Despite a rush hour gully washer, well-wishers packed into Johnny’s Hideaway on Roswell Road Tuesday night to salute the legendary Buckhead nightclub’s equally legendary namesake.
The occasion: The 40th anniversary of Johnny Esposito‘s annual 39th birthday bash.
And despite a recent stroke and an ongoing debilitating battle with diabetes, Esposito, with the aid of a cane, gratefully accepted hugs and kisses and listened as his old regulars swapped stories.
He nibbled on a meatball from the lavish Italian spread set out and the life-long Frank Sinatra fan listened as the DJ spun The Chairman of the Board’s standard, “That’s Life.”
But like Britney Spears at a party sponsored by Patron, barely an hour into the festivities, Esposito was already a vapor trail.
Intel caught up to him in the parking lot.
“It was sure nice of everyone to turn out like that,” he told us. “We packed the joint pretty good. But it was a little bit too much for me. When they played Frank singing ‘That’s Life,’ I thought, ‘That’s about right.’ “
The city’s now-retired Mr. Nightlife noted the irony of heading home while it was still light out.
Mustering his trademark sense of humor, the 79-year-old birthday boy told us: “Some of the Hideaway regulars look a lot different in the daylight. Don’t tell nobody but some of ’em are even starting to look a little old!”
When we asked how he planned to spend the rest of his birthday, the reformed smoker and ex-Jack Daniels aficionado just smiled and said: “There’s s a couch at home with my name on it, baby.”