After significant delays caused by the pandemic, By Weight and Measure is now open in the Collective at Coda food hall near Georgia Tech. The premise behind the scientifically based cocktail bar from Atlanta bar industry veterans Johnny Martinez and Brandon Ley and their partner Ian Carlson was years in the making.
“We’re excited to finally be open, to bring something interesting and as unique as what has come out of the brain of Ian Carlson to Midtown,” says Martinez. “And something that embraces science as much as it does good flavor.”
Martinez and Ley, who run Joystick Gamebar and Georgia Beer Garden on Edgewood Avenue, were approached by Portman Holdings three years ago to open a cocktail bar at the Midtown food hall. The Collective is also home to food stalls from other notable restaurant industry veterans, including chef Hector Santiago’s El Burro Pollo, chef Justin Dixon’s sandwich shop Humble Mumble, and an outpost of Mediterranean food spot Aviva by Kameel.
“We were very happy to partner with Ian because we knew that he was just a savant,” Martinez says. “If there’s a pantheon of new, up-and-coming tastemakers as far as bartending goes, then Ian Carlson should absolutely be on that list. This is his baby and we’re the godparents.”
Carlson served as general manager at both Joystick and Georgia Beer Garden.
By Weight and Measure proves a business can marry science and passion, too, Carlson says. Its combination of local, natural ingredients and science is something he feels is unique to the Atlanta bar scene. And the concept for the bar has been simmering in the back of his mind for a long time
“I like to bring a scientific process to making cocktails,” says Carlson, who gathers inspiration from anything to eating at restaurants to people-watching and perusing farmers markets. He likes to imagine a drink’s end result and figure out the various steps to get there. “[I] make sure that I’m measuring and doing everything so it can be repeatable for guaranteed quality.”
He also takes inspiration from Dave Arnold’s podcast, “Cooking Issues”, who is the author of Liquid Intelligence. “Just listening to him talk about stuff really added to my curiosity in learning techniques and researching and trying to put as much thought into the cocktail as folks put into all the delicious food dishes.”
Martinez says the result of Carlson adding a scientific approach to researching and then creating cocktails and non-alcoholic mixed beverages for By Weight and Measure offers drinks on the menu that are flavorful, well blended, and interesting.
The Peanut Farmer, a peanut butter-washed bourbon with Coca-Cola bitters Carlson makes himself, is an ode to summertime in South Georgia and Jimmy Carter. The Git Up, Git Out combines house-made strawberry gin with lemon-mint cordial and soda water. “It’s the essence of summertime,” he says. One of Carlson’s favorite drinks right now is the Columbian Exchange, a tamarind and chile cordial with peanut milk and lime juice that’s tart, refreshing, and savory all at once.
“We are just as proud of our non-alcoholic offerings as we are of our cocktails,” he says. “We wanted to put as much thought into those as we did with the alcoholic drinks,” adding that zero-proof drinks are sometimes an afterthought for bars.
“I still want to be able to offer [non-drinkers] something delicious and interesting that wasn’t just a soda or some fruit juices mixed together.”
Look for the cocktail menu at By Weight and Measure to follow the seasons, too, changing frequently to allow for use of local ingredients from farmers and farmers markets and to incorporate seasonal flavors.
Open Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Cocktails, non-alcoholic mixed drinks, beer and wine available. Seating at the bar and inside the food hall.
756 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta. weightandmeasure.com.