Atlanta Restaurant Scene

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Take an early look at pre-Prohibition bar Parlor in Castleberry Hill 

Atlanta’s newest cocktail lounge has just unlocked its doors. Parlor is now open at 249 Peters Street in Castleberry Hill. 

Parlor is the latest venture by Alphonzo Cross, owner of brand development company Quintessential. He has assembled a consultant team of veteran food and beverage pros to develop a menu fit for a sophisticated, 30-seat cocktail “den.”

Beverage manager Mike Jones (One Flew South, H. Harper Station, 4th & Swift, Seven Lamps, Cook Hall at W Atlanta-BuckheadRestaurant Eugene, Negril Village, The Consulate), brings drinks front and center. 

Jones’ cocktail list holds just eight drinks, all with a pre-Prohibition bent. Many are Jones originals that haven’t made a menu until now, such as the cognac-based Cuvee du Merlet that netted him a win last year at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. 

Parlor Cuvee du Merlet and snacks (HANDOUT/Ligaya Figueras)

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Numerous drinks pay homage to African-American contributions – past and present – to the world of drink. The Cato Alexander, which features apple jack whiskey, recognizes the drink’s namesake, a former South Carolina slave and the first “celebrity” black bartender in the U.S. The Mr. Jones cocktail, a variation of an Old-Fashioned, features Uncle Nearest whiskey, which honors Nathan “Nearest” Green, an ex-slave who taught Jack Daniels the distilling trade. There’s the Julep a la Dabney, a creation by a 19th-century black bartender from West Virginia, and even a mocktail made with black-owned, Atlanta-based Beauty Water.

“It’s black by black,” Jones said of his cocktail menu.

Equal thought has been placed on the beer and wine list. Patrons will find a concise list of food-friendly local and international beers as well as an all-French wine selection. While the cocktail menu will change seasonally, look for the vino selection to rotate thematically. Next up, for example, could be an all-Spanish selection, Jones said.

With no kitchen in the tiny 800-square-foot space at his disposal, Q Matissé Myers, executive chef at Southern Gentleman and Gypsy Kitchen, has assembled a short menu of pre-assembled bites for Parlor. These include popcorn holding the flavors of duck fat caramel or jalapeno cheddar, and olives served alongside candied nuts. As patrons settle into Parlor, other items – a meat and cheese board, pickled shrimp, beef tartare and hummus – will make their way onto the menu.

The Mr. Jones cocktail at Parlor (HANDOUT/Ligaya Figueras)

Designed by local firm Flags of Origin, the space features pockets of sitting areas marked by stately velvet couches and chairs. Cross hopes that the space captures the spirit of a 19th-century parlor as opposed to a speakeasy. “We are pre-Prohibition. There’s no secrecy,” he said. 

Open 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, Parlor is first-come, first-served. It does not accept reservations. 

The service model is also in keeping with the way that folk entertained guests in their parlor once upon a time. Parlor offers sit-down service. There are no stools at the bar. 

Parlor, 249 Peters Street, Atlanta. 415-203-9938, parlorden.com.

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About the Author

Ligaya Figueras joined the AJC as its food and dining editor in 2015.

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