ATLANTA (AP) _ Atlanta's nightspots normally would celebrate with 40,000 people in town for a convention, but this week's visit by the Southern Baptists has been dry.

''They are very nice folks. They just don't drink,'' said Jim Tilden, bartender at Dailey's restaurant.

Not since Gov. Joe Frank Harris, who has an aversion to strong drink, held a no-alcohol inaugural ball four years ago have so many visitors to the city drunk so little.

''If you had 40,000 drinkers in town, this place would be wall-to-wall with people,'' said Ray Allebach, night manager of Fitzgerald's restaurant, where the bar was lined only with the regulars, some of them employees of nearby hotels and restaurants who had quit early for want of business.

Allebach said his bartenders had served an occasional draft beer - nothing stronger - to a few Baptists, but mostly the demand was for soft drinks, orange juice or water.

The influence of the teetotaling Baptists was evident throughout downtown Tuesday night.

O'Henry's restaurant, which usually stays open late when there is a party crowd in town, closed early. The stairs leading up to Le Parasol, the hanging bar in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, were blocked by a sign declaring it closed. The bar at the new Hotel Ibis was open, but the stools stood empty.

At the one bar that remained open, the bartender described business as ''null and void'' and worked at a crossword puzzle.

A nearby ice cream cart did a brisk business.

But the city's restaurants had no such problems.

''We're getting quite a good dinner business from them,'' Allebach said.

Tilden said Dailey's also got a dinner crowd of Baptists, who waited in the hallway rather than the bar until a table was ready.