Chef Joey Ward imagined two big concepts inhabiting one tiny space located in Atlanta’s iconic 1930s Plaza Theatre development. Enter Southern Belle, a luxe, hip cocktail lounge, then access Georgia Boy for a dramatic chef’s table experience by way of an intimate salon that draws design elements from both areas. Our project reflects its location’s famous neon signage, respects the building’s existing architectural features such as the tin ceiling and brick walls, and reimagines Southern hospitality. The varied design influences are merged in a neon blue “Bless Your Heart” sign anchoring the bar; the colloquial Southern euphemism pays homage to the neighboring Majestic Diner and to the modern Southern belle. Neon is referenced throughout in bright blue lacquered tables, high gloss trim, and blue milk glass accessories. Just as the curved corners present in the moderne elements of the historic development are interpreted into soft archways and curved bar, opal globe lights and wall sconces form a softer version of the diner’s illuminated fascia. Lush floral patterns and opulent velvets provide an elegant contrast to the eclectic art curated to represent a diverse slice of Southern life. Georgia Boy guests are welcomed into the salon, where the Southern Belle palette is deepened. After guests enjoy drinks and appetizers, a bookshelf swings open to reveal a secret passage to the private dining room, where a chiaroscuro technique shadows perimeter surfaces to highlight the bright, open kitchen and large concrete dining tables.
Photography by Andrew Thomas Lee