Polaris, the legendary rotating restaurant and lounge under the blue dome atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel, will reopen to the public on June 10. The restaurant, accessed by the lobby’s glass elevators, has been closed for a decade.
Conceived by architect John C. Portman, Jr., Polaris is one of Atlanta’s most recognized landmarks. It was Atlanta’s first rotating restaurant when it opened in 1967, and quickly became a symbol of the fast-growing city, featured on souvenirs, postcards and murals.
The Johnson Studio re-imagined the space with four sections, each loosely based on the home – an open dining room with an inviting, communal table, a sumptuous living room, a clubby library, and the dazzling bar. And, just as it did in 1967, Polaris will rotate once every 45 minutes.
Executive Chef Martin Pfefferkorn will lead the kitchen at the new Polaris. The debut menu will feature tributes to classic dishes such as a deconstructed Maine lobster cocktail; Steak Oscar (locally raised beef filet topped with asparagus, crab and béarnaise sauce); braised veal cheeks; and rabbit sausage with quail eggs. Polaris will source high quality, “soil to city” ingredients from local purveyors, as well as produce from the hotel’s rooftop garden.
Visible from the restaurant, the Polaris Rooftop Bee Garden features homegrown tomatoes, herbs, peppers and other produce, ingredients that will be served in Polaris’ plates and cocktails. The garden also grows flowers, seasonal plants and the only peach tree on Peachtree Street.
But the garden’s most interesting features are its bees. Chef Pfefferkorn tends two hives of more than 10,000 honey bees in the rooftop garden, busy insects producing several gallons of fresh honey to be served in Polaris and sold in the hotel’s gift shop. The bees, which were rescued from a truck accident, came to the hotel through an ongoing partnership with the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta beverage director Mehdi Natanzi heads the Polaris mixology program. The cocktail menu will celebrate the golden age of spirits, from stiff old fashioneds and dry Manhattans, to mint grasshoppers and tart gimlets, rickeys and tonics – all served in a menagerie of vintage glassware. And the new Polaris will present a modern version of its throwback signature drink, the peach daiquiri.
Behind the bar, Natanzi has assembled a collection of one-of-a-kind, small batch spirits and the restaurant’s very own barrel of “Polaris Bourbon,” through a partnership with Elijah Craig, the award winning Kentucky distillery.
Polaris will be open Tuesday through Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The restaurant will not take reservations. For more, visit facebook.com/PolarisAtlanta.