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Old 4th Distillery Opening a Cocktail Club With Prohibition Roots

The distillery is bringing back a piece of Atlanta’s Prohibition history

Photo: Gabi Valladares
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Old 4th Distillery (O4D) on Edgewood Avenue is transforming their tasting room into a Prohibition-era speakeasy called The Locker Club. The club will run nightly on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Bartender Cole Younger Just (formerly of Bellina Alimentari) has been tapped to head the cocktail program which will feature the distillery’s gin, vodka, and, eventually, their forthcoming bourbon.

The new club is a hat tip to Atlanta’s unique Prohibition history when private drinking clubs were formed Downtown near Decatur and Marietta Streets and club members’ private liquor collections were placed under “lock and key”. Eventually, these exclusive spots were referred to as ‘locker clubs’.

“We are pretty excited over here to get this historic piece of ATL [locker clubs] up and going once again,” Just told Eater Atlanta. “We’ve managed to squeeze a couple of kegerators into this tiny space [tasting room] and will be deploying draught cocktails out of them.”

Just plans to offer simple cocktails to start with, including a gin and tonic on draught, a force-carbonated gin and juice with clarified grapefruit juice, a classic vodka buck, a Moscow mule, and a play on the Tom Collins.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported on O4D’s new club late last week. However, owners (and brothers) Craig and Jeff Moore have been teasing news of the distillery’s latest project for several days on social media. Craig Moore said the idea for the tasting room’s new cocktail club was a course correction after suffering a recent funding setback with O4D’s Decatur Street facility renovation.

While O4D’s focus will be on the Edgewood Avenue Locker Club, Moore said they are considering opening similar tasting room clubs around Atlanta in the future. Georgia law allows distilleries to open other tasting rooms at off-site barrel-aging or distilling facilities within ten miles of the main distilling plant. A second Locker Club is already being developed for East Atlanta at one of O4D’s barrel-aging locations.

Moore said the East Atlanta club (which currently houses 250 barrels of bourbon) will likely be operational by Spring 2019. Its opening will coincide with the release of their new bourbon.

As for the Decatur Street build-out, Moore said while the entertainment and tasting room venues are currently on hold, work has been done on the property. The facility currently serves as one of the distillery’s barrel-aging warehouses, is home to two experimental stills as well as a new walk-in freezer and refrigerator, and gives the team an additional 1000-square-feet of office and workspace. A botanicals garden is also being planned on Daniel Street for use in the distillery’s spirits and cocktails at The Locker Club.

“These Locker Clubs are a cool piece of Atlanta’s Prohibition history. While we can’t recapture that moment in time, we can capture its spirit,” Moore said. “By day, we’re the gin and vodka distillery with tours. But, by night, we transform into this cool, craft cocktail club. It’s exciting.”

The Locker Club on Edgewood Avenue launches this Thursday, February 8 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. 487 Edgewood Avenue SE, Atlanta.

Bellina Alimentari

675 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast, , GA 30308 (404) 330-9933 Visit Website