A 15,000-square-foot former warehouse in Chamblee, the newly opened Distillery of Modern Art (DOMA) is a unique concept: part gallery, part distillery, and part cocktail lounge. There’s a private events space, too.
Founded by Seth Watson, who has 20-plus years of experience in design and event production, DOMA makes and serves peach vodka, regular vodka, bourbon whiskey, and rye whiskey. Amaro and corn whiskey will launch soon, and gin will be ready in late July. These spirits are included as tastes on the distillery tour ($15 per person) or in cocktails at the bar. Many of them are also sold in local liquor stores.
“I wanted to create something of my own,” Watson says. “My idea was to build a venue and marry what I knew (events) with my passion (spirits).”
He traveled the country, visiting 70 or 80 distilleries to learn the craft. Then he found local artists, including Rupal Mamtani and Jen Boaz, to showcase their pieces on the walls at DOMA. Other artists, such as Xie Caomi, Juliana Lupacchino, and Josh Jalbert, show off their spirit-inspired designs on the liquor bottles.
“Modern art speaks to me. I associate the subjectivity of art with the subjectivity of spirits,” Watson says. “I want this to be an elevated experience, detail-focused down to how the lights hit the floor.”
The focal point of the space may be a 30-foot copper pot handcrafted in Kentucky, but murals and paintings abound. Artists in residency will change every month or two, so there’s always something new to see. The same goes for the cocktails, created by consultant Jeff Banks, a former bartender at the Luminary and Watchman’s.
“Everything is meant to create something from your mind, be it a visual, taste, or smell,” Watson says. “Even the inside of the [liquor] bottles have art.”
Those interested in the distilling process can learn from head distiller Matt Greif. All milling is done in house, and a garden is planned to enable guests to pull herbs and botanicals for beverages.
Visitors can stop by the bar Thursday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m. for cocktail service. There are 15 seats at the bar, plus 40 nearby and another 35 on the covered patio. Options include the Marg (vodka, lime, green pepper, and fermented pineapple), NYC Sour (rye, lemon, almond, black pepper, and cherry), and “Beer” (rye, hops, and club soda).
Watson is busy lining up chef pop-ups and food trucks, but for the moment, bar snacks are limited to Spotter Trotter charcuterie and Jardi chocolates. Soon, DOMA will offer cocktail classes, comedy nights, and feature live music on weekends.
“My goal is to create something affordable, approachable, and absolutely elevated,” Watson says. “It just really ballooned. There’s so much to do and see.”