Dante Stephenson chats with Liz Bairs at a private party at his Dante's Down the Hatch restaurant in Atlanta in June.
Photo: Phil Skinner
Photo: Phil Skinner

Down the Hatch items up for bids

From Down the Hatch to on the block.

About two months after one of Atlanta’s most eclectic businesses closed, its memorable interior will be sold piece by piece to the highest bidders. A Sept. 21 auction will be held at 3380 Peachtree Road in Buckhead, the site for more than 30 years of Dante’s Down the Hatch.

“I’ll be there,” said restaurateur/raconteur Dante Stephensen. “What I may not be here for is when they tear the building down.”

Dante’s served its last meal at the end of July, yielding to soaring tax bills, given the restaurant’s prime location, and a too-good-to-refuse offer from developers who have a luxury tower in mind for the spot.

“I’m staying too busy to feel sorry for myself,” Stephensen said. “I’m not happy about any of this.”

Items up for grabs at the auction include “Baptist pews, a Spanish Catholic confessional and an 18th century Orthodox Presbyterian hand-carved pulpit, all brought over from churches in Europe,” according to auction organizers.

Also, “a pair of 11-foot exterior doors from the Land Bank in London, a two-story bar with glass-paneled ceiling, two large clocks originally from the 1890 Lloyd’s of London building in England, three vintage elevators, a Steinway piano, antique masts and sails and a large ship’s wheel, brass light fixtures, nautical-themed props, wax figures from Madame Tussaud’s, vintage advertising signs and antique cars.”

The autos up for auction will include a 1928 Whippet four-door sedan, a fully restored 1930 Ford A Huckster, a 1933 Rolls Royce touring sedan, a 1935 Packard and a 1939 Cadillac limousine.

Atlanta auction firm Ahlers & Ogletree is handling the sale. A preview party will be held at the restaurant site on Sept. 20. For $95, people can register to bid on-site. The cost includes an auction catalog, food and drink throughout the auction weekend and music by Dante’s longtime jazz band, the John Robertson Trio.

Online bidding will be available via LiveAuctioneers.com. For information, see aandoauctions.com.

Even after Dante’s decor is gone, Dante’s may pop up again. Stephensen said.

“I am looking at other locations,” he said.

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