James Bond-inspired Vesper Bar now open for cocktails, tapas in Glenwood Park

The interior of Vesper Bar in Atlanta. / Courtesy of Damien McGee
The interior of Vesper Bar in Atlanta. / Courtesy of Damien McGee

Credit: Damien McGee

Credit: Damien McGee

When Damien McGee and Jon Tilley first started putting together ideas for a bar, a James Bond theme jumped to mind.

But as the pair, who met as bartenders at Polaris Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta, dug into planning, they realized what they were really going for was a Bond-inspired bar.

“As we went over things, what we wanted was a cool, laid back, comfortable lounge,” Tilley said. “The type of place where if you came in, you might see James Bond having a cocktail there.”

A cocktail from the menu at Vesper Bar. / Courtesy of Damien McGee
A cocktail from the menu at Vesper Bar. / Courtesy of Damien McGee

Credit: Damien McGee

Credit: Damien McGee

The result? Vesper Bar, which gives shoutouts to Bond through the names of its cocktails and other small touches, but is really a nod to “the essence of an era when people went out and cocktailed,” McGee said.

The bar, which debuted next door to Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant Gunshow in Glenwood Park last week, offers a variety of Bond-inspired craft cocktails, zero-proof cocktails and classics, as well as a selection of beers and wines and a concise tapas menu.

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Tilley said he and McGee had a lot of time to experiment with putting together the cocktail list while looking for a space for the bar.

“We collaborate together really well,” he said. “It’s like we’re using the same brain. We bounce ideas off of each other, and we go out of the box sometimes to see where we can go with it.”

Highlights on the Bond-inspired list of drinks include the Vesper Lynd, made with Hendriks Gin, Titos Vodka and Lillet Blanc; the Tatiana Romanova, made with Stoli 100 Premium Vodka and garnished with a Silver Berry Russian Olive; and the Kissy Suzuki, made with Butterfly Pea Flower Tea, Lemon, Lavender and Blue Coat.

Classics include the Damien’s Manhattan, McGee’s take on his signature drink, a Golden Negroni and a Casino Royale 75.

The interior of Vesper Bar. / Courtesy of Damien McGee
The interior of Vesper Bar. / Courtesy of Damien McGee

Credit: Damien McGee

Credit: Damien McGee

It was also important to the pair to feature a selection of “elegant” zero-proof beverages so that people who don’t drink alcohol “can still be part of the party,” McGee said.

Options include the Maple Old Fashioned with Ritual zero-proof Whiskey, muddled orange and cherry, maple syrup and orange bitters and the Nogroni with Seedlip Spice, Crodono and Versin Vermouth with an orange twist.

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Food offerings include “elevated bar food,” McGee said, including a lobster quesadilla, truffled mac and cheese, a waffled Monte Critso sandwich and Jack Daniels pulled pork tacos with rice vinegar coleslaw and a drizzle of queso fresco.

As for the space, the pair were going for a mid-century modern vibe, “a little dark and very cozy,” McGee said, with hunter green walls, blue velvet sofas and socially distanced “conversation areas.” A live edge bar made from a pecan tree from Griffin, is set to be installed next week.

The bar, which seats about 36 right now due to COVID-19 restrictions, will add outdoor seating for an additional 10-15 guests next week.

Vesper Bar is open from 5 p.m.-midnight or 1 a.m, Tuesday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday and 3 p.m.-midnight Sunday.

924 Garrett St., Atlanta. 404-963-6902, vesperatl.com/

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