by Marc B. Zawel
Ask any of the 11,000-plus students at Atlanta’s Emory University to name the area’s most notorious dive, and their answer is almost unanimously “Maggie’s.” After most of the Dirty South is down for the evening, student crowds are still milling outside this landmark. Known for its raucous atmosphere — fraternity pledges wearing nothing but a smile have been known to sprint through the bar during initiation — this campus chug-house is the most likely spot for students to savor their last collegiate drink.
The Scene: “This is the premier Emory bar,” says Richard Caldwell, who has managed the bar for the last 10 years. “We’re not that big of a place, but people know we’re always here and will stay open as late as we can.” On any given night, you’ll find throngs of thirsty coeds gathered inside. “They can really do anything they want,” Richard says, “as long as they don’t cart out the furniture or set anything on fire.” The dingy dive has sparse décor, to say the least: three pool tables and a jukebox in the front, some wooden booths on the side of the room and a plaque commemorating the personable Maggie Martin, the bar’s namesake who passed away two years ago.
Girls at the Bar: Single men on the prowl have always praised Southern beauty, and plenty of it walks through the door at Maggie’s. “They’re hotties, plain and simple,” says Joe, an accounting major impressed with the bar’s figures. Once an all-male university as female-free as a monastery, Emory, considered part of the “Southern Ivy League,” is now overflowing with blue-blooded babes. “We’re lucky,” says Mike, an English major. “What can I say…? God bless the South!”
When to Go: Maggie’s is packed after midnight on most nights. Wednesday nights are clothing-optional karaoke — “It doesn’t always pan out like we want it to,” says Richard — and Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments happen every Tuesday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Student bands occasionally play on Friday nights.
Dress Code: Guys stick with scruffy baseball caps and frat-tastic preppie gear. And, true to the bar’s reputation, ladies wear as little as possible.
At the Bar: Bartenders just pour the basics here — anything cheap and quickly consumed. Pitchers of Bud and Bud Light are big, especially if they’re followed by shots of Southern Comfort, Jager or Cuervo. If mixed drinks are your booze of choice, order them with Coke. A former head of Coca-Cola, Robert W. Woodruff, donated $100 million to Emory 25 years ago, the largest one-time endowment gift to a college in U.S. history.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-4 a.m.; Saturday, noon-3 a.m.; Sunday, 12:30 p.m.-3 a.m.