Chef Kevin Gillespie (Revival, Ole Reliable) describes his latest restaurant, Cold Beer, as the “sophisticated sister” of his Glenwood Park restaurant, Gunshow. At 7,000 square feet and two stories, Cold Beer is the chef’s most ambitious and stylish restaurant yet.
Atlanta-based firm Ai3 designed the Eastside Beltline space to highlight Gillespie’s love of art and architecture. Modern and minimalist, the dining room features pops of color from bright yellow trim, live plants, and several panels filled with preserved mosses and ferns above the bar. The restaurant’s most striking and purposely designed element comes from the large painting of a polar bear (Gillespie’s spirit animal) beside the kitchen doors in the dining room.
Cold Beer will initially open for happy hour and dinner at 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Weekend brunch could begin as soon as Labor Day weekend.
Take a look inside Cold Beer, opening Tuesday, July 23, next to the Edgewood Avenue bridge in the Old Fourth Ward.
The front covered patio seats approximately 70 people and is fashioned with ceiling fans, heat lamps, and camp lights on each table.
Two front railings offer seating overlooking the Beltline. Opposite the front railings, a longer third railing looks in toward the dining room. The dining room windows at the railing bar open up onto the patio, allowing people to sit across from one another.
Dining room and bar
Inside, Cold Beer seats around 70 people at booths, tables, and along the banquette in front of the bar. Nine seats are available at the bar, where Gillespie says beverage director Mercedes O’Brien “really shines”. An area behind the host stand can be partitioned off for private parties.
“When I built Gunshow, I wanted the design to look like you were inside the kitchen. It’s extremely rough and crude, almost mechanical. In a way, it channels a bit of that chaos found in most restaurant kitchens,” Gillespie explains of the contrasting designs of the sibling restaurants. “Cold Beer is much more serene and simple, and represents my love of art, beauty, and natural light.”
Gillespie kept the colors neutral in the dining room to highlight the natural light flowing in from the two-story windows and to provide a blank canvas for other design elements, like the colorful panels above the bar.
Each panel features preserved mosses, flowers, and ferns, chosen and arranged by Gillespie and his team, from a company called Garden on the Wall. Plants have a shelf life of approximately five years.
The polar bear
Gillepsie commissioned artist O.M. Norling to create the polar bear painting entitled “A Recluse, the Journey, and a Curious Game of Skill and Chance”. He says the bear represents him and his ups and downs and recent tribulations, which included a battle with renal cancer last year.
Norling worked for over eight months to create the original oil painting on birchwood for Cold Beer. It includes several personal elements dear to Gillespie and wife Valerie. For instance, a Japanese maple tree and a family of cardinals in the lower left hand corner of the painting can be found at the Gillespie’s home.
It’s all Gillespie is willing to reveal about the very personal nature of the painting.
“I want Cold Beer to be about celebrating life. That’s really important to me. I want people to come here and celebrate not just their birthday or an anniversary, but that it’s Tuesday.”
Gillepsie admits he was first drawn to the Cold Beer space for its rooftop dining potential. The rooftop bar seats around 130 people at its high top tables, rail seating overlooking the Beltline, and the campfire-style lounge area.
The roof includes its own small kitchen, a bar, and a dumbwaiter system originating from the main kitchen below.
“We can run the same food and drink menus on both floors. However, we feel people will just hang out up here for drinks,” he says. “This space will evolve over time, and could eventually have its own snacks menu if we find that’s what people are asking for most often on this patio.”
Reservations for the dining room and the dining room bar are available online. Walk-ins are welcome. Both patios are first-come, first-served. Check in at the host stand before being seated.
Open Tuesday - Sunday at 4 p.m.
670 DeKalb Avenue NE, Suite 101, Atlanta. coldbeeratl.com.