Strangers in Paradise, from the Ladybird team, transports guests to the beachside resorts of the late ‘80s

The kitschy bar will anchor Lee + White's food hall along the BeltLine in West End

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Inside Strangers in Paradise

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Michael Lennox and his Electric Hospitality team know what it takes to make a BeltLine bar a success. Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall has been attracting a crowd since it opened a decade ago, and more recently, revelers have been flocking to upstairs drinkery Ranger Station, enticed by its potent cocktails and clever theme. On May 17, Lennox, who also owns Mexican coffee spot Muchacho, will launch a new bar—this one anchoring the Lee + White food hall in West End.

With the BeltLine running right behind it, Lennox knew the concept would need to appeal to a daytime crowd, as well as evening. Called Strangers in Paradise, it transports guests back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, taking them to a resort bar, perhaps somewhere in South Florida. The result is a tongue-in-cheek experience that leans tiki, while winking at the popular reference to the BeltLine as Atlanta’s waterfront.

“Mothership in San Diego offers an intergalactic take on a tiki bar. Boat Drinks in St. Augustine puts a playful spin on—what else?—boat drinks,” Lennox says. “We thought it’d be fun to play around with the resort drink universe, where people are trying to escape their day-to-day lives. These are juice-forward, colorful drinks.”

The Cabana Sunset is made with gin, tarragon, strawberry, amari, and lemon.

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

The 1,200-square-foot space features two small areas set up like living rooms and a bar that seats 24. Pink leather couches offer space to lounge with plantation shutters separating Strangers in Paradise from the rest of the food hall. Hundreds of old-school postcards function as wallpaper behind the bar, surrounding a neon-lit alligator sign. Need another reminder you’ve left the Peach State? Flamingo motifs abound, including in the form of a ceramic mug serving the “Pink Flamingo” cocktail (prosecco, aperol, watermelon nectar, and lemon). Plants surround the space, and a garage door opens onto a covered patio with a ramp to the BeltLine. The decor is thrifted, much of it hand-picked by Lennox, with souvenir cups lining the walls. Expect an upbeat yet nostalgic soundtrack featuring 30 hours of curated ’80s, classic rock, pop, new wave, and the occasional reggae and Harry Belafonte. Old Florida indeed.

“We’re not taking ourselves too seriously. It should be a laid back, celebratory, fun hangout,” Lennox says.

The Sailor’s Tan is comprised of Citron vodka, limoncello, and muddled mint.

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

There will be five frozen drinks and 12 specialty cocktails, including “Cabana Sunset” (gin, tarragon, strawberry, lemon, and amari) and “Hawaiian Shirt Night” (bourbon, tiki bitters, coffee liqueur, and banana). “Shark Bite,” made with blanco tequila, prickly pear, lemon, and Don’s Spice, comes in a shark-shaped cup with a straw spouting out the open mouth. Shooters include “Guy in the Red Speedo” (vodka, lemon, and cranberry with a sugared rim) and “Lost Luggage” (coffee liqueur, Bailey’s, and whipped cream). “We’re garnishing the daylights out of all the cocktails to give them a lot of color and personality—dressing them up,” Lennox says.

The Shark Bite features blanco tequila, prickly pear, Don’s Spice, and lemon.

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Dancing in the Moonlight is made from vodka, Prosecco, blackberry jam, and lemon.

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Shortly after launch, Strangers in Paradise will begin offering a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” cocktail served in a fishbowl designed to look like a cheeseburger, complete with lettuce, tomato, and a sesame seed bun! A cheeky homage to Jimmy Buffett, it’ll come with great fanfare, including kazoos, sunglasses, leis, flashing lights, and a snippet of the Jimmy Buffett song playing throughout the bar. “We may take a Polaroid for posterity’s sake and generally turn it into a memorable spectacle,” Lennox says.

Although the focus is cocktails, select beer and wine options will be available, including limited-release brews on tap from neighbors Wild Heaven and Monday Night Brewing, plus Red Stripe and Modelo. Since Strangers in Paradise is in a food hall, no food will be sold in the bar.

The bar

Courtesy of Michael Lennox

Courtesy of Michael Lennox

Check out the menu below.

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