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Atlanta Beltline Westside Trail’s first-ever new business is officially open

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Draft house enlivens dilapidated office building in West End

Patrons of a bar sit in an outdoor seating area.
The scene at Lean Draft House in West End on opening night Friday.
Photos courtesy of Patrick Berry

In recent years, the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail project has attracted millions in federal funding, some of the steepest property value increases in Atlanta, and an under-construction, adaptive-reuse venture that’s turning out to be a beer-brewing mecca.

And now it’s brought craft tacos, beaucoup draft beer, and some sweet-ass motorcycles.

With liquor license in hand, Lean Draft House held its much-anticipated grand opening this past weekend in a low-slung former office building that had seen better days. It was kind of a big deal.

Longtime Beltline tour guide and aficionado Angel Poventud said of the occasion: “Just to be clear, this is the first new business to open on the Westside Trail in Southwest Atlanta ever. Three miles of trail and the house is packed.”

Patrick Berry, co-chair of the Development Committee for the Westview Community Organization, concurred: “The place was packed with neighbors that came from all over Southwest Atlanta.”

The pub neighbors Gordon White Park at 600 Gordon St., near where Beltline-adjacent White Street meets Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. It’s what Lean Draft House proprietors describe as the Beltline’s 0 mile-marker.

The building’s former state.
This image: Google Maps

Offerings include craft tacos, 20 draft beers, an outdoor patio, European vintage motorcycles and apparel, and what the business’ Facebook page promises will be “some sweet bocce ball action!”

Owners made it a priority in the months before opening to hire staff from within the neighborhood, the page also specifies.

The 3,200-square-foot structure was formerly so deteriorated it was marketed as a possible teardown. “The building was falling down on one end,” Berry recalled.

Earlier this year, national brokerage Redfin anointed West End and nearby Westview as the city’s third “hottest” neighborhoods. Accordingly, gentrification concerns in the area have grown louder.

With median sales prices of $130,000, homes in the West End vicinity were fetching 100 percent of listing prices, as of January. Last month, a West End bungalow with an over-$400,000 asking price, which drew consternation on Twitter especially, closed for $20,000 over asking.

Redfin’s No. 1 hottest neighborhood, Adair Park, also just happens to front the three-mile Westside Trail.

Nonetheless, the turnout this weekend could signal that neighbors are hungry for something new, months before the Beltline’s next leg is officially unveiled.

The scene this past weekend.