The Atomic Lounge featured in USA Today about hospitality venues confronting COVID

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Atomic Lounge on 1st Avenue North. Photo courtesy of Magic City Dentistry

One of Birmingham’s favorite spots to grab a cocktail (or two!) was recently featured in USA Today. The owners of the bubble-blowing, costume-loving Atomic Lounge shared what it’s like owning a small business amidst a global pandemic. Let’s take a look, shall we?

“Bars are the place where that social nature gets to thrive.”

Atomic likes to keep things local. Even the cocktails are named after Birminghamians. Photo via Atomic Lounge’s Facebook

I’ll be the first to admit that the one thing I miss most about pre-COVID times is bar-hopping around Birmingham, but always ending up at The Atomic Lounge. Between the bubble machine, costume closet, jungle room and Cards Against Humanity, their eclectic atmosphere is an amazing place to be.

As COVID continues to affect local businesses and change our social habits, USA Today interviewed owners Feizal Valli and Rachel Roberts about what it’s like to own a bar now.

Bars are a place to socialize, so Atomic Lounge was asked how to be social with social distancing. Here’s what they had to say:

“My wife was checking her phone and said, ‘They just shut down Italy’. And I was like, that’s super weird.”

The Atomic Lounge owner Feizal Valli for USA Today

Do you remember that day? Little did we know we would be shutting down soon too and masks would be the hottest new accessory.

“The frustrating thing is there’s no sort of standard. Bars and restaurants have to close, but big box stores can be open.”

Here at Bham Now, we can’t stress enough how important it is to celebrate and support our local businesses. That’s why we put together a local directory with 680 shops and counting at the beginning of COVID.

“If the vaccine allows us to be social again, that’s the most important thing. Because at the end of the day, a bar is about being social.”

I couldn’t agree more! Luckily, I’ve been to The Atomic Lounge since restaurants and bars were able to open back up with COVID-precautions in place. Their unique booths allow for social distancing from other parties, plus they’ve got patio seating with a furnace. They even let us borrow a blanket.

This isn’t their first rodeo making national headlines

Atomic Lounge Birmingham
Atomic Lounge owners Rachael Roberts and Feizal Valli. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now
The Atomic Lounge were James Beard Award semifinalists for Best Bar Program
The acclaimed Southern literature magazine, Oxford American, did a story about The Atomic Lounge and owners Feizal Valli and Rachel Roberts

Give ’em a visit 🥂

How have you been supporting local businesses? Let us know on social at @BhamNow on Facebook and Instagram, or @Now_Bham on Twitter.

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Chaise Sanders
Chaise is a brunch-loving Content Producer and helps manage the Bham Now Instagram account.
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