When The Barrelhouse closed its doors in Midtown earlier this year, patrons mourned the loss of a favorite spot to grab a burger, beer, and watch a ball game. But just three months later, the gastropub has reopened in the Old Fourth Ward in a space some foodies considered cursed. Can The Barrelhouse break the spell? If my visit there on opening night Monday is what can be expected going forward, then I’d say The Barrelhouse has found its permanent new home.
Located at the corner of Highland and Sampson Street in the Highland Walk apartments building, the space was formerly home to P’cheen, The Last Word and, most recently, Cast Iron. At such a prominent location in O4W (Highland Bakery is just across the street and Zuma sushi and Queen of Cream are in the same building), the success of any of the restaurants should have been a no-brainer. The Barrelhouse might have found the solution: a simple menu of burgers, appetizers, beers, cocktails and, most importantly, open late: 11 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. A late night spot like this just steps from the Atlanta BeltLine in the busy Highland corridor should keep The Barrelhouse buzzing.
The bright interior of the new space is simply accented with barrel motifs, a red logo-emblazoned accent wall, some historic photos of the Old Fourth Ward and TVs dotted around the dining area. There are plenty of deep booths, tables and a cozy bar. There’s also patio seating, and even a dog-watering station. It’s got neighborhood appeal written all over it.
But what about the food?
I had a simple burger, fries and a Coke. The burger was thick, juicy and cooked as ordered with a no-nonsense, fluffy bun. The house cut fries were fresh, but could have used a dash of salt or seasoning to make them pop. Similarly, the aioli dipping sauce could have also used a flavor kick, maybe add more garlic.
My dining companion had the BeltLine Burger (without the bun) with avocado, tomato, bacon, aged white cheddar and chipotle mayo. She praised the flavor combination, but had the same criticism of the fries. She opened her meal with a Barrel Aged Old Fashion (Redemption Rye, Tattersall Sour Cherry & Orange Crema, Bitters), which she described as “serviceable.”
The Barrelhouse doesn’t serve the best burger in town, but they are very good. The space is inviting and the aforementioned late-night hours are sure to make this a neighborhood hangout for a meal, a drink or to catch a Falcons or Tech game.
The Barrelhouse is located at 701 Highland Ave. NE, Apt. 1212, Atlanta, GA 30312. Visit barrelhouseatl.com for the menu and more details.