One of Atlanta’s most beloved concert venues, the Variety Playhouse reopened on Wednesday, September 28th after a four-month long top-to-bottom renovation with a sold out show by San Francisco-based instrumental ambient group Tycho (pictured here during the show). We’re happy to report that whether you’re a veteran attendee of shows at the Variety, or are anticipating your first visit in the coming weeks or months, all music fans should be ecstatic over the thoughtful and aesthetically pleasing work done to the building, which opened as a movie theater in 1940.
While the basic layout of the theater’s interior is the same, significant upgrades have been made. Perhaps most significantly, the walls that separated the lobby from the theater itself have been removed, giving it a much more open feel. The lobby’s bar has been rebuilt and enlarged, with patron access from both the lobby side and the theater side. The balcony has been totally redone, anchored by a new full bar probably three or four times the size of the old one. The very front standing area near the stage has been lowered a couple feet, meaning there are more great sightlines throughout the theater than ever before. There are clean new bathrooms, a completely redone backstage area, and the sound and lighting remain top-notch.
The Variety Playhouse was sold by longtime owner Steve Harris to Agon Entertainment, owners of Athens’ Georgia Theatre, last fall. They closed the venue in May for the over $1 million renovation; in fact, certain areas of the interior are still being tweaked. Selected upcoming shows include The Temper Trap on Oct. 8th, Henry Rollins (spoken word, and sold out) on Oct. 11th, The Mavericks Oct. 16th, Echo & the Bunnymen Oct. 18th (sold out) and Catfish & the Bottlemen Oct. 26th. For a full schedule, go to variety-playhouse.com.