Growing up in the South, it was never lost on me that we were surrounded by some of the best seafood in the country. With the South being a region where all but two states have a coast connected to the ocean, everything from oysters to shrimp to freshly caught fish were on most menus. Those two states without a coast hug the Mississippi River on either side, which almost feels like a vast sea in some areas. Finding seafood in this wonderful region is not hard, but finding it where it’s procured with a focus on sustainability, well that would make it a place to seek out.
Watchman’s, a seafood restaurant and cocktail bar from the team behind the city’s acclaimed Kimball House, is located in the vibrant Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta, GA within Krog Street Market. They maintain an exclusive focus on sustainable Southern seafood, with particular emphasis on products sourced from the Gulf of Mexico, and menus change regularly to reflect the flavors and availability of the seasons. The men and women that farm and fish the Gulf are its greatest stewards, and Watchman’s draws its name from those who monitor the well-being of Southern estuaries, watching over oysters as they grow from seed to harvest. With airy and bright interiors designed in tandem with Atlanta-based design team Square Feet Studio, Watchman’s aims to evoke a coastal vibe that’s both modern and approachable for all seasons.
“The Watchman’s space had previously been another restaurant, and for simplicity, we maintained the existing locations for main bar, oyster bar, and kitchen, while extensively reworking all finishes, casework, lighting, paneling, and equipment,” share Miles Macquarrie, one of the owners, along with Jesse Smith, Bryan Rackley, and Matt Christison. “Our goal was for the main bar area to have its own distinctive feel while still complementing the brighter dining room. A new skylight within a coffered ceiling allows for daylight to come in via sawtooth windows in the 100-year-old structure above, and acoustical panels fit within the coffers seamlessly. Pink and green cement tile floors in the bar transition to warm heart pine floors in the dining room. The same heart pine in a herringbone pattern creates sturdy countertops throughout Watchman’s.” Lush greenery hangs from the steel ceiling structure over the dining room. The plants bring in a beautiful, natural element while also providing acoustics through the sound-muffling foam located within each planter. To continue the feel of the coastal vibe, the patio is accented with blue and white striped draperies. Dive in below to escape to the coast without ever leaving the city in this stunningly designed space. Enjoy! —Erin
Image above: The tile and lighting on the back bar are intended to give a similar aesthetic to a Florida swimming pool at night, when the light glows on colored tile.