Chef Andy Tran's Ramen Crush takeover has come to an end at Last Word, but the Old Fourth Ward restaurant has something new in the works. Cocktail pop-up Up Or Down is moving into the space this Thursday, Last Word owner Bernard Moussa said in a phone conversation with Eater Atlanta. The pop-up will hold court through the end of April.
Up Or Down is the brainchild of Timothy Faulkner, former bar manager and colleague of Tran's at Angus Brown and Nhan Le's now-shuttered Lusca. Instead of offering a set menu of cocktails, Faulkner lets patrons choose from what he calls an "anti-menu," placing orders via "a series of check-boxes, artistic prompts, and symbols." The resulting drinks are "a-lå-minute mayhem," with a "cheeky, absurdist energy" in the space to match.
Up Or Down got its start at Candler Park's Gato on Thursday nights, but at Last Word service will run Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Brown and Le are working on a menu of "really fun bar food" to go with the beverages, according to Moussa.
Last Word's Up Or Down news comes a week and a half after executive chef Layla Walk and beverage director Cole Younger Just announced they would not return to the restaurant following their "much-needed time off." Moussa confirmed Just's previous assertion that the separation was amicable — "I have a lot of respect for these guys, and wherever they land, I think they're going to be a huge asset." He said the decision to bring in Up Or Down was partly based on the departures.
Regarding Last Word's future beyond the April pop-up, Moussa said he's "still figuring things out in the big picture," and he should have an idea of what that picture holds "within two weeks, probably."