By Katie Fallon
One of the mainstays of Buckhead nightlife will indeed stay as its surrounding neighbors fall by the wayside in favor of the new “Streets of Buckhead” mixed-use development.
Fadó Irish Pub, which has been in its Peachtree Road location for 11 years, will remain in the business, but by the end of the year, it is expected to move to its new location on Buckhead Avenue near the Buckhead Library.
The pub’s CEO Kieran McGill, who also counts 11 other Fadó locations throughout the country, said he first got word of the changes that were coming to the Buckhead Village in the fall of last year.
Those changes come courtesy of developer Ben Carter, whose $1.2 billion redevelopment will include two hotels, up to 1,000 residential units and 500,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Meant to mimic the pedestrian-friendly experience made famous in Beverly Hills, Cal., Boston, Mass., and Palm Beach, Fl., the “Streets of Buckhead” will span several city blocks.
McGill said Fadó originally came to Atlanta because of the busy nightlife for which Buckhead was so famous.
“What we liked about it was there were a lot of other restaurants that did well,” McGill said. “There’s a good deal of foot traffic. We like to be where there’s lots of competition.”
But when Carter told McGill of his plans, the Irishman said he liked the proposal, but had only one concern. Fadó was not prepared to be closed for an extended period of time.
“Ben Carter came in and told me his plans for the neighborhood,” McGill said. “The difficulty was we’re in the middle of it.”
Overall, McGill said he saw the new plans for Buckhead as somewhat ambitious and looked at them with some trepidation. However, he said the new life is needed for the Atlanta neighborhood.
“I think it’s going to be great for Buckhead,” he said. “The upgrades were needed. It’s very impressive.”
While Fadó is certainly in the middle of the plans, it has stayed open and will continue to do so as construction begins around it. In fact, Carter just broke ground on his development on Aug. 3. It wasn’t until a couple months ago, though, that McGill knew where the pub would move.
McGill said he is still going through the final details, but the plan is to move nearby to 279 Buckhead Avenue, which was occupied until just recently by Fish Hawk, a store specializing in fishing gear.
The new location will be slightly larger, but McGill said it will maintain the same atmosphere while including subtle changes that distinguish each Fadó.
“It’ll have its own personality,” McGill said. “We’re not trying to replicate. But it’ll have a similar feeling.”
One thing that will not change is the construction of the pub. As with the current Atlanta location, the new Fadó is being constructed in Dublin, Ireland by the Irish Pub Company. The business has built more than 400 pubs in 40 countries. The Atlanta Fadó was one of the first pubs the company built to be assembled in the United States. The new location will be transported in pieces and reassembled at its new address.
McGill said Fadó’s repeat clientele did not initially react favorably to news of the move.
“I think, initially, they were horrified,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of really loyal customers.”
But the customers should have no fear as their favorite spot to indulge in a pint of Guinness after a long day’s work or even to catch some traditional Irish music is not going away and won’t even move until the end of the year.
One customer who was afraid Fadó’s would disappear in the face of the demolitions and renovations is Matt O’Brien. O’Brien, who favors a pint of Harp to go with his fish and chips, said when he heard about the changes coming to the Buckhead Village, he feared the worst.
“I thought everything, including Fadó’s, would be going,” O’Brien said. “And then I drove by during the day not too long ago and saw they were staying open. Plus, I live in the area so the new location will be good for me too.”
O’Brien said that event though Fadó’s is technically a chain restaurant, he views it more as a friendly neighborhood pub. Similarly, McGill said he sees Fadó as somewhere between home and the office.
McGill said that when the pub makes the move late this year, he intends to minimize the gap in service between the two locations. He wants to not only minimize the inconvenience for customers, but also his staff.
“You can never be sure with construction schedules,” he said. “We intend to stay open one way or another. We have a lot of staff who’ve been with us a long time.”
In the coming months, Fadó’s regulars and newcomers alike will have no shortage of televised soccer matches, trivia nights and live music sessions to accompany their boxties, corned beef and cabbage or bangers and mash to distract them from the surrounding construction.