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A Marietta Couple Transforms a 1920s Gas Station Into a Socially Distant Cocktail Bar

Ted and Lara Ferreira opened the Third Door and hope to tap into the days of Prohibition-era speakeasies, while providing a safe space for drinks off Marietta Square

A white retro camper beside a bright white portico with large dark wood double doors at a bar in Marietta, GA, once an old gas station with two bourbon barrels where the gas pumps would be and a red sign hanging overhead with the name The Third Door The Third Door

A cocktail bar and lounge called the Third Door recently opened inside a restored 1920s gas station on Church Street just off of Marietta Square. Owners Ted and Lara Ferreira wanted to tap into the clandestine days of Prohibition-era speakeasies and the uninhibited glamour of the Roaring ’20s with the decor and cocktail menu for the Third Door.

Victorian settees covered in floral prints, old photos lining the walls, tin ceiling tiles, velvet curtains, and floorboards and paneling using reclaimed wood from an old barn are meant to set the mood. The bar doubles as the Ferreira’s showroom for their vintage travel trailer business Happier Camper and Temperance Trailers — retro horse trailers repurposed into mobile bars.

But building out the Third Door during a pandemic forced the Ferreiras to rethink how they would transform their showroom by day into a safe, socially distant bar and lounge by night.

Oversized garage doors open onto a portico and patio (the Pump Yard) in the front of the building, where several large planters separate the seating area from people walking along the sidewalk. Countertops and barstools have been added to the planters to provide more outdoor seating. For now, no one is allowed to gather at the bar, which was constructed from American pine wood salvaged from a school gymnasium built in 1927.

The Ferreiras say that with the patio in use, the Third Door is currently operating at around 60 percent capacity during the health crisis.

A dark wooden bar with six vintage lights hanging above it and a back bar lit with bottles of liquor on the shelves. The light is reflecting off the tin ceiling above the bar The Third Door
The sun setting on the patio at the Third Door bar Marietta with tables set under a porch-lit white portico in front and candlelit tables with red umbrellas beyond it The Third Door

“From the beginning, we wanted to design and open a flexible special event and entertainment space, and as such we have inherently incorporated measures that allow for adaptability in spacing and setup,” the Ferreiras tell Eater. “The Jalopy Gallery features table rails that fold up onto the wall (much like a Murphy bed), which now establish distance between tables and adhere to COVID-19 procedures. We will continue opening the oversized garage doors with access to the Pump Yard for as long as possible thanks to temperate Georgia weather.”

As for the drinks menu, expect to find Prohibition-inspired cocktails comprising mostly of gin and whiskey, including classics like the Bees Knees and Hanky Panky and original concoctions such as the Long Goodbye, made with rye, lemon, pear, magnolia, and Angostura. In keeping with the speakeasy theme, the Third Door also offers a secret cocktail menu, along with a small selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, beer, wine, and sparkling wine. The menu features scannable QR codes for contact-free, online ordering. The couple hope to eventually include food trucks serving bar bites in the future.

A bright red Hanky Panky cocktail in a coup glass next to a milky colored Bees Knees cocktail in a vintage wine glass on a silver tray, a closed garage door in the background The Third Door

With the pandemic likely to continue into next year, the Ferreiras are now preparing to shore up the Third Door for what could be a very difficult winter for bars and restaurants across the country. This includes extending patio season to make drinking cocktails outdoors as pleasurable as possible throughout the cooler months.

“We are prepared to ‘do the Charleston’ and pivot-turn as much as is needed to keep everyone healthy and safe to the fullest extent possible. This may include adding heaters to the Pump Yard, so we are able to continue enjoying outdoor entertaining.”

Open Tuesday - Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Masks highly encouraged.

131 Church Street, Marietta. thethirddoor.net.

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