Bar Mercado, Atlanta, USA
Taking inspiration from Madrid’s historic Mercado de San Miguel, Atlanta’s Bar Mercado – the latest addition to Krog Street Market, located in the hip Inman Park neighbourhood – fittingly features a tapas and small plates menu, matched by a bold and lively design envisioned by the acclaimed, locally-based architecture and design firm Square Feet Studio.
To create a wholly original and pleasantly offbeat look, Square Feet Studio left many of the original, industrial elements of concrete, brick, and steel intact, but softened them with unexpected pops of dramatic colour. The deep midnight blue of the dining room’s ceiling, for example, echoes the night sky, while pink and aqua liven up the banquette seating. Other quirky design elements include shell globe pendant lighting, cabinets of assorted knick knacks and neon signage.
Instead of limiting themselves to a particular region of Spain, chefs John Castellucci, Jessica Dinwiddie and Raul Dominguez turn out assorted tapas from all over the country, including Catalan spinach, salmorejo and patatas bravas. Naturally, the wine list favours Spanish bottles, but the cocktails (like the vodka, gin and cava-spiked Hala Madrid) are terrific, too. The main dining room, with its soaring ceilings, is well-suited for a longer sit-down affair, while the adjacent bar is ideal for lingering over a drink or light bite.