Atlanta’s Pullman Yards serves up 'spirits' of past and present

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when Atlanta’s Pullman Yards was hiding in plain sight.

"People, if they knew it at all, only knew it as that place that had fence around it and barbed wire," says Atomic Entertainment founder Adam Rosenfelt. "Almost Willy Wonka-ish: ’What is going on back there?'"

The answer? A lot. 

Pullman Yards is a 27-acre historic site in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood. Now known as an entertainment destination, the first three of its buildings date back to 1904, when they were built by a company called Pratt Engineering.

"They were building fertilizer bombs for World War I; they trademarked a liquid carbon dioxide product that they sold to Coca-Cola," says Rosenfelt.

Then came the Roaring 20s — and the roar was literal. Railroad car manufacturer The Pullman Company took over the property in the 1920s, using it to repair its renowned luxury train cars. Today, Pullman is most remembered for its history-making network of Porters. 

"They were originally all ex-slaves, and for much of the history exclusively Black men," Rosenfelt explains. "Ultimately, the Porters were organized by…a Civil Rights activist named A. Philip Randolph, who helped organize the Porters into the first organized African American labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters."

After a period of abandonment, Adam Rosenfelt’s Atomic Entertainment bought Pullman Yards in 2017, with a goal of creating an eclectic arts and entertainment district featuring live music, dining, revolving immersive experiences, and regular events. The latest addition is AlcoHall, which Rosenfelt calls "the first food hall devoted to alcohol."

The name has a double meaning, by the way: Alco was the American Locomotive Company. It’s a playful nod to the past, in a place where the spirit of American progress is served up as easily as those spirits aged in a barrel. 

AlcoHall is open Wednesdays through Fridays starting at 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays starting at 1 p.m. — for more information and to check out upcoming special events, click here.