Amer’s fresh take on cocktail hour

How owner Brian Lewis is putting a fresh spin on cocktail hour at his Inman Park concept, billed as upscale casual, without the fuss.

What was the inspiration behind opening a cocktail-specific concept?
When we initially started thinking about this space, it was about taking the beverage program from Bocado and putting it in its own unit. Also, I think it was just traveling and seeing places in New York that were like-minded in terms of the things that they put together. We wanted to bring an element of that to Atlanta but do it in our own style. I think it’s an extension of our own brand.

Tell us more about how branding played a role in the creation of amer.
I would say it’s upscale casual, without the fuss. It’s technical, but you can come as you are. We want to give you the experience of knowing that we’re producing excellent food and drinks, but we’re not bragging about it; it kind of speaks for itself. I mean, you walk through the door, and I think one thing we’ve done well is that people know what we are and what we’re about. That’s a challenging design piece to have that sense of understanding of what we are.

How did you translate that mindset into design?
Our cocktails are bitter-focused. The name Amer itself is inspired by the French word for bitter. The color scheme is drawn from the labels of our bottles and the rich tones of the bitters themselves. The blue is very Italian, and it’s kind of a modern style, with brighter, bolder colors on the exterior and darker, deeper blues inside.

What sort of atmosphere did you envision?
I think it’s a much more intimate experience. It’s a very technical beverage program and a thoughtful kitchen, but it’s presented in a way where it can be that neighborhood watering hole.

What fresh spin is amer bringing to the Atlanta scene?
We want to be a true cocktail bar for the city, and I think it’s going to be that special spot for Atlanta, especially with the volume of our menu. It’s an intense cocktail program that we’re excited to present. We’re excited to serve this community; I think they’ve been waiting for us for a long time.