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Two for one, part one: Cosmopolitan 

Cosmopolitan was one of the first clubs in the late '90s Midtown resurgence, when there were only a few neighboring nightspots. Its fraternal twin, Lava Lounge, opened in 2000. At first, the owners tried to keep the clubs separate, but now they are fully merged into a multi-room, multi-level, multi-mood space.

Open the front door at Cosmopolitan, and you're right in the middle of the main dance space and bar. Seeing as how this is a rehabbed house, it's appropriate that the crowd inside resembled a raging living room party with the world's best in-home sound system. The clientele was racially well mixed for Atlanta, but there was not much variety of "types." Everyone seemed to be fairly conservative and white-collar -- not too casual, but no fashionistas, either. This is not the place to debut your fiercest club wear.

This is a dance club for those who like to dance, but aren't very good at it (and they seem to be OK with that). The girls were all trying hard to be noticed, shaking their little hineys in a vague attempt at rhythmic seduction. The guys ogled appreciatively, of course, some from the bar, some from the middle of the crowd.

But eye candy isn't the only confection at Cosmo. The candy machines near the entry door offer patrons a nice handful of sugar on the way out for a quick pick-me-up. After all, one never knows when a Spree craving might hit.

A small, cozy room off the foyer offers couches for intimate pre-hookup conversation. The lounge quite literally raised the roof -- removing the original attic and exposing the building's roof rafters. It works well with the exposed brick in the barroom. Local art dots the walls.

The large enclosed and heated back porch is for the real meetin' and greetin' action. It's so very social, in fact, that my two girlfriends and I were approached several times by both men and women who boldly struck up conversation without any pretext beyond, "So, what brings you girls out to Midtown tonight?"

Not much in the mood for making more friends, we decided to cross the enclosed bridge over to Lava. ...

(See next week's "Liquid Diet" for details on Lava Lounge)

Cosmopolitan Lounge. Wed.-Fri., 5 p.m.-3 a.m.; Sat., 7 p.m.-3 a.m. 45 13th St. 404-873-6189. www.cosmopolitanlounge.com.

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