The status of timeworn Atlanta dive bars as an increasingly endangered species continues.
Elliott Street Pub, a Castleberry Hill fixture for more than 15 years, is the latest beloved, intown establishment in a decidedly unpretentious setting to sell, according to listing agent Lucas Carter of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.
Carter wrote in an email to Urbanize Atlanta that a sale of the pub’s property at 51 Elliott Street closed Friday for $1.9 million—and that the business’ closure looms. Exactly when that might happen, however, isn’t clear.
“More details on a last hurrah at the pub [are coming] soon,” Carter wrote.
Two brothers, Mike and Pete Jakob, former owners of a contracting and building business, stumbled into the bar industry upon finding the dilapidated, circa-1870 building nearly two decades ago. They opened the pub in 2006 with plans to eventually sell. The property came to market in 2019 but didn’t move; it was again listed in summer 2021, initially asking $2.32 million.
As the “trusted stewards of this storied property for nearly two decades,” the Jakob brothers decided to sell to “another community member,” according to Carter. Inquiries as to who that buyers is and what he specifically intends to do with the pub and its adjoining spaces weren’t returned as of press time.
“[The Jakobs] look forward to [the buyer] bringing his own concept to light as the property moves on into its next chapter,” said Carter. “It was always their hope [to] find a new owner that would honor the artistic spirit of the neighborhood and the building.”
When the Elliott Street Pub came up for sale in 2019, the owners vowed they wouldn’t let the property be bulldozed for glistening new development, which is now encroaching from the west (Hard Rock’s Reverb hotel and adjacent apartments) and even more dramatically from the east (where CIM Group wants a majority of the $5-billion Centennial Yards megaproject opened in time for 2026 World Cup matches in downtown Atlanta).
A few blocks beyond those sites, within a quick stumble of Elliott Street Pub, the 40-story Signia by Hilton Atlanta hotel continues to rise over Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And just last month, developer Newport again declared its optimism for South Downtown by unveiling plans for two new towers, collectively set to inject downtrodden Broad Street blocks with 650 apartments and a dozen retail spaces in 2025.
When the 51 Elliott Street property came up for sale last year, it was offered as both a pub and three-loft inn that sellers called successful. It was marketed as the closest bar and non-hotel lodge to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Going way back, the Elliott Street building originally served as a carriage house for the central city and railroad industry. Between the early 1950s and 1982, it housed jazz club Dee’s Birdcage—Isaac Hayes, Gladys Knight, and Curtis Mayfield all performed there—and one of the first Black-owned real estate, loan, and insurance companies in Atlanta, according to marketing materials.
The Jakob brothers bought the ailing property for $315,000 in 2004. A gut renovation cost nearly $1 million initially, and in 2006 created the property’s nucleus: a cozy pub of just 600 square feet, with room for about 30 people total. In 2018, Vice declared that space “Atlanta’s Best Bar.”
According to previous listings, the building was updated in 2015 and again in 2021. Roughly 10 parking spaces came with it, and three outdoor areas include restaurant patios and decks, plus a 2,500-square-foot lot where future development could go, per sellers. The finished basement has a cool little music venue, and the city has approved plans for a potential third-floor addition to the bar building, per 2021 marketing materials.
Still, the absence of Elliott Street Pub in an inimitable setting like that would leave a void. In the way Masquerade no longer operates in Old Fourth Ward, the Paris on Ponce/8Arm restaurant spaces and the former, 30-year-old Highlander bar sit empty, and cherished nightlife hives such as MJQ, The Local, and Friends on Ponce face an existential crisis in the shadow of high-dollar development now.
• Castleberry Hill news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)