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Iconic Atlanta nightclub celebrates 45 years

When the club opened its doors during the Carter administration, the hit songs playing on the dance floor were from 45 RPM vinyl records. Now, the music is played digitally, and the number 45 is for the candles needed to mark the years the beloved Atlanta institution has been drawing faithful patrons seeking a stiff drink and lively dance floor. For many bars and restaurants, the name of the game is changing and updating as demographics shift and tastes change. For Johnny’s, the secret is keeping everything as familiar and recognizable as possible.


From the decor to the music to the menu, all the way down to the glassware, it is a labor of love for owner Chris D’Auria to keep things the way they've always been. “We go to great lengths to make sure everything looks the same. Some people think we don’t change one light fixture or make any updates. We do, but we make sure it is just like what was there before. We replace the carpet every two to three years, but it’s always the same kind. It’s hard to find the chairs we use and the upholstery for the bar tops. We order in bulk and keep inventory in storage so we can swap out when it’s time.”


Johnny’s caters to the over-40 crowd and late-night revelers in their 20s and 30s, and it boasts a disco ball and an energetic dance floor that never disappoints. Whether guests have been coming for decades or are visiting for the first time, they can expect to hear familiar tunes. D’Auria says, “When guests come in, whether 21 or 91, they know they will hear the Temptations, Michael Jackson, and the Beach Boys. And they might occasionally hear a Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars song, but they know they will hear their favorites with music from all genres.”

Speaking of Johnny's music, check out one of their Spotify playlist here. It's sure to get the

party started no matter where you are!

D'Auria says their “meat and potatoes” playlist is not incidental. “We painstakingly comb through the music and ensure it stays the same. We may skew younger with some of our guests now, but the song list doesn’t change. We only sprinkle in a new song a few times a year.”

Not only do guests know the songs and the furnishings, but they also know the friendly staff, who are like family to D’Auria. “I am what I am because of my staff. I have six that have been with me for more than 20 years. Without the fantastic staff and the great customers, the Hideaway wouldn’t still be here.”

Johnny’s is open late seven nights a week, closing at 3 a.m. every night except for Sunday, when the music stops at midnight. Yet another tradition is the closing song that plays just before the lights come on. D’Auria says most staff members would be reluctant to name a preferred song from Johnny’s catalog, but they all smile when they hear the first notes of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra because they know they are wrapping up another great night of providing good food, good drinks, and good times for their guests. It is a fitting finale at a venue that has been doing it “their way” for 45 years and is still going strong.


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