Fahamu Pecou is an Atlanta-based visual artist whose work has been displayed in galleries from Cape Town, South Africa, to New York City. He gained notoriety in the "A" and beyond by creating massive paintings that feature his likeness on the cover of popular magazines — exploring issues of celebrity, manhood, race and more. That said, if you want to hop on I-85 South and take the 244-mile ride to Atlanta, Pecou knows just where you should go to get a taste of the real ATL.
Best Nightlife Spots
"I don't have loyalty to a specific venue -- I'm more loyal to events. A lot of events in Atlanta move around to different venues. Some of my favorite events are Sol-Fusion, and DJ Kemit [a popular Atlanta DJ and producer] has [a house music event] called "Spread Love." If I was just going to kind of chill, there's this spot called Aurum that's pretty fly. The W [Hotel] downtown has a couple of cool bars. We like to say: 'If you didn't lose a shoe or an article of clothing at a party in Atlanta, then you weren't at a party.'"
Best Places to Eat
"Now you're talking my language. I just went to this place the other day and I really enjoyed it; it's called Dynamic Dish. And I also like MF Sushi. There are few other spots like Ecco, and Taqueria Del Sol is another one of my little spots. Then there's Top Flr."
Best Places to Shop
"Little 5 Points [a neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta] always has some cool stuff going on. There's a place over there called Vinnie's Styles, and also there's a new hip kind of boutique-y spot called Chilly-O. That's a dope place to be. A staple is Lenox Mall, even though I hate going to the mall. It's a good place to go to see people, and all the latest things are there. If you come to Atlanta, you kind of have to experience Lenox Mall."
Best Places to Hear Live Music
"There are a few places that one could go; Pal's Lounge comes to mind. It's a small bar/lounge on Auburn Avenue. And the Masquerade is a great place to hear live music -- as well as Smith's Olde Bar and The Loft."
Places to Avoid
"The 'radio' spots. I don't like going to a club and hearing the same eight songs that are being played on the radio all day."
Atlanta's Best-Kept Secret
"I'd say the people. A lot of people kind of have this idea of Atlanta, that unfortunately came out of these shows that come from Atlanta -- like The Real Housewives of Atlanta and a couple of these other things. That's not Atlanta. I never see those people out; and the places that they go, I've never even heard of. The best-kept secret of Atlanta is the real people and real spots that real people hang out at. It's not the stuff you see on TV, and it's not the stuff that you hear on the radio. Once you find your spot on the scene, a whole new world of Atlanta opens up."
• DJ Kemit Presents Spread Love: www.experiencespreadlove.com
• Sol-Fusion: www.sol-fusion.com
• Top Flr: www.topflr.com
• Dynamic Dish: www.dynamicdish.net
• Vinnie's Styles: vinniesstyles.com