Kevin Gillespie’s Beltline restaurant Cold Beer to close

A 2020 Portrait of Chef Kevin Gillespie at his restaurant Cold Beer.  (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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A 2020 Portrait of Chef Kevin Gillespie at his restaurant Cold Beer. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Red Beard Restaurants is working on a new concept for the space.

Atlanta Chef Kevin Gillespie is closing Cold Beer, the bold and stylish two-story restaurant on the Eastside Beltine, at the end of January.

Gillespie and business partner Marco Shaw said in a Friday statement that the restaurant concept has not been able to survive challenges and changing times brought on by the pandemic.

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“We’ve seen the world evolve around us in ways we never could have imagined,” the joint statement said.

Cold Beer’s last day of operations is Jan. 29.

The 7,000-square-foot space in Old Fourth Ward, opened in 2019 as a destination restaurant for visitors to the community, Gillespie added via email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but by mid-2020 regular patrons were mainly residents living on or near the Beltline.

“We felt strongly that a new restaurant, that was more in tune with the needs (and) wants of a younger, more diverse, and more localized clientele would be a better fit for the neighborhood,” Gillespie said of the decision to close.

He and Shaw said they are working on the new restaurant concept for the same location and they will continue to use the kitchen to prepare food for their restaurant group’s nonprofit Defend Southern Food Foundation, which provides dinners for local families five days per week.

Cold Beer is part of Red Beard Restaurants group, whose dining concepts also include Gunshow and Ole Reliable in Atlanta and Revival in Decatur.

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Dining critic Wendell Brock considered Cold Beer the most exciting restaurant on the Beltline after its opening in 2019, calling it “a bastion of revelatory modern cocktails and technically accomplished cooking.”

No staff will be laid off with Cold Beer’s closing, Gillespie said. The employees will have the choice of working at one of the other restaurants or waiting until the new restaurant concept is launched, he said.

“We are committed to creating a new restaurant whose focus is not only great food and drinks, but also about providing help and hospitality to those who need it most,” Gillespie and Shaw said.

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