Atkins Park in Virginia-Highland Celebrates 100th Year
Atlanta’s Oldest Continuously Licensed Tavern Marks Centennial Year with the First in a Series of Fun-Filled Celebration Events
ATLANTA – Atlanta has experienced a lot over the last 100 years, and Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar in Virginia-Highland has been a staple in the neighborhood as the city has transformed from a bustling railroad hub into the international destination that it is today. This year, the city’s oldest continuously licensed tavern kicks off a series of centennial celebration events with a party at the restaurant on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. boasting a limited open bar, tasting stations, DJ, limited edition T-shirts and an archival display showcasing many years of memories.
“This first event goes back to what Atkins Park is to the neighborhood,” says Sandra Spoon, long-time owner of Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar who was married to Warren Bruno, the Atkins Park Restaurant Group founder until he lost his battle to lymphoma in 2012. “Since the day we opened our doors, Warren wanted us to be a bridge for the community—a neighbor to the neighborhood—and I think that’s what we’ve been for the 39 years our family has owned Atkins Park.”
The popular restaurant and bar was established in 1922 as Atkins Park Delicatessen in the portion of the building now occupied by the downstairs bar. According to an article in the Atkins Park Gazette, the delicatessen got its beer and wine license right after Prohibition and has been serving beer and wine downstairs under the same Atkins Park name ever since. The menu, which has evolved over the years, features upscale comfort cuisine with such favorites as Atkins Park confit wings, pan-sauteed Georgia trout, meatloaf sandwich, Big Green Egg pulled pork and the Bruno Burger, the original burger on the menu since 1978.
Atkins Park has served generations of families and has been the spot for numerous momentous occasions throughout its 100 years in business. “The beauty of Atkins Park is that it is such a fabric of the neighborhood, and we have regulars coming in since before we owned the place,” says Spoon. “We have 30- and 40-year-olds whose parents would bring them in as kids, who are now coming in with their children. And we have beautiful stories. We had a couple sitting at the bar recently who met here in 1987 and were celebrating their 35th anniversary. The generations of families that come in is what I love most about Atkins Park.”
The kick-off celebration on March 10 is the first of several fun-filled events planned to mark Atkins Park’s 100 years in business. “We’re planning events that speak to different audiences and are even bringing back some of the popular events we did in the past,” says Spoon.
Among the events that Atkins Park fans can look forward to during the year are a 100-year golf tournament; an Atlanta Braves home-opener party in the back parking lot with big screens for game viewing, buckets of beer and grilled hot dogs; a guest bartender night bringing back former employees to reconnect with neighbors; and a Centennial Club Instagram promotion where guests can share stories and photos for a chance to win 100-year branded merchandise.
Like other Atlanta staples— such as Mary Mac’s, The Varsity and The Colonnade—Atkins Park has been a mainstay in the city but for even longer. “We are still here after 100 years with the same name, in the same building, serving our community,” adds Spoon. “And with a continued love for and focus on our neighbors and community, I know we will welcome the next century of Atkins Park and keep making history together.”