by Laurel-Ann Dooley
Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve been staring at our screens for months on end—Zooming, FaceTiming, texting and binge-watching our favorite shows. But, honestly, all that screen time can be tiring. And while online communication does serve to keep us connected, it can’t replace face-to-face interactions.
With necessary COVID precautions now understood, re-entering the world is a welcome possibility. The one question that remains is where to go and with whom. If you’re single and ready to mingle, this question can be daunting, and it gets even trickier when you’re of a certain age. So to give those of you who are single and over 40 a kick start, we’ve come up with a list of 10 local spots to check out when you’re ready to get back in the love game. Here’s to reaching out and meeting up in 2022!
1. Le Bon Nosh
For the fun-loving foodie
It’s a cafe, a market, a coffee shop and a wine bar. What more can you say—Le Bon Nosh has it all! The Buckhead newcomer opened its doors in The Irby building in November and already seems to be fulfilling the vision of its chef-founder, Forough Vakili, to be a community gathering place. It’s easy to strike up a conversation as you peruse the food selection, take a seat at the jewel box of a bar or sip a cappuccino at one of the long tables inside. Bring along your laptop and check it out.
Details: 65 Irby Ave. NW., Ste. 103, Atlanta.
2. Virginia Highland Books
For the avid reader
Virginia Highland Books is the latest addition to Atlanta’s literary scene and a place for introverted singles to feel at home. The cozy storefront is located in the middle of the shops and restaurants of the popular in-town neighborhood, and a steady flow of book lovers wander through two stories of tomes, especially on weekend afternoons. You can also meet fellow readers at one of its many author events or book club meetups.
Details: 1034 North Highland Ave. NE., Atlanta.
3. The Select
For the epicurean extrovert
If creative cocktails, a made-from-scratch menu and late-night dancing are more your style, The Select in Sandy Springs is for you. Offering daily happy hours, live music in the evenings and a DJ for dancing on weekends, The Select has become particularly known for its Thursday Ladies’ Nights, when The Atlanta Rat Pack performs song classics from the original trio. And if you’re more comfortable in an outside setting, the restaurant has a spacious patio set up with heaters.
Details: 6405 Blue Stone Rd. Ste. 200, Sandy Springs.
4. Eclipse di Luna
For the salsa-dancing single
This Miami Circle favorite has long established itself as a top spot for tapas, salsa dancing and a convivial atmosphere conducive to mingling. From his vantage point on the stage, musician Juan Bonini takes it all in as a member of Eclipse di Luna’s regular C.O.T. Band. “It’s a very friendly place,” he says. “Everyone is so up to the task of meeting people.” You can even stay sitting down in your own space and still be included. “I’ve seen people come up to the tables,” says Bonini, “and I’ve never ever seen anyone turn down someone who says, ‘Hey, hello!’”
Details: 764 Miami Circle NE., Atlanta.
5. Atlanta Habitat for Humanity
For humanitarian heartthrobs
Traditional social settings aren’t the only venues for meeting new people. Volunteering for a cause you believe in presents a different way to connect, with the added benefit of built-in icebreakers. One organization to consider is Habitat for Humanity. The nonprofit brings together groups of 25 volunteers to help families build and repair homes. Atlanta Habitat’s chief development officer Rosalyn Merrick describes the projects as very collaborative. “Volunteers of all skill levels work and learn together,” she says. “Everyone is in the spirit of giving back to not only a family, but to their community.” Participants must be at least 16 years old, with the upper age being limitless. “Our oldest volunteer was 92,” says Merrick.
Details: 824 Memorial Dr. SE., Atlanta.
6. Animal Shelters & Rescues
For fur-baby fans
For animal lovers, shelters and rescues also offer numerous opportunities for adult volunteers of all ages. Two of them, Fulton and Dekalb County Shelters, run by LifeLine Animal Project, always welcome help in caring for the hundreds of animals in their shelters. By walking dogs and cuddling cats, you alleviate the stress of shelter life while helping homeless animals find their forever families. A resident named Laura Lawrence even met her husband while volunteering with the Adopt a Golden Atlanta rescue. “It was a pretty cool and unexpected way to meet my soulmate,” she says.
Details: FCAS, 860 Marietta Blvd. NW., Atlanta.
3280 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Chamblee.
For dog moms and dads
In a similar vein, dog parks bring people together, and Brookhaven Dog Park is Atlanta’s largest, complete with its own nonprofit organized to bring dog lovers together in a well-tended setting. Spread over 20 plus acres, the park presents an easy way to meet others with a variety of planned events like movie nights, potluck dinners and pet costume contests.
Details: 4158 Peachtree Rd. NE., Atlanta.
For the mixing-and-mingling single
A surefire way to connect with people sharing similar interests is through meetup groups. There are meetups for every imaginable interest, from wine tasting to kayaking, travel and more. For a meetup that covers all the bases, try Celebrate Atlanta. This wildly popular group is the most active in the country, a success that organizer Dave Groveman attributes to its wide variety of events, discounted tickets and easygoing atmosphere. “Our events are conducive to meeting people in a relaxed setting,” he said. “We have had thousands of friendships, thousands of relationships, and many, many marriages.”
9.ALTA and USTA Atlanta
For budding tennis pros
Atlanta is known for tennis, and the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA) and U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) are the big players in town. Both organizations have a place for all skill levels, including beginners, as well as over-40 segments, with games and practices held across the metro area. Interaction is not confined to the court; scheduled social get-togethers are also part of the fun.
Details: ALTA, www.altatennis.org; USTA,
10.Atlanta Track Club
For the solo sprinter
If you’re a runner, your sport doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Join the Atlanta Track Club and become one of the 64% of its 25,000-person membership that is 40-plus. Along with organizing races throughout the year, the club offers numerous training programs for runners and walkers of all abilities as well as quarterly social gatherings, which they hope to resume this year. And if you want to relax and take off your running shoes, they just started a book club, Runners Who Read.