Joystick’s Georgia Beer Garden set for March opening

With renovations underway, the owners await final approval for their liquor license
Brandon Ley and Johnny Martinez
Brandon Ley and Johnny Martinez

Joystick Gamebar founders Brandon Ley and Johnny Martinez are just about ready to open their Georgia Beer Garden, located across the street at 420 Edgewood Avenue.

They received approval on their liquor license application from the city review board last month, and now await final approval the Fulton County Health Department and the Office of Buildings. They anticipate a soft opening in March.

“We’re getting closer and closer,” Ley said. “We’re in a good spot when it comes to the license, because that’s the part that takes up the most time. It’ll be sitting on the mayor’s desk until those other entities sign off on it.”

Joystick Gamebar brought arcade games, beer, and cocktails to Edgewood, but now they want to give the neighborhood a casual hangout to enjoy local beer and watch sports. They will only serve beer from Georgia breweries, and the food will be Southern with a German influence. Diners can expect grilled, locally sourced sausages, chicken and biscuits with schnitzel, and honey roasted peanuts.

Martinez says that opening Georgia Beer Garden has taken much longer than when he opened Joystick. One particular issue was obtaining a building permit, made more difficult by building’s age and the city’s “antiquated system for giving out building permits.”

While trying to preserve the spirit and character of the 100-year old building, they’ve uncovered a number of artifacts in the former animal hospital, such as a coal-burning stove, antique glass fuses, and fuse boxes they hope to reuse. “A lot of people would have torn the building down and built something new, and that’s just not the way we see it,” Ley said. “We do that too much in this city. I think it’s important we preserve those buildings that have some kind of character and history behind them.”