Entertainment venue at Battery to mix sports, fine dining, bull riding

Right now, Live! at the Battery at SunTrust Park is full of dozens of people in hard hats working with power tools. The 40,000-square-foot complex echoes with buzzing saws and slamming hammers, but when Director of Operations Ben Brengle walks through the door, he sees people eating, drinking and making merry.

The current construction site will soon be the home to 10 bars serving 40 beers out of 130 taps in three different venues, a mechanical bull and food by celebrity chef Todd English. It will have a capacity of between 1,500 and 2,000 people and a seating capacity of between 700 and 800.

If you walk through the main entrance and make a right, you will be in Sports & Social, described as a “two-story sports venue” by Brengle.

“We don’t call it a sports bar because it’s just so much more,” Brengle said. “We do a lot of pre-game, in-game and post-game activation. We like to say it’s the closest thing to being in the stadium without buying a ticket.”

During games, fans will be able to watch the action on a 40-foot big-screen TV, which will be surrounded by six 90-inch TVs. About 30 75-inch screens will be available throughout the complex.

Most of those televisions will be tuned to the Braves on game day.

“But just like any other sports fan, if you want to watch the Alabama game and there are some other people who want to do it, we’ll change the channel and we’ll be accommodating to what you want,” Brengle said. “Obviously the Braves are our priority. We want to be with the home team, as well as with the Falcons, the Hawks and the Bulldogs.”

In addition to watching the home team, fans may have the chance to watch themselves on the big screen.

“We don’t play commercials,” Brengle said. “So when it comes time to cut to a commercial, we do our own production in-house. We do our own kiss cams, we do our own seventh-inning stretches. We do a lot of different things in-house.”Brengle said the menu will feature upscale versions of bar food classics, like phyllo cheesecake rolls, beef brisket burgers and chicken-bacon macaroni and cheese.

The top floor of Sports & Social will feature a plethora of games like ski ball and ping pong. It also includes a stage for live performances.

Brengle said Sports & Social will be the biggest and highest-energy concept in the place.

“While we’re the anchor tenant of the Battery, Sports and Social is the anchor of our district,” he said. “Everything is going to feed from this.”

TODD ENGLISH TAVERN

One concept with more of a laid-back vibe will be Todd English Tavern, named after the Atlanta-native celebrity chef. You get there by taking a left at the entrance.

“It’s going to be a really nice tavern feel,” Brengle said. “It’s not fine dining, it’s an upscale tavern. It’s going to be that dark wood, that brick feel as you go through.”

The music will be a lower volume in the tavern, and there will be a big fireplace in the back.

The centerpiece of the tavern will be an open kitchen with a large grill.

“You can sit right here at the kitchen, eat, talk with the chefs, discuss some of the products they’re using and watch them cook right here,” Brengle said. “That’s going to be one of the best aspects of Todd English Tavern.”

Some of the items diners can watch the chefs cook include duck prosciutto flatbread, specialty meats, an oyster po’boy on corn pone bread and squash macaroni and cheese.

Those items may not be around for long, however.

“The menu’s going to be revolving,” Brengle said. “We’re going to do the first menu, we’re going to have a couple months with it, and then we’re constantly going to be changing in fresh items and new things that we want, whether it’s seasonal, whether it’s cultural to Atlanta. We just want to get our feet wet and see how people like it.”

PBR BAR & GRILL

Upstairs from the entrance, above Todd English Tavern, will be PBR Bar & Grill, named after Professional Bull Riders. The centerpiece of that venue will be a mechanical bull for customers to try to ride. Brengle said PBR will be inspired by country music, but jukebox will not be solely country.

“It’s going to be a blend between country, top 40, female-friendly, old-school hits that you all kind of know and love,” he said. “It’s going to be a really dynamic blend of music upstairs. It won’t be 100 percent country, it won’t be honky-tonk. It will be very energetic and fun.”

If PBR gets to be too much, there is a place next door to chill out called Coors Banquet.

“If you want to take a breather you can head into Coors Banquet, you’ll see darker wood, leather, booth seating up against the bookcase,” Brengle said. “This is going to be a breath of fresh air if you’re having too much fun at PBR and need to step out.”

On non-game days, Brengle said Live! will drum up business with occasional festivals in the plaza in front of SunTrust Park. He also said he expects college football to bring in a good deal of business.

“We will not be taking reservations on game days,” he said. “We like to just do first come first served, that way it’s fair for everybody. As far as non-game days, we do accept reservations. As for the level of demand for those reservations, we’re going to find out. We’re going to find out what the Atlanta market brings to the table. We fully expect we’ll be packed.”

Brengle said there has been no announcement of Live!’s grand opening, but they are on schedule to open before the Braves take the field April 14.

“We’re cutting it close, like everybody else, but we’re confident we’re going to produce, and the Braves are as well,” he said.

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