First Look: Venkman’s, Old Fourth Ward


Doors: 5 p.m. nightly. Dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. with a late-night menu until 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-11 p.m. with a late-night menu until midnight Friday-Saturday. Bar open late.

Starters and sides, $5-$12; salads, $9-$13; sandwiches and entrees, $11-$20.

740 Ralph McGill Blvd., Atlanta, 470-225-6162,

Recently opened restaurant and live music venue, Venkman’s, is the creation of Yacht Rock Revue frontmen Peter Olson and Nicholas Niespodziani and pickle-loving chef Nick Melvin. As you might expect, it’s a fun place, with playful takes on food and drink, and an eclectic lineup of performers.

The look: Though Venkman's is named for a "Ghostbusters" character, and located in the former NuGrape Soda Factory in Old Fourth Ward, there's nothing too weird about the build-out. In fact, the loungey-meets-industrial space was designed by local architecture firm AI3 to be versatile, with a large bar area with communal seating, an open kitchen with a chef's table, and cushy booths with sight lines to the custom stage.

The scene: Last week, north Georgia bluegrass quartet Primal Roots took the stage, offering up a couple of sets of jaunty, fast-picking music well suited for an early evening seating that included families with restless children. The scene changed as the band loaded out and a later, younger crowd arrived for dinner and drinks.

The food: Melvin's menu riffs on Southern comfort food with modern takes on starters such as Smoked Chicken Wings ($12) with Gochujang pepper jelly and pickled carrots, and Smoked Trout Beignets ($11) with celery slaw and apple ketchup. Bigger bites include Georgia Clams ($18) with boudin balls and pickled garlic butter, and Cast Iron Fried Chicken ($18) with pickled mustard greens, hot sauce and honey. Among several sides ($5), look for Dry-Fried Okra with fish sauce caramel and peanuts.

The drinks: Since opening, drinks have been BYOB. But the liquor license is expected this week. And bar manager Bradford Tolleson, formerly of Restaurant Eugene, has designed a beverage menu that mixes quality wines ($7-$48) and classic and craft beer ($4-$6) with clever cocktails such as the Ecto-Cooler ($7), a vodka and fresh-squeezed Hi-C slushie.

The extras: Niespodziani and Olson are spinning their favorite albums during DJ sets on Tuesdays during September. Yacht Rock Revue plays the Beatles on Thursdays.