Lingering Shade Social Club hopes to grow the nightlife along the BeltLine

Irwin Street Market lounge plans for a late June opening

Logo by Tracy Stalling

Lingering Shade Social Club is taking over the Irwin Street Market space once home to Hilda’s along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Set to open in June, it will serve classic cocktails, local beer, and a variety of wine, alongside Southern appetizers, to the 21-and-up crowd. Owned and operated by accountant Lewis Jeffries, an Old Fourth Ward native, Lingering Shade will target the middle-aged demographic who enjoy before-and-after-dinner drinks.

“I’m trying to figure out how to get more nightlife on the BeltLine before or after dinner, but runners and dog-walkers are welcome, too,” he says.

He describes the concept as a “speakeasy, a throwback to the classic cocktail lounge.” It will offer six to eight seasonal cocktails, as well as two dozen wines by the bottle and the glass. “Think Frank Sinatra on the upscale end,” he says. The featured cocktail will be Dirty Little Nuts, a take on a dirty martini made with boiled peanut brine.

The wine will be organic when possible and sourced from Spain, France, California, and South Africa. Reds will be served at “cave temperature” (55-60 degrees Fahrenheit) to be more appealing in the summer heat. There will be eight beers on tap, including options from Creature Comforts, Orpheus, and Monday Night Brewing.

Food will be small plate-focused with items such as chicken liver mousse, deviled eggs, pimento cheese crab dip, and onion dip. Boiled peanuts will be available on the weekends, and Jeffries says he will consider adding brunch in the fall.

“As an accountant, I’ve had 80-85 restaurants and bar clients so I know what to do and not do. The space became available—an ideal location on the BeltLine—and I thought ‘why not do this?’”

Jeffries is completely renovating the space to feature glass, roll-up garage doors facing the BeltLine, and French doors along Irwin Street, with fireplaces both indoors and out. There will be whitewashed walls, a stone bar, gold-brushed fixtures, and a dog-friendly patio. The space will accommodate 300 people, but table service will only be offered on the weekends.

As to why Jeffries thinks he can succeed in a space where several others have failed: “I signed a 10-year lease. I’m committed to being there. I was born in the area so it’s sort of like being home,” he says.