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Photos: Brewery, restaurant openings mark latest changes in redeveloping Summerhill

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At once-empty retail district, Wood’s Chapel BBQ is open, and Halfway Crooks Beer is on tap

The exterior of the brewery on Georgia Avenue has “Halfway Crooks” in bold blue letters.
The brewery is opening next to the avenue’s ice cream and coffee shop.

A century-old building on Summerhill’s long-dormant Georgia Avenue is soon to be open to craft beer drinkers—and presumably some hip-hop heads curious about its new business’s name.

Halfway Crooks Beer, a new brewery built in a weathered brick structure on the neighborhood’s fast-evolving commercial strip, is opening its doors later this month.

Curbed Atlanta got exclusive access to the adaptive-reuse project Thursday. The business is primed to welcome customers with house-made beers and an upstairs patio—complete with a retractable roof—overlooking Georgia Avenue and all its changes.

Ryan Vizzions

The name, Halfway Crooks, should strike rap fans as a nod to Mobb Deep’s famous song, “Shook Ones,” but it also pays homage to the crooks—or staffs—used by sheep herders.

The business is helmed by Shawn Bainbridge, an avid Mobb Deep listener, and Joran Van Ginderacther, a longtime brewing aficionado who grew up in Belgium on a sheep farm—hence the name.

Holden Spaht, an architect with Square Feet Studio, the design firm that tackled the project, told private party-goers Thursday, “There are a lot of references to Belgian cafes” in the new brewery.

“The grandmotherly part is intentional,” he said, nodding to the decoration help the owners received from Van Ginderacther’s grandmother, who assisted with wallpaper choices.

The upstairs patio is shaded by a retractable roof.
Ryan Vizzions

As with any aging building, 60 Georgia Avenue’s revival did not come without challenges.

The structure is now held together by new metal beams, and leaking issues were a major hurdle to overcome, Spaht said.

“But the building’s got good bones,” Bainbridge said. And, assuming they secure permits from the state soon, the business could be in full swing next week or weekend.

In addition to craft beer, Halfway Crooks will feature food by Heaps New Zealand Meat Pies, founded by Jake Harvey.

Ryan Vizzions
A new building was erected at the rear of 60 Georgia Avenue recently. It now houses the beer-making operations.
Ryan Vizzions

Halfway Crooks isn’t the only new business cropping up on the east-west thoroughfare, which runs from Georgia State Stadium—formerly Turner Field—to Grant Park, near Zoo Atlanta.

Across the street from the brewery and a block to the east, Wood’s Chapel BBQ began slinging meats, mac-and-cheese, and greens on Wednesday.

“They had run out of food by about 7:30 p.m.,” said Jack Murphy, senior director at Carter, the developer transforming areas around the stadium.

a photo of a building on Georgia Ave
Halfway Crooks’s building in August.
Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

But Summerhill is witnessing more than just a revitalizing retail scene.

A student housing complex being developed by Aspen Heights is under construction and on track to deliver before Georgia State University’s fall semester.

Every apartment there is pre-leased now, officials said.

Elsewhere, a 100-townhome community by Hedgewood Homes has broken ground and is slated to begin selling units before year’s end.

And Carter is developing a 311-unit apartment complex that’s set to launch construction this August. It’s expected to be complete by mid-2021, Murphy said.

For perspective on the previous state of Georgia Avenue, have a look at this “before” tour we published in late 2017 as part of the Visual Journeys series.