Historic Atlanta spot named top small music venue in Georgia

It sits in the building that houses Atlanta’s oldest strip mall, dating back to 1927. David Bowie, Train, Zach Brown Band, Toby Keith, B.o.B and Janelle Monae have all played there. It survived a building ownership change that nearly forced its closure.

Smith’s Olde Bar ranks as one of Atlanta’s oldest music venues. And now, it has another title to go with it. Yelp and Vivid Seats recently named it one of the top small music venues across the United States. One venue from each state made the list and Smith’s Olde Bar captured that honor in Georgia. The list showcases venues old and new, urban and rural—a diverse list of irreplaceable stages united in providing memorable experiences.

“It’s important to recognize how much is on the line for these independent music venues,” said Stephen Spiewak of Vivid Seats. “If the music they produced in their neighborhoods was loud, the silence they’ll leave behind if forced to close will be deafening.”

Smith’s Old Bar is named after “a design that embodied (the two original owners - Dan R. Nolen and Charlie Hendon) perfectly…the derby, the cigar, the glasses, and the cunning grin became known as the infamous ‘Smitty’.”

Yelp and Vivid Seats hoped to draw more attention to venues like Smith’s Old Bar as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the live music business. In addition to the music venue, the companies highlighted some of the great spots around the venue. In Smith’s Olde Bar’s case, Yelp and Vivid Seats spotlighted Kong’s Kitchen as a great place to eat before checking out a show and suggested heading to High Note after the show ended.

Independently owned, highly-rated (defined as three stars or higher) on Yelp and important cultural fixtures in their communities were the qualifications for making the list. Vivid Seats data also factored into the selections.