During the NFL season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton doesn’t get much love from his hometown, especially when he goes head-to-head with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. He is betting that will change with Fellaship.
Fellaship, the upscale cigar bar lounge owned by Newton and his older brother Cecil “CJ” Newton Jr., is located within walking distance of the Falcons’ home turf, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and officially opened Thursday.
Speaking with the AJC inside Fellaship, located on the front end of the Castleberry Point Lofts on Centennial Olympic Park Drive, Cam said he was “absolutely” comfortable with the Falcons as his neighbor. “Throughout it all, I’m still from Atlanta,” he explained. “I don’t shy away from it. And I hope when the consumer comes in, they see that [Fellaship] has a lot of different Atlanta ties and signatures as well.”
Patrons won’t find any of Cam’s sports memorabilia, either. With its luxurious furnishings, ample art, studious bookshelf, well-appointed bar and impressive humidor, not to mention a staircase leading to a second level, Fellaship is an elegant space bathed in greys worthy of any multimillionaire owner.
Earlier in the evening, outside, just before CJ cut the ribbon, Cam explained why they chose to name their establishment Fellaship. “My family has a strong religious background,” he said — their mother, Jackie Newton, first lady at Holy Zion Ministries led by their father, Cecil Newton Sr., even prayed for the establishment with the crowd. “Being from the South, fellowship always meant unity and always meant togetherness.”
“It’s spelled how you say it,” he added, with a smile.
Cigar offerings range in pricing and taste, with brands like industry leader Davidoff’s Zino Platinum Crown Series running $43 and higher, and more approachable fare like Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real priced at just $11. Fellaship also welcomes non-cigar smokers.
“If you don’t even want to smoke cigars,” Cam said, “we have the perfect technology [so] you won’t smell like cigars when you leave this establishment.”
There are two bars, one on the main level and another on the upper level. Both are flanked by flat-screen TVs. Cocktail selections are varied with such offerings as the signature Fellaship, made with Bulleit bourbon, as well as fun drinks like the Passionfruit Mojito.
Food is very serious and rare for a cigar bar when most offer nothing to eat at all. Trusted Atlanta chef, Zeb Stevenson, reportedly helped develop the menu. Chef Bernard Weston, however, runs the kitchen. Standouts include the lamb chops, which hail from New Zealand, and the truffle and parmesan fries. The vegan portobello tacos, a result of Cam recently embracing veganism, are also noteworthy. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Atlanta without wings.
CJ is pleased to add to the caliber of quality businesses, especially African American-owned ones, surrounding Fellaship. “This area, Castleberry Hill, is itself a community that we like to consider a thriving black community,” he said. “It has so much history and a lot of prestige.”
Zucot Gallery is right next door, with organic spa Iwi Fresh also in the development; Paschal’s, co-owned by the H.J. Russell family, and Kandi Burruss-Tucker and her husband Todd Tucker’s Old Lady Gang, both Southern-style restaurants, are within walking distance. An African American-owned boutique hotel is reportedly in the works as well.
As great as the location is, Cam is betting that hospitality will be Fellaship’s biggest win. “We want people to feel comfortable. We want people to feel at home and we also want people to have a good time.”
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