Justin Amick and William Stallworth of Painted Hospitality opened the Painted Duck in late December in the new Stockyards Atlanta development on Brady Avenue on Atlanta’s Westside.
Dubbed a “distinguished drinkery, duckpin bowling and gaming parlour,” it follows in the style of the Painted Pin, the duo’s lively boutique bar, bowling and entertainment venue , which opened in Buckhead in June 2014.
You’ll find 16 “small ball” duckpin bowling lanes, plus Belgian feather bowling lanes, indoor horseshoe pits, knuckleball, toad in the hole, indoor shuffleboard courts, basketball, air hockey and snookball variations among the fun and games.
In addition, the venue features “backyard barfare” from chef Thomas Collins (One Midtown Kitchen, Trois, Parish, the Painted Pin), beverages from Trip Sandifer (the Spence, Restaurant Eugene, the Painted Pin), and live music some nights. But in many ways, the location is the star of the show.
It’s situated below street level at 10th and Brady, and accessed behind a neon-lit, speakeasy-style entrance, so you take a flight of stairs down to reach an underground passage that opens to a clubby, cavernlike world with 20-foot ceilings, and a definite wow factor.
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Among the design elements in the “indoor courtyard,” sections of the original granite and brick were retained, and fieldstone walls, concrete columns, an expansive bar area and a stage were added. Modern lighting, including an oversized chandelier, and a 50-foot mural by artist Todd Murphy with digital images of migrating ducks help set the scene.
Recently, Amick conducted a tour of the space and talked about the concept, while Collins and Sandifer chimed in on the food and drink.
“We’re calling it a ‘Game of Thrones’ meets hunting lodge,” Amick said of the space. “All of our games are complimentary, similar to the Painted Pin, but this is a totally different rendition. Different kind of bowling, different kind of games, different food and beverage, different part of town, different name, and different decor.
“We do a lot of private events, and we can easily do that here, while still being open to the public on the other side. We’re full-service in all the seated areas around the venue. We wanted to be on the Westside because it’s a different demographic. And we’re a convergence of a lot of different elements.”
In sync with the game-time theme, Collins constructed the menu around shareable small plates and items you can pick up and nosh. House Cracker Jack, Duck Phat Fries and Duck Nuggets join salads, sliders, sandwiches, and “quills” — which are wood-fired skewers with the likes of Hawaiian Pork and Pineapple, Spicy Chicken Thighs and Thai Ahi Tuna.
Upping the game, whole roasted Peking Duck (which must be ordered an hour in advance) is served up family-style with peppered bacon, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and King’s Hawaiian rolls.
“This was all about what do you come up with in terms of finger food that’s conducive to sharing and games,” Collins said. “We’re trying to stay away from the knife and fork, so you can eat with one hand and play with the other one. But what I tried to do was simple food that is very well executed.”
On the beverage side, Sandifer is offering signature and classic cocktails, artisanal wines by the glass and local and craft beer.
But the fun stuff comes in the form of the likes of the Frosted Duck L’Orange. It’s inspired by the Varsity’s Frosted Orange, but spun-up with vodka, coconut milk, orange soda, lemon and lime juice, orange flower water and vanilla. And there are two signature cocktails on draft.
“We mined most of the classic cocktails at the Painted Pin, so we wanted to do something completely different here,” Sandifer said. “We have some cousins to the classics and some more modern classics, too, like the Bramble and the Red Hook.”
976 Brady Ave. NW, Atlanta. 404-352-0048, thepaintedduckatl.com.
More images from a First Look at the Painted Duck