The moment that Kelly Travis and her entourage glide onto the King + Duke patio, a red-faced, middle-aged man offers a round of drinks. Travis quietly warns her posse, “He’s not the kind of guy you’d want to date.”
She ought to know. Travis was something of a professional dater as a contestant on the eighteenth season of ABC’s The Bachelor. Finding a man with smarts, ambition, and the goal of settling down in Buckhead, Travis says, requires strategy. Here are some of her tips:
1. Free drinks don’t lead to relationships.
At a place like the Tavern at Phipps (3500 Peachtree Road), the cute women are far outnumbered by eager men willing to foot the bill. But they’re not necessarily date-worthy. “The guys will pay,” Travis says. “But there are some creepy marrieds there, so be careful.”
2. Look at what they are drinking.
Bars like Establishment (3167 Peachtree Road) draw young businessmen who are career-minded and successful, Travis says. Note that these guys are probably drinking craft cocktails or high-end beers, not buckets of the cheap stuff. So maybe they’re a bit more grown up—you can consider sharing your real digits.
3. Don’t hug the valet.
What she means is: If you’ve been to a bar so often that you know the valet well enough to hug him (as one woman did waiting for Uber outside of the Ivy), you’re probably hanging out with the same guys night after night, so it’s time to switch things up.
4. Love is not found after 11 p.m.
If you do become a regular at late-night clubs like the Ivy Buckhead (3717 Roswell Road), watch out. Travis and her friends are swarmed by bros in visors (at night?) and men who look like they’re trying to relive their fraternity days. Guys buy rounds of shots, girls dance on tables, and the vibe is all about hooking up. The Ivy, Travis cautions, is not the place to find a boyfriend. “If you’re partying with someone, that’s not going to lead to something,” she says. “And if you’re late-night with a guy, he’s not someone you’d want to date.”
For more of Travis’s wisdom, along with random Buckhead dispatches, follow @kellytravisty on Twitter.
This article originally appeared in our September 2014 issue.