‘A Beautiful Transformation’: Portraits and Hopes of Atlanta’s Black Bartenders

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Black Food Folks Present

‘A Beautiful Transformation’: Portraits and Hopes of Atlanta’s Black Bartenders

I’m a photographer by trade, but one of the things that always strikes me about Atlanta is the togetherness of the bar scene. It’s expansive and vast, sprawling across the metropolitan area, but there is a strong and supportive sense of community, especially when you see bartenders and mixologists utilizing products and brands that they feel a connection with.

Black bartenders taking the time to intentionally utilize Black-owned products and creating an elevated drinking experience where the integrity isn’t compromised makes you want to keep coming back for more rounds.

Small things like that help make it personal and bring together a great story — while also providing a great cocktail experience.

And as Will from the James Room points out, there’s something exciting happening in the Atlanta bar scene right now, as more and more Black bartenders are doing groundbreaking — and delicious — work. He describes it as “a beautiful transformation.”

— Jonathan Cooper

Jonathan Cooper is a food, beverage and lifestyle photographer. See his work at coopernicusphotos.com, Follow him at @iamcoopernicus_

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This photo essay is produced via a partnership with Black Food Folks.

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"As far as Black restaurants go, the ones who are doing amazing culinary work need to be recognized as such. Many times when they’re spotlighted, journalists outside of the culture put their own twists on descriptions based on their perspective. I've seen in many instances that’s proved detrimental in getting valuable recognition from the industry." — Tasha Cyril, Apt 4B

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

"My wish is for Black mixologists to get the actual shine they deserve, because their ability to craft cocktails is quite amazing, and can rival whoever is considered top tier." — Tasha Cyril, Apt 4B

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

The 4B Reservation (Martell Cognac, peach liquor, peach bitters, lime, Cava)

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Tasha Cyril, partner at Apt 4B.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

"The Black bar community in Atlanta is going through a beautiful transformation currently. Transitioning away from the big nightclubs and sports bars to more focused and intentional intimate cocktail lounges." — Will Sprewell, The James Room

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

"I'd love to see the hospitality industry go back to the climate pre-Covid, but our ability to pivot and adapt to our 'new normal' opened up so many new and unexpected opportunities." — Will Sprewell, The James Room

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Like a Jungle (Bacardi Anejo Cuatro rum, lime juice, Martini & Rossi Fieri, demerara syrup, Chinola passionfruit liqueur)

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Adi Batista, bar lead and beverage program director at Parlor in Atlanta.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Adi Batista, putting the finishing touches on an Old Fashioned at Parlor

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Adi Batista, enjoying the finishing touches of an Old Fashioned at Parlor

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

This story is produced as a partnership with Black Food Folks. Follow on Instagram at @blackfoodfolks.

Black Food Folks Present

‘A Beautiful Transformation’: Portraits and Hopes of Atlanta’s Black Bartenders

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