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As with most of the accommodations we feature here on Motel Mondays, we’re always fascinated by the stories behind the buildings and the unexpected places they take us. Take for instance, the Hotel Clermont in Atlanta, GA. When we heard that a nearly-a-century-old local hotel had not only been recently renovated, but had also been recently added to National Register of Historic Places in 2019, well, knowing our love for old motor inns, you know we just had to go check it out and see if there was a story there. As we had hoped, the Hotel Clermont did not disappoint.

A Farewell to Arms

Built in 1924, the Hotel Clermont got its start as the eight-story-high Georgian Revival-style Bonaventure Arms Apartments which featured two elevators and a rooftop patio – pretty high-class amenities for the time.  


In 1939, however, the owners decided to transform the apartment building into a motor inn that would serve tourists and travelers along what was then the very upscale thoroughfare known as Ponce De Leon Avenue in northeast Atlanta.  Nonetheless, though some came for a good night’s sleep over the years, it was what was going in the seedy underground of the hotel’s basement that many came for.

Join the Club

According to a 1947 newspaper ad, the first tenant to take up residence under the Hotel Clermont was the “Anchorage Club”. Sometime between 1951 and 1954 it would become the “Gypsy Club” headlined by dancer Tiny Lou. In 1954, it was the “Continental Room”. However, only two years later it would return back to its original name – the “Anchorage Club”.  Trying to get hip with the times, the place was dubbed the Atlanta Playboy Club in 1956 which lasted until 1964 when a lawsuit by the real Playboy Club forced it to close. In 1965, it reopened as the “Jungle Club”.

Since 1968, however, its longest-running incarnation has been known as the “Clermont Lounge” – Atlanta’s first and longest continually operating strip club with an all-female ownership. Since it opened, celebrities of all sorts including the late Anthony Bourdain, Ashton Kutcher, Kid Rock, and Lady Gaga have come to see dancers who may not fit everybody’s idea of what strippers should look like, but still put on a great show. We’re talking performers like Blondie, for instance, who recites poetry while crushing empty beer cans between her breasts.  That’s not the kind of entertainment you’ll find in those cookie cutter, brand-name hotels out by the interstate, folks.

It should be noted however, that, even though they share the same building, the Hotel Clermont and the Clermont Lounge are two separate business entities. In fact, there are no doors that lead from the hotel to the club, nor is there any entrance from the club to the hotel. What’s more, when the hotel was closed in 2009 due to a what’s what of several health violations – dirty linen, old bedding, bed bug stains, mold,  and black water, to name a few – the strip club continued operating.

Under New Management

Even in such a state of disrepair, a group called the Clermont Hotel Partners, LLC, bought the Hotel Clermont in 2013 by and reopened it in 2018 after extreme renovation costing around $30 million. Today you’ll find 94 well-appointed rooms with all the amenities modern travelers have come to expect – all located under a stunning rooftop patio that offers a most splendid view of the Atlanta skyline.

Also located on the roof happens to be  the building’s fully-restored and very recognizable steel rooftop tower, lit up at night and seen all over Atlanta in all of its full glowing glory.


Moving beyond the basement lounge, chill out at the hotel’s café, have a drink at their 15,000 sq. ft. lobby bar, or enjoy some of the South’s most delicious French cuisine at Tiny Lou’s restaurant. Yep, that’s right. It’s named after Tiny Lou, the same dancer who once danced at the motor inn’s Gypsy Lounge (and reportedly once refused to dance with Hitler back in the day).

If a night at the Hotel Clermont (and the subsequent underground fun of the Clermont Lounge) sounds like your idea of a good time, reservations can be made on their website at www.hotelclermont.com or by calling (470) 485-0485.

Reservations for Tiny Lou’s can be made by visiting opentable.com or by calling (470) 485-0085.

For more information about the Clermont Lounge visit their website at https://www.clermontlounge.net or call (404) 874-4783

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