Back in November in 2015 Killer Mike took democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to Busy Bee Cafe in West End for some soul food. The media went bananas, and the Vermont senator earned his street cred inside Atlanta's perimeter. Though the moment stood out, it's nothing out of the ordinary for Adamsville-born musician, activist and de facto campaign adviser. Mike insists any guests who comes in town to kick it with he and his wife Shay will get the same treatment. Here's how Mr. Mike Render gets down in his hometown of Atlanta.
What are your weekend plan?
I mean, if I've got visitors in from out of town I'll take them to do something way cool. [First], get the regular, square events out of them—go to Six Flags. What's that new golf place?
Yeah. Kind of let them get the kids tired and what not. Before you do that, I'd take them to the King Center, then the Apex Museum—kind of walk along Auburn [Avenue]. I think anybody that visits Atlanta should go there. That and some fun things for the young people, the youth. After we get that out of the way, then it's time to do some Atlanta stuff.
And what's that?
If I don't have a haircut I'd definitely stop by one of my shops (Graffitis Swag) on Roosevelt Highway or Edgewood Avenue. The Edgewood corridor is really popping right now. If you want to get a tattoo, right down the block is City of Ink. They have some of the best tattoo artists in this city, especially if you're a person of color. Noni's, which is a restaurant owned by Matt [Rupert], who's a great guy, is a couple of doors down from my barbershop too. I love their salad. [Matt] named it after his grandma. The food's like traditional Italian style with a twist, and it's great. I don't know where granny was from but she could cook her ass off.
In terms of Atlanta staples, if you want a burger, what I think is the world's best burger, you should got to Ms. Anne's Snack Bar. We lost her last year but she's right over in East Atlanta, right over by Kirkwood. And her family still runs the joint. It's very homely, very Atlanta. I'd also take you get soul food like Busy Bee, which is where I took Bernie Sanders.
What about nightlife?
I am a fan of five dollar clubs. Let me tell you, we have some great nightlife and dance clubs. We're known for our strip clubs because they're more social clubs than strip clubs. One that is owned by a guy named Tino is Stilettos. I would go to Stilettos—it's pretty dope. It's a five dollar club so you ain't gotta spend a lot of money; put down a $100, and have a ball. I'd also go to Peaches, which is on the West End. And all of these clubs, interestingly enough, not only are they dope nightlife spots, they're black-owned. So, you're helping the community in a double way. The Blue Flame is off the chain. If you want to scoot out to Decatur, Pinups and Strokers are always cool.
What's the best time of year to visit?
Spring. It's damn-hot in the summer, and it gets real cold in the winter because we're headed toward Northwest Georgia. So, we get a true winter and definitely a Southern summer. Between March and May and between September and late October are great times of year to be in Atlanta.
Where's your go-to sneaker spot?
If you're into sneakers, right around the corner from my SWAG Shop in Downtown is Walter's. Right next to them is City WIde Fashions. If you're a big and tall guy—and I'll put this in VICE because a lot of big and tall guys be in the city and they don't know how to get fresh—you want Levis, you want Bally, fresh-ass Mitchell and Ness. If your daddy's a preacher and you're looking for a pimped-out outfit for him they also own another store that all the pimps and the preachers go to called Brite Creations [laughs].
What's your favorite music venue in Atlanta? Where should someone catch a show?
Some of the greatest venues are the outdoor venues. Concerts at Centennial Olympic Park are another thing I applaud our city for. They do this thing called Wednesday WindDown. Wednesday WindDown has people out there getting their bourgeoisie on with a little wine and some cool-type jazzy music. I like Wednesday WindDown if you're above all that wild shit [laughs].
If you can catch the Masquerade before they close you can see a punk, rap or rock show there. I like the Loft's rap shows. I'm a big fan of some of the outdoors-y stuff. If you get a chance to see a concert in Piedmont Park, Wolf Creek or Centennial, go out there because you know you're going to smell some marijuana in the air, you're going to see people sipping and dancing and it's going to be an all-around good time.
If you had to take someone see one of ATL's sports team, which would it be?
If you want to wild out, have a great time with a bunch of people tailgating, go see the Falcons. If you and your girl want to stunt on the motherfucking world go sit on floor seats at the Hawks, and watch them boys run up and down the court and do their thing. If you're like me, a tired dad, and you want to take the kids to let them watch the game and just want to take a nap while they're watching it, go see the Atlanta Braves. There's nothing like taking your kids to see baseball, and I'm going to vouch for that as a dad. That's the best three hours you can spend on a Sunday?
What's one thing you feel like you often have to clear up for people who aren't from here?
Atlanta is not its surrounding cities. It's not Gwinnett, it's not Decatur. It's not even East Point or College Park. The City of Atlanta is an entity all within itself. When people are talking about Atlanta some of the actual experiences that they're talking about … Like I know if they're talking about cop harassment, they're talking Cobb County. I know if they're talking about getting a ticket and the cop didn't give a shit about them then they're talking DeKalb County [laughs]. I would say make sure you're actually in Atlanta. Your ass may not actually be in Atlanta. So, before you talk about your trip to Atlanta make sure you've actually been.
Read the entire VICE Guide to Atlanta here.