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Journalists are not rock stars, but that doesn't stop some of us from acting like it. Now after two weeks out of the country, I return to share with you another round of real-life cross-sections, though peppered with a few lightly dramatized events, I'll admit.Jet lag's been killing me, however, so this week I'll report on a couple of low-key evenings. After all, there are only so many nights of blow, booze, pussy and bad techno (in that order) I can take. I swear, if I have to troll around another music venue looking all put-off, it would be like suffering through an entire issue of Stomp & Stammer come to life. Apparently S&S Editor Jeff Clark is a huge fan of my transparent flippancy - he mentioned me as if I were an Atlanta household name on p. 35 of this month's S&S (thanks to "longtime goth" Victoria of Wax 'n' Facts for pointing this out). I guess Clark enjoys my obvious tongue-in-cheekiness as much as I enjoy his curmudgeonly piss takes.

But enough about him, let's talk more about me. On Thurs., May 12, two days back in the country, I wanted to have a laid-back taste of the familiar, so my friend Tyler and I visited MidCity Cuisine to check out the brasserie's spring cocktail list and listen to some tunes, as DJs spin weekly. Plus, it was $5 Hangar One martini and $6 champagne/sparkling wine cocktails night. The deep house and downtempo tunes were balmy as the patio as on the decks that evening was Halo's Dr. Katz, who attracted Halo's owner, Alan Godfrey, as well as other local DJs including Caleb. Also in attendance - not necessarily for the music but definitely for the wine - was the Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers (also a partner in Decatur's vino-friendly restaurant Watershed).

As for the new drinks, most interesting was the From Russia With Love (inspired by classic spy novels), a beet juice-based, spice-speckled cocktail somewhere between a Cosmopolitan and a Bloody Mary. The impeccably smooth Cucumber Martini will unexpectedly prove to be hyper-potent, after a few sips going off on you like a metal detector when you've got a foil-wrapped cucumber down your pants. And the Peachtree Battle Flirtini and Passionfruit Spritzer are pure panty-peeler, reminding me of Agua de Valencia, a drink I encountered in Spain that coyly masks the potency of liquor with the effervescence of sparkling wine and vivre of fruit juice. Apparently, I can take a long plane flight better than a flight of cocktails because after a couple hours of tastings and swapping feelings with chef Shaun Doty on getting Amsterdamned and the inhumanity of foie gras, I was pleasantly tippled and bedded down.

After resting up, I made my first attempt at a late night on Eastern Daylight Time Sat., May 14. Knowing that just last week I had commented on Atlanta's lack of unmarked, speakeasy-style venues like the ones I experienced in Spain, Tyler forced me into my first-ever visit to the Warren, the Virginia-Highland members-only club surreptitiously above the Dark Horse.

Cloistered on the third floor, with a placid slate-lined patio looking onto Midtown's "spires," the Warren is like the well-manicured living room of your rich high school friend who lived in the ritzy subdivision. And this Saturday night, his parents were out of town so he decided to throw a party. With no irony, the DC Project (aka Chris Bradley and Dean Nguyen) dropped tracks like Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back," Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize," and Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock's "It Takes Two," which prompted a button-downed melanin and rhythm-deficient 30-year-old to spark up a bizarre dialogue on "old-school" hip-hop's guaranteed floor fillers.

Over by the bar, the too-cool-for-school kids demurely sipped their drinks, while people near the DJ booth channeled their inner 16-year-olds, spilling their cocktails and playfully grinding on each other. The dancefloor was about adolescent groping, but not aggressive meat-market advances, and if that is how membership clubs try to be above it all, I'm all about getting up on it.

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The Warren is like the well-manicured living room of your rich high school friend who lived in the ritzy subdivision.

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