The Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge 

Hip place to hang

WHERE: Underneath the 81-year-old Highland Inn, between Ponce and North.

THE LOOK: The stage and seating flank an ample dance floor (complete with disco ball). The inn's courtyard offers a break when things inside get swinging. The only drag: a blotto-blocking bottleneck that sometimes forms in the semi-enclosed bar area.

THE CROWD: Motley and hip, but light on pretense. The courtyard has more character than the typical smokers' pen.

THE DRINKS: The Peachtree is the highlight of a cloying but potent list of house cocktails. Beer selection is par. Prices are more L5P than Va-Hi.

THE MUSIC: Theme nights, such as classic country and '50s garage rock, alternate with live jazz and occasional happenings by the likes of Fringe Factory and the Syrens of the South burlesque troupe.

HINT: When there's no room at the inn, find neighborhood street parking down Blue Ridge Avenue.

Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge, 644 N. Highland Ave. 404-874-5756, ext. 430. Tues.-Sat., 6 p.m.-close.

www.myspace.com/highlandinnloungeatlanta.

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