Top 5: Music venues for college students in Atlanta 

10 HIGH/DARK HORSE TAVERN Virginia-Highland is home to one of the best food and music venues around. The two-story 10 High/Dark Horse Tavern is almost always packed with a younger crowd of professionals and college students waiting to see live bands downstairs in the 10 High, and hungry for cheap food and drinks in the tavern above. 816 N. Highland Ave. 404-873-3607. www.darkhorseatlanta.com.

CENTER STAGE/VINYL/THE LOFT These three venues make up the CW Midtown Music Complex and attract all sorts of people -- especially college students. All the venues have seating areas and full bars, but Center Stage is the roomiest with its wrap-around auditorium. Vinyl and the Loft are more intimate, but they also possess a cozy and modern lounge for attendees who don't especially care for the bands, and Vinyl's billiards are a good distraction, too. 1374 W. Peachtree St. 404-885-1365. www.centerstage-atlanta.com.

MASQUERADE With three levels -- Heaven, Purgatory and Hell -- there's always a show or two every night in this run-down building on North Avenue. The all-ages venue has been an Atlanta staple and one of the best overall venues in the city since 1989, showcasing mostly rock acts playing anything from death metal to emo and alternative. 695 North Ave. 404-577-8178. masq.com.

SMITH'S OLDE BAR This local favorite is known for its laid-back atmosphere that caters to both types of bar- and concert-goers: The one who actually cares about the band on stage and the person who just wants live background music. The intimate upstairs is reserved for the bands and offers the crowd enough room for dancing, while downstairs is equipped with pool tables and an extended bar. 1578 Piedmont Ave. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com.

VARIETY PLAYHOUSE Within the indie shopping district of Little Five Points lies this equally indie concert destination. Featuring stadium seating and a rear balcony from its 1930s movie theater origin, this venue provides an intimate experience for fans and bands alike, and showcases everything from jazz to acoustic to electronica. Its diverse offerings and ideal location -- right in between Georgia State and Emory -- make it the perfect spot for everyone in the college music scene. 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.

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