Shopping for comfort 

Why would you go to the Bucket Shop Cafe?

Certainly not for the environs. The interior is hackneyed sports bar meets English pub. Framed football jerseys line the walls while cigarette smoke has colored the ceiling of sound baffles like many an armpit stain. Even the faux-Tiffany chandeliers look like they were stolen from the Ruby Tuesday down the street.

Why is it, then, that so many people pack the Bucket Shop late into the night?

It probably has something to do with that cliche: location, location, location. Except the Bucket Shop is located in a bland netherworld of Buckhead nightlife, between Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls, which is mostly deserted after 9 p.m. For those who work and shop in the area, the Bucket Shop is the closest place for drinks that isn't ultra-trendy, like nearby Bluepointe or Twist.

That may explain why the crowd here looks so diverse. Suits pack the place at the end of the workday while service industry folk trudge in about midnight. Between them, an assortment of ethnicities, suburbanites, gangstas and the occasional hipster with a faux-hawk gather to squawk bar-talk.

Granted, this isn't a Silk Road bazaar in ancient Persia. It's more like the midday rush at an airport pub. But compared to the pink Polo shirts and zebra-striped halter tops that usually grace a Buckhead establishment, it's a refreshing change of pace. Which is to say that the Bucket Shop's clientele is, well, a tad ordinary. But if that makes the place more comfortable, then so be it.

On a recent weekday night, some peers and I enjoyed friendly and attentive service, drinks at moderate prices, room for personal space and good conversation.

You can't ask for much more on a chill night out, although I would consider talking to the management about the bar's struggling sound system. While the selection of college-radio tunes from bands like the Pixies, Jimmy Eat World and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was pleasant enough, the soundtrack often inexplicably devolved into a punishing mix of techno-industrial metal that pushed the already over-taxed speakers well beyond their limit.

Bucket Shop Cafe, 3475 Lenox Road. Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m. 404-261-9244.

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