious from the opera-house decor. Rich red tones and a golden brown wood finish convey a regal feel on the stage and columns, while giant crystal chandeliers add glitz above the dance floor. The stage acts as a secondary level for adventurous dancers to gyrate upon. Saturday nights are quickly becoming known for a good dance party at Opera, and the DJs spin exactly what the crowd craves.
Opera isn't the type of joint where you'd mingle with your co-workers after a long day at the office – unless, of course, Lindsay Lohan is the CFO of your company.
Like any good club, there has to be a VIP section; and at Opera there are several, including cabanas, stage seating and opera boxes. Positioned high above the crowded dance floor, clear opera boxes – courtesy of the $2.5 million dollar renovation – separate VIPs from the proletariat below. VIP access is exclusive and can be reserved ahead for between $300 to $2,000, depending on the night of the week. The VIP bar is a hotbed for handsomely dressed bachelors who don't seem to care so much about privacy. At the entrance to a corridor leading to VIP, Paris Hilton look-alikes stand trolling for an invite into the choice party. Their strategy is simple – keep potential competition at a distance, lean seductively against the wall, and aggressively eye any male who is entering VIP alone. The pickin's are slim, but once in a while the tactic works, and a lucky lady is plucked from her perch and whisked away down the dark hallway.
Once the last shots are taken and only the dedicated and sweat-drenched dancers remain on the floor, Opera begins to empty. A stream of people winds down the stairs where police and cabbies are swarming the area like sharks on a sinking ship. The clip-clop of platform shoes is no longer audible, since most were taken off after an hour of dancing. And off in the distance, three Paris look-alikes share a cab home in defeat.
Opera, 1150-B Peachtree St. 404-874-0428. www.operaatlanta.com.