Field Day, the neighborhood bar and cafe owned by actor Rob Bouton of Charleston’s Queen Street Grocery, opens today on Highland Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward. It takes over the former Across the Street Mexican restaurant, and resides next door to Bouton’s neighborhood market, Everyday.
Bouton told Eater Atlanta last year that Field Day and its patio bar would serve a “hodgepodge menu” of eclectic fare. It’s what Queen Street Grocery is known for in Charleston. The dinner menu from co-owner and executive chef Mike Pitts (BeetleCat, Nobu, Momofuku) indeed includes a varied assortment of foods. There’s duck confit, chicken yakitori, and a grilled cheese sandwich with nappa kimchi paired with snacks like boiled peanuts and French fries which can come topped with creme fraiche and trout roe.
Bar manager David Petro’s (One Eared Stag) cocktails lean classic and familiar, for the most part. Think gimlets, old fashioneds, and fifty-fifty martinis served alongside wines by the glass, local beers, and pitchers of “cheap beer” like Miller High Life.
Meeting Pitts and landing the space on Highland Avenue was “serendipitous,” Bouton says, who has several Atlanta connections through his work as an actor and his father, a Georgia Tech alum. Bouton and Pitts first met through a mutual friend a couple of years ago. The two began talking, and Bouton discovered Pitts was considering opening his own neighborhood restaurant just up the street from BeetleCat.
“Mike was tiring of the fine dining grind and wanted to open a classic, everyday bar and restaurant within his own neighborhood, some place where his neighbors could afford to eat at more than once a month,” Bouton explains of how Field Day came to fruition. “It was the same thing I had done with Queen Street in Charleston.”
While they had hoped to open the restaurant around the same time as Everyday market, Bouton says the building wasn’t in great shape when they took over the space last year. Bouton, his brother and Field Day partner, Owen, and Pitts set to work overhauling the restaurant from the inside out, which now includes new floors, a brand new kitchen, and a much-needed update to the back bar and patio.
The partners tasked designer Jacob Anderson, who also designed Bon Ton in Midtown, with creating a space befitting the name “Field Day” — funky, playful, and carefree without pretense. That vibe continues into the back patio overlooking the Freedom Park trail; a dog-friendly covered bar with views of downtown Atlanta. Bouton calls it the “crown jewel” of Field Day.
A mural painted on the side of the building reads, “Making it up as we go.” It speaks to how Bouton rolls with his restaurant clientele both in Charleston and here in Atlanta, “Like we’ve done at Queen Street, we want people here to tell us what they want. This is their neighborhood and their spot. At the end of the day, it’s just about taking a break, relaxing, and enjoying yourself at Field Day.”
Take a look at the menu:
Sunday - Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Weekend brunch begins next year.
670 Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta. fielddayeveryday.com.