Love at First Sight
The Porter Beer Bar opened in September 2008, fulfilling a long-time dream of owners Molly Gunn and Nick Rutherford. Engaged at the time of The Porter’s opening and married in October 2008, the couple met at Seeger’s, the now defunct five star restaurant in Buckhead. “While we had always worked in fine dining, when it came to our own place, we wanted something more casual, where people could come in once a week instead of once a year,” said Molly. “We only live two blocks away, so when we found this space, it was love at first sight.” Located in the heart of Little Five Points, this cozy restaurant with its hand-crafted wooden booths and exposed brick wall is the perfect place for a casual dinner of gourmet pub grub and a few glasses of one of the 44 beers on draft (including two hand pumps) or one of the 700 bottled beers available. The beer list is only micro-brews and small imports, offering pours not available at most local bars. The constantly changing specials page is where Chef Nick struts his stuff, with dishes such as Painted Hills Steak Tartare and Florida Corn Agnolotti. The regular menu reflects more traditional bar food made with fresh ingredients and new twists. Since its opening, The Porter has been consistently listed among the top ten beer bars in the world by ratebeer.com. The Porter had also been named “Best New Pub” and “Best Beer Haunt” by Atlanta Magazine. Nick Rutherford has been called a “future super star chef” by the Atlanta Journal Constitution with food critic John Kessler raving, “The daily specials list features some of the most exciting, original fare in the city.” Read more press and reviews >>
Nick Rutherford started out in Seattle, Washington where he earned his culinary degree from the Art Institute of Seattle. From Seattle, he traveled across the country to work at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City. He was then recruited to work for internationally renowned chef Guenter Seeger in Atlanta and was Guenter’s sous chef. Nick and future wife/Porter Beer Bar co-owner Molly Gunn met while working at Seeger’s, and then both worked at Quinones at Bacchanalia, Nick as the Chef de Cuisine and Molly as a captain on the floor. Next, Nick opened The Chocolate Bar in Decatur with his friend Aaron Russell who had been the pastry chef at Seeger’s. Currently, Nick is co-owner, executive chef, vintage list curator and the ultimate handyman around The Porter Beer Bar.
Molly Gunn was born and raised in Atlanta, and her first restaurant job was at Babette’s Cafe on Highland Ave, where she bussed tables. She received a BA in cultural anthropology from University of Pennsylvania in 2003 and worked in the restaurant business in Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Boston before returning to Atlanta in 2005. It was always Molly’s dream to open her own restaurant, and upon returning to hometown Atlanta, she set to work writing a business plan, trying to find a space and raise capital. Meanwhile, she worked at Seeger’s, Bacchanalia and then for the Flying Biscuit. When she and Nick stumbled across The Porter’s future location in Little Five Points, she convinced Nick help her make the dream come true. Three short months after signing the lease, The Porter Beer Bar opened in September 2008. Molly oversees the beer list with Nick, along with marketing, accounting, hr, service and general herding of the cats.
Dale Ralston is from Atlanta and started as one of The Porter’s original servers, but she has been a manager since December 2008. One of the many things she has learned about beer since she started at The Porter is that if the beer is around 7% alcohol, there’s a decent chance she’ll like it. Beers seem so well-balanced at that percentage, and none more so than one of Dale’s faves, Hitachino Japanese Classic. Someday she’ll incorporate the knowledge she’s gained here at The Porter into opening a bakery-jazz-club-joint with her husband in Mexico.
Justin Wickline is our butt kickin’ bar manager. He can pour beer, talk sports, clear your plate and recite better poetry than Street Poet, all at the same time. Justin is one of the Porter’s original bartenders and every day he works at The Porter, The Porter is a better place because of it.
Joe hails from New Jersey and has worked at some of the best beer spots in the state. Joe was the Brewmaster at the on-premise brew spot The Brewer’s Apprentice, as well as the Bar Manager of Maloney’s Pub. Joe has been home brewing for 8 years and loves to drink every kind of beer, but since moving to the south he’s developed an affection for sours for the hot summer months. Joe had been a manager with us since September 2012.
Christopher Sanders comes to us from Knoxville Tennesee via Arizona, an unusual route to be sure! We stole Chris away from Radial Cafe, which wasn’t hard since they didn’t have beer and Chris is a true beer lover. IPAs are his go-to and he’s a self proclaimed “Mikkeller Freak” which made us love him even more. Chris has been a manager with us since November 2010.
Mary Lin Elementary
Mary Lin Elementary School is one of the Atlanta Public School district’s shining examples of student success. Located in the Candler Park neighborhood just 2 miles from downtown Atlanta, its students live in the neighborhoods of Inman Park, Lake Claire, and Candler Park. In partnership with the community, the school’s mission is to nurture children in a joyful and safe environment. The Porter Beer Bar is proud to be a Silver-level community sponsor of Mary Lin Elementary.
Georgia Organics is a member-supported non-profit organization working to integrate healthy, sustainable and locally grown food into the lives of all Georgians. Georgia Organics envisions sustainable, organic and local food transforming our communities to be more healthy, secure and economically-viable. Together, growers, consumers, rural counties, and urban communities unite to embrace the health and heritage of land and people through the cultivation and celebration of food. The Porter Beer Bar is a member and supporter of Georgia Organics; and is delighted to be part of the network of farms, markets and businesses that support sustainable foods and farms in Georgia.
Founded in 1995, Dad’s Garage Theatre has grown from a small volunteer led organization to a thriving mid-size theatre led by professional artistic and administrative staff. The family at Dad’s now includes over 300 volunteers and performers. Entertaining more than 30,000 people a year, Dad’s is dedicated to producing outrageous original work with innovative world premieres. Dad’s Garage produces 52 weeks per year with improv shows every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The Porter Beer Bar is a proud community sponsor of Dad’s Garage. Join the theatre after their 8pm opening nights for a party at The Porter!
Southern Foodways Alliance
The Southern Foodways Alliance is a member-supported organization that documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. SFA stages symposia on food culture, produces documentary films, publish compendiums of great writing, and preserves, promotes, and chronicles our region’s culinary standard bearers – from white tablecloth chefs to fried chicken cooks, barbecue pitmasters and peanut farmers. The Porter Beer Bar supports the SFA in its mission and is pleased to be a corporate sponsor assisting them in their continued excellence.