THEJust over a week after opening in a corner of Market Square Tower, the Georgia James Tavern was teeming with packed tables, both on the intimate patio and in the sophisticated pub-style interiors. The bar was packed as adventurers sampled a plethora of creative cocktails. Simply put, the place was rocking.

This mini-me version of Underbelly Hospitality’s famed Georgia James Steakhouse delivers on its promises with a solid menu and wine list sophisticated enough to appeal to discerning diners and friendly enough to invite a younger contingent who may not have. the big wallet required for the best steakhouses in town. .

“I love Georgia James,” says chef / owner Chris Shepherd. “But I understand that this is not a restaurant that most people can visit on a daily or even weekly basis. The Georgia James Tavern is designed to be a place our customers want – and can – eat every day. “

Indeed, the most expensive wine by the glass costs $ 13. Menu items hover at $ 25 or less with a huge selection of sandwiches and salads. But if you fancy a cast iron seared Wagyu rib eye, it can be yours for $ 85. (You can view the menu here.)

Handmade, Moroccan-made zellige tiles line the back bar of the Georgia James Tavern which opened last week in the Market Square Tower. (Photo by Claudia Casbarian)

We rested on this weekday night tour, starting with the ever popular baked chilli cheese with country ham and toast tips. It was one of the most popular dishes when Shepherd and Chef Matthew “Tally” Coburn served it at the Georgia James Tavern pop-up restaurant earlier this summer. Be forewarned, this is a decadent feast in itself, a feast to be shared and one that lives up to the hype.

We sampled the warm spinach salad, a winner, and ordered the hearth-roasted oysters – yes, indeed – and the ham-brined Berkshire pork chop served over poblano cheese oatmeal and topped with an almond sauce. star mushrooms. Delicious.

We just didn’t have room to try Chef Tally’s Cuban Mojo Pork and Smoked Ham Sandwich with Swiss, Pickles, Yucca Fritta, and Island Sauce. On our next visit as there will surely be one as the vibe alone is pretty cool for a comeback.

The intimate scale and nod to old Hollywood with a nod to the high-rise building’s Art Deco architectural theme create an inviting mix. The tavern can accommodate 36 people for indoor dining and 10 additional seats for bar stools and 40 on the outdoor patio. We snuggled up in a tufted leather banquette in a corner that offered a full view of the comings and goings and the decor. Marquee-style lights around the bar, vintage-inspired mouth-blown glass wall sconces, and hand-dipped marbled silk drapery panels add to the alluring ambiance. Congratulations to Nest Interior Design Group.

“A tavern is a place where people can gather, drink and eat,” Chef Tally said in a statement on opening day. “We want to create a sense of community with this restaurant that is strengthened by our relationships with local farmers and ranchers, and the simple, technically oriented menu will reflect those relationships.

“My goal is for our customers to feel the culture we create from the moment they walk in the door. “

What they will feel is a welcome dynamism enhanced by the aromas that escape from the kitchen.

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