The renovations to 8Arm’s former coffee cafe are nearly complete and it will reopen in November as Ink — a candlelit, 20-seat cocktail bar serving caviar and high-end canned, tinned, and jarred foods. The bar will be accessible via the host stand in 8Arm’s dining room, acting as Ink’s lone gatekeeper and only point of entry.
8Arm closed its counter-service cafe in September and no longer offers weekday breakfast. The restaurant has shifted morning and coffee operations to 3heart Roastery on the Eastside Beltline located in the back of Paris on Ponce.
In 8Arm’s early days, before their bustling patio bar opened, the cafe served coffee by day and morphed into a low key cocktail den in the evenings. Skip Engelbrecht, who owns neighboring vintage market Paris on Ponce and co-owns 8Arm with chef Nhan Le, says it was always their intention to transform the space back into a cocktail bar.
Now walled off from the rest of 8Arm, the former cafe’s drop ceiling has been removed, exposing the early 20th century building’s wooden and steel beams and severely-pitched roof. The stark white, brick walls have been painted a soft black. Seating includes a banquette with cocktail rounds along the windows, and a small, semicircular bar is being installed where the pastry case once stood. It will seat just a handful of people.
The design by George Long is dark, sexy, and minimalist, with pops of green from plants placed within the chandeliers. Ink is meant to be self-contained and intimate.
General manager Joshua Fryer is still putting together the drinks menu, but it’s likely to include an omakase flight of no more than three cocktails. Rather than creating a fixed menu, Fryer is considering allowing drinks to be chosen by the bartender based on the flavor preferences of the guest. Ink will also include a succinct list of wines, vermouth, sherry, and Madeira. He’s also planning to offer a gong fu-style tea service with teas imported from China, Japan, and Taiwan.
Food at Ink will be unlike anything currently offered in Atlanta. In addition to caviar service, the bar is planning to import and serve premium tinned and jarred foods from countries such as Portugal, Spain, and Japan to pair with cocktails. Le was first inspired by the kanzume bars of Japan — like Mr. Kanso in Osaka, where people select canned foods to eat which are stocked on shelves around the bar. The kitchen at 8Arm will provide the desserts as well as some jarred offerings for Ink. It’s unclear what types of imported canned goods will be served beyond those made at 8Arm.
Bar patrons will choose from the caviar and canned foods displayed among the spirits on the back bar. The bartender will then prepare and plate each order.
“We’re trying to really reign in the energy of the outdoor bar and focus on cocktails and provide tasting experiences at Ink,” Engelbrecht explains. “Ink isn’t where you come for dinner. It’s that in-between place where you order dessert or a small bite and a nightcap before heading home.”
Engelbrecht and Fryer expect Ink to open next month, prior to Thanksgiving.
8Arm is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday at 6 p.m. and brunch on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ink will keep the same evening hours.