Blinded by Buckhead at SPF 15 

Genre: Spring break party place

Where to?: Buckhead, for better or worse: SPF 15 flanks a raunchy row of clubs that includes Mako's and Chaos.

The scene: With a half-assed beach theme and a stage that looks ripe for wet T-shirt contests, SPF 15 is decorated like someone's partial recollection of "Spring Break 2001" at Daytona. Highlights include hanging Christmas lights that trickle down the wells in the two full-service bars indoors (giving that "bar on the beach" feel) and green laser lights that cut across the dance floor. What I can only guess are remnants of a prior club -- incongruous zebra-skin walls and plastic black partitions -- linger in SPF 15's darker corners.

The clientele: With admission allowed for 18 and over, SPF 15 pulls in a young, inexperienced crowd of urban and college kids anxious to hit the Buckhead scene. Some posture, some boogie, most loiter.

Drinks: SPF 15 gets by on typical club drink lists. The bar manager mentioned only one specialty drink: the Bullshitter, a busy mix of vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, Red Bull and cranberry juice.

Munchies: The club also operates as a full-service restaurant, offering lunch and dinner cuisine with a slightly tropical theme. Typical bar food constitutes most of the fare, while specialty dishes include all-you-can-eat crab legs and a big Black Angus steak.

Wallet Impact: Prices are on par for Buckhead. There's a $5 cover if you're over 21, and $7 gets you in if you're under 21. Beer can be scored for $3-$5 and a mixed drink is $5-$7. The food goes up to $11 for the all-you-can-eat crab legs.

Only in Buckhead: A recent Friday night visit to SPF 15 proved slightly depressing and extremely frustrating (navigating and parking are a bitch). A handful of young wannabes kinda bobbed to the usual club music, while the owner assured me that it would be happenin' after 1 a.m. I stayed until 2, and it never was.

What really struck me about SPF 15 was how little there was to do given the beach motif. What would make me want to party there until 4 a.m.? Not much -- a dance floor, some lasers, a modest bar -- but not exactly my idea of a good themed club. In fact, when my trusty sidekick and I passed Mako's on the way to the car, we noticed that the place was bumpin'. And it looked like Mako's had effectively stolen SPF 15's target crowd, luring them in with sexy girls on swings and other pretty things.

SPF 15. Wed.-Sat. 9 p.m.-4 a.m. 3047 Peachtree Road, 404-814-9569.



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