Neighborhood market Third Street Goods and adjoining cocktail bar Cardinal are closing at the Beacon complex in Grant Park. Owner and bartender Kathryn DiMenichi confirmed the closures to Eater Atlanta Thursday evening and says the market’s last day will likely be Saturday, August 15. Cardinal never reopened after closing in mid-March due to the pandemic. Bars remained closed through May 31 across the state, by order of the governor.
DiMenichi, who opened the bar and market in April 2019 at the Grant Park development with her initial partner Holli Medley, says between rent owed on the two spaces, Cardinal’s months-long closure, and a severe drop in sales at Third Street Goods, the financial situation has simply become untenable. Without Cardinal, she says, the market “doesn’t thrive.”
“People claim they want a neighborhood market, but that support vanished once the state reopened. They started going back to Kroger. As for Cardinal, it isn’t well ventilated. It wasn’t designed to survive or thrive in a pandemic. Cardinal is an intimate bar,” DiMenichi explains of the closures. “I talked with my staff about doing an aperitivo thing on our patio, but the COVID numbers just keep spiking. A bar isn’t supposed to be some sort of clinical service with masks and social distancing, and I’m not putting people in danger.”
A month prior to the closure in March, DiMenichi says Cardinal had one of its “best months ever,” and the bar was on track to continue the upward trend. An article in drink culture publication Imbibe was about to hit newsstands, and she was in the process of finalizing the details with a new investor, after parting ways with Medley earlier in the year. DiMenichi says she was looking forward to celebrating Cardinal’s one year anniversary in March.
Despite working with landlord 1039 Grant, LLC on the rent at the Beacon, Cardinal’s six staff members trading in their duties at the bar to work full time at Third Street Goods, and creating an online store for the market with local delivery, DiMenichi says it just wasn’t enough to save the businesses.
“My staff is amazing, and I am so grateful for them all. Not one of them quit when I told them I was closing last month,” says DiMenichi. “I’m in this industry for the connections with people who work in it and those packed little rooms where people are gathered together and having a good time. It’s hard to watch what’s happened to bars during this crisis. Bars are built on intimacy and personal connections, which simply can’t happen safely right now.”
While Cardinal and Third Street Goods may be closing, DiMenichi isn’t giving up on the possibility of reopening another bar in the future — and neither is her investor, when the time is right, she says.
“I love this industry so much. I loved our regulars at Cardinal, and I miss them. While it’s hard right now, and I’m still grieving this loss, I am really proud of what we built here, even if it was for a short time.”
Update, August 7, 7:50 p.m.: This story was updated to reflect that the landlord is 1039 Grant, LLC and not Philippe Pellerin or Pellerin Real Estate, which is the property management company for the Beacon.