Brewing a magic weekend

As many of my friends bury themselves in the new Harry Potter book this weekend, I'll be practicing a little wizardry of my own.

The kind that involves brewing up enough magic to make me not smell like a human ashtray after exiting a local bar.

That goal in mind, I'll kick off the weekend with dinner at the Saloon and Oyster Bar (6005 Macon Road). Local party band Autumn Haze is slated to perform a free show there at 9:30 p.m., and nothing says "fine dining" like their cover of "Keep Your Hands to Yourself."

After that, I'll party at the Shanty Shack (4475 Warm Springs Road), where you'll hear songs by Garth Brooks and Rihanna back to back. And amazingly, most partiers' dance moves — including mine — can't tell the difference.

Finally, if a Friday night at the Shanty Shack leaves you craving a second night of partying, check out Saturday's downtown bar crawl. One $8 cover gets you into the majority of downtown bars.

The bar crawl was formerly known as Christmas in July, but now it has no theme. I'm not giving up on a little out-of-season yuletide cheer, though.

Or a guy who will still attempt to pass a lame tree branch off as mistletoe.