June 12, 2019 Atlanta - Jason Santamaria, owner and founder of Second Self Beer Co., talks about his love for Atlanta and how he started his company for ATL Closeup series. RYON HORNE/RHORNE@AJC.COM
Photo: Ryon Horne
Photo: Ryon Horne

Second Self Beer founder Jason Santamaria unveils the top  ATL spot for ‘salty, savory and sweet’

Love perusing through social media to find out what your favorite influencers are up to? 

Get a closer glimpse into how they spend their time in Atlanta with “ATL Closeup,” a new AJC feature that explores the leisure lives of some of the city’s most notable personalities as they go from work to play mode over the course of a typical weekend —from their favorite places to dine to the little-known spots where they find retreat.

It’s about five minutes after 5 in the evening, and Jason Santamaria is pouring his regulars a few glasses of cold ones at his Upper Westside brewery, Second Self Beer Company.

» RELATED: Take a look at Second Self Beer Company's new tasting room

The crew of three walks across the street from their job about one to three times a week to enjoy a few IPAs and couple rounds of cornhole. It’s been their routine for months, and Santamaria likes it that way. 

June 12, 2019 Atlanta - Jason Santamaria, owner and founder of Second Self Beer Co., talks about his love for Atlanta and how he started his company for ATL Closeup series. RYON HORNE/RHORNE@AJC.COM
Photo: Ryon Horne

“I’ve always wanted to have a place where people come and enjoy and meet other people,” Santamaria told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’ve always wanted to do things like that.”

Second Self was the Atlanta-native’s side hustle just three years ago. From about 2010 to 2016, he and co-founder Chris Doyle, both Georgia Tech grads, had been building the business from the ground up while holding down full-time jobs elsewhere.

Since the doors of the brewery opened in 2014, patrons have been flocking to the taproom to taste their distinctive ales, like the Oathbreaker, play the various games scattered throughout the facility or watch “The Office” or their favorite sports team on the big projector. 

“Atlanta is a melting pot of everything,” the 36-year-old said. “And I kind of want to do the same thing with Second Self.”

When the “beer architect” isn’t concocting flavor profiles or food-pairing, he’s carving out time to hit up some of his favorite places. Here’s where you’ll likely find the Decatur resident on any given weekend in Atlanta. 

Local Three offers pancakes on its brunch buffet every week. The combinations vary week-to-week based on the season. / Local Three Kitchen & Bar, 3290 Northside Parkway, Atlanta. 404-968-2700, localthree.com. / Photo credit: Brian Martin

Finger-licking good meal

Santamaria grew up in a family of restaurant owners, so food has always been a big part of his life. He likes too restaurants in the city, but he hits up Local Three Kitchen & Bar often.

“The food is always high-quality. They have a great wine list and a great cocktail menu,” he raved. “When I have anyone coming out of town, it’s one of the places we always go to ...” 

He also has a special relationship with executive chef Chris Hall. He helped Santamaria develop the business plan for Second Self. 

“I might be a little bias,” he said, “but I always have a wonderful time there.”

His top dining pick:

Local Three Kitchen & Bar, 3290 Northside Pkwy. NW, Atlanta. 404-968-2700, localthree.com.

Shop-til-you-drop spot 

When the businessman worked a corporate gig, he had a gang of suits and tailored clothes. Since becoming his own boss, he’s kept his fashion simple and comfortable.

“Now, most of my stuff has ‘Second Self’ on it. I make it in a way,” he laughed. “I’m not a big clothes shopper.” 

However, he does have a collection of hats and watches he maintains. Those are the items he’ll “splurge” on. 

He loves to find headgear at Goorin Bros. Hat Shop in Ponce City Market. As for watches, he typically hits up the artists markets around town. 

“I just bought one at the Inman Park Festival a couple of weeks ago,” he revealed. “I just try to look for something unique and different. It was a leather band with a zebra wood body. It was super sexy and simple.” 

His top shopping picks:

Goorin Bros. Hat Shop, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE Suite C196, Atlanta. 404-815-1895, goorin.com/pages/goorin-retail-store-atlanta-ponce-city-market.

» RELATED: The state of beer and breweries in Georgia

Social Hour 

The beer lover has a mission to see one new brewery every month. The monthly adventure helps him find new ways to explore his palette. The last one he visited was Orpheus Brewing in Midtown. 

“We went for the five-year anniversary over Memorial Day weekend. That was a great experience,” he said. “The team there had 40 beers on, and it was just impressive and super tasty. There were like 30-40 people from the beer community I saw that day. It was just a wonderful day.” 

But Santamaria doesn’t typically have to venture out to come across some fun. Second Self hosts a ton of events throughout the year, such as comedy nights every last Friday of the month and yoga classes every last Sunday of the month. 

“Lots of times, people come here. I see a lot of my friends here, which is great. I love it here,” he gushed. 

His top party picks: 

Orpheus Brewing, 1440 Dutch Valley Pl NE, Atlanta. 404-347-1777, orpheusbrewing.com.

Second Self Beer Company, 1317 Logan Cir NW, Atlanta. 678-916-8035, secondselfbeer.com.

A visitor takes in spectacular Anna Ruby Falls in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Photo: Curtis Compton/For the AJC

The wind down 

Aside from traveling the world with his wife, experiencing nature is one of Santamaria’s top ways to relax. From walking the multiple trails throughout the city to enjoying a weekend camping getaway in North Georgia, he stays true to his outdoorsy inclination.

“There’s a wilderness site around Helen in the Chattahoochee National Forest that we go to often. It’s about three miles outside of Helen, so it’s away from everything but close enough to a city if we need to get to anything,” he explained. 

He’s also a bit of a gamer. Currently, he’s digging the “Shadow of War,” which is a “Lord of the Rings” game. 

“I’ll put in some hours playing video games and just zone out a little bit.”

His top relax destination:

Chattahoochee National Forest, 190 Low Gap Road, Helen. 770-297-3000, fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recarea/?recid=10491

The guys at Dish Dive add powdered sugar to their pork belly and French toast with grits offering during the Atlanta Brunch Festival at Fourth Ward Park in Atlanta on Saturday, March 5, 2016. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL
Photo: Jonathan Phillips

Hidden gem 

Ever heard of Dish Dive in Kirkwood? The spot seats just 16, and the menu changes often, but one dish is almost always available. That’s the braised pork belly french toast dish, which is the entrepreneur’s absolute favorite. 

“It’s salty, savory and sweet,” he described. “It’s like one of the best bites in the city. Me and my wife call it our dessert, but it has pork belly in it.”

Since the eatery is BYOB, he always brings a six-pack of Second Self beers for the kitchen and a bottle of wine for him and his wife. 

“We just walk up and have a good time. It’s one of my hidden gems, but I’ll tell everyone about it,” he joked.

If you go:

Dish Dive, 2233 College Ave NE, Atlanta. 404-957-7918, dishdivekitchen.com.

» RELATED: Best underrated restaurants and shops in Atlanta

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