Atlanta’s East Pole Coffee opened its second cafe this month, occupying an approximately 1,500-square-foot space in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood that by night transforms into a wine bar called Sea Legs.
The coffee shop is equipped similarly to East Pole’s original Armour location, with a custom painted La Marzocco Linea PB ABR espresso machine paired with a Mahlkönig E80 espresso grinder, a Fetco brewer for batch drip coffee, a Mazzer ZM bulk grinder and a pair of custom Marco SP9 modules for the pourover program.
While the original location shares space with the roastery, the 30-seat new location features a darker, deeper color palette for a mellower sense of intimacy, according to East Pole Co-Owner Jules Tompkins.
“From an aesthetic perspective, we view [the Armour] space as sort of the deck of the ship. It’s where the work happens, where the product is made,” Tompkins, who along with Jared Karr founded East Pole in 2015, told DCN. “It’s naturally minimalistic and feels large and spacious and open. Alternatively, we thought of our new Poncey-Highland space as sort of an interior cabin of the ship. We wanted it to feel cozier.”
The new location also takes a dramatic programming turn, closing every evening only to reopen as the Sea Legs wine bar. Tompkins said the goal was to create two distinct experiences for customers while operating in the same physical space.
“Serving wine and being open later lends itself to a different aesthetic and clientele, and we wanted to have fun with it and introduce a new name and separate branding,” said Tompkins. “Although the natural wine and specialty coffee worlds have some cultural similarities, and it could have worked to expand East Pole into a ‘coffee and wine bar’ concept, we decided to keep East Pole as a coffee-focused brand and create something new, with a slightly different vibe for the wine bar.”
The new location was previously home to a coffee business called San Francisco Coffee, although a fire that required extensive reconstruction and renovation. The long blue bar and matching wainscoting are new touches created by East Pole, as are the pendant and sconce lighting, exposed brick and concrete floor.
Roasting continues to occur in Atlanta on the company’s San Franciscan SF25 roaster. As the company continues to expand its brand and wholesale relationships in Atlanta, it’s also prepping a Birmingham, Alabama, location that is expected to open early next year.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.