Over the past decade, we've suffered blows big and small. From restaurants and galleries to bands and musicians, here are some of our favorite things that disappeared.
MUSIC AND NIGHTLIFE
The '00s saw the loss of some heavyweight talent, including the deaths of young blues prodigy Sean Costello, indie garage rocker Bobby Ubangi, brink-of-fame Black Lips guitarist Ben Eberbaugh, superstar TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and underground hip-hop MC Jax. Bands broke up, as bands often do, but some breakups were bigger than others, among them indie darlings the Rock*A*Teens and rock gods the Tom Collins. Also at the beginning of the decade, Atlanta's most influential label, LaFace, shut down – though its legacy, which includes OutKast, Goodie Mob, TLC and Usher, continues.
We've lost some important events, too. Not only have we been stripped of our single largest music event, Music Midtown, and our popular outdoor concert series, On the Bricks, we've also seen the shuttering of far too many small and midsized music venues. R.I.P. the Cotton Club, the Point, the Echo Lounge, the Roxy and the original incarnation of Lenny's.
As for bars and clubs, an entire nightlife district disappeared in Buckhead (not that that's necessarily a bad thing), and other noteworthy watering holes – super-posh megaclub Vision, beloved dive bar the Stein Club, decadent hipster hangout Nomenclature Museum and swanky downtown lounge Trinity, to name a few – have dried up.
We're still mourning our losses. And we're pouring some out for each of you.
RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS
While the net gain in quantity of quality Atlanta restaurants has been one of the few perks of the past decade, we did lose some good ones. At the top of our list is Soto, the amazing and inventive Japanese spot whose masterful chef, Sotohiro Kosugi, ditched Buckhead for New York (sigh). A close second, though far different in substance and style, is Son's Place, the legendary Inman Park soul food joint. The '03 departure of Poncey-Highland's Tortillas – and the green chili burrito in particular – still pains us. On the other end of the spectrum, we now live in a city without the kind of extravagance that Seeger's and The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton provided. We also miss East Atlanta's Iris, a beautiful, classy restaurant with elegant, delicious food. (Thankfully, after several misses, the space is now occupied by a hit: Holy Taco.)
GALLERIES AND ARTISTS
The departure of Actor's Express' founding artistic director, Chris Coleman, at the beginning of the decade opened a revolving door of highly talented leadership at the playhouse, each with different signatures. Coleman's successor, Wier Harman, specialized in lyrical, often narratively challenging works such as his inaugural show, Tony Kushner's The Illusion. Harman's successor, Jasson Minadakis, helmed dramas with raw intensity such as Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, which other Atlanta playhouses could seldom match. Bill Fennelly's tenure never really defined itself, since he lasted only months before leaving to pursue an opportunity in New York. Current artistic director Freddie Ashley combines solid directorial chops with deep roots in the local community, but Coleman, Harman and Minadakis are still missed.
The past decade has also seen vibrant theatrical companies either close or shift the mission almost entirely away from public performance. The Marcus Jewish Community Center closed Jewish Theatre of the South in 2008 (and has since founded the more populist-oriented Center Theatre), while Theatre Gael, which once featured lively, provocative Irish-themed works, seldom stages plays anymore, although founder John Stephens remains active around town.
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