With its mini-theme park and beer garden, Ponce City Market’s rooftop buzzes with activity, and now the newly renovated tower, jutting up from its north side, is home to a fresh collection of bars, lounges, and meeting and event space.
Run by Slater Hospitality, which also controls the other rooftop attractions—Nine Mile Station, Skyline Park, etc.—the three-and-a-half-story tower project was officially unveiled this week as RFD Social.
The name is derived from a 1920s radio broadcast: Dinner Bell Radio Farmer’s Democracy.
Inside RFD Social, the remnants of the old Sears & Roebuck tower—mostly structural—are complemented by Roaring Twenties-style accouterments, such as decades-old radios and parlor games.
Dallas Pettis, Slater’s director of operations, told Curbed Atlanta his team aimed to mimic Jamestown Properties’s successes in keeping the historic fabric of the Sears distribution center.
“When we learned about the RFD radio show in the tower, we thought that was a cool little name to bring that history back to life,” he said. “It looked like an empty concrete box when we took it over.”
The walls, flooring, and some ceilings are new, while the windows, columns, and some brickwork dates back to the building’s 1926 origins. As RFD Social, the concept now inhabits the 10th, 11th, and 12th floors of the tower.
But don’t sleep on floor 10.5. That’s where the complex’s main bar and lounge is situated. And just outside that, find a lofty gathering space by the elevators. (The 10th floor holds the catering kitchen.)
Up a (half) floor on level 11 is an event space, replete with a small bar. Venture a bit further into the 11th floor to spy another highbrow hangout and some conference space.
On the penthouse level, Slater representatives surprised grand opening visitors with yet another swanky bar and lounge—accessible only by stairwell. Photography, however, was not allowed up there.
RFD Social has been billed as the final addition to Ponce City Market’s rooftop, although development plans for a second phase show vacant roof space that must be appealing.
The tower component is open, like Skyline Park, seven days a week, as early as 11 a.m. (on Saturdays) and as late as 11 p.m. It’s $10 for the day to ride up the old freight elevator and access the tower and amusement park.
Take a virtual walkthrough with these photos: