Owner of The Nick to replace The Atomic Lounge with a new bar called The Margaret

The Margaret
Owners of The Margaret which plans to open before Christmas 2021. (L to R) Jess Welling, Pam Stallings and Theresa Holloway Cottrell . Photo by Leigh Ann Edmonds

It’s official. Pam Stallings, owner of The Nick, and a couple of her friends who have worked at the legendary bar are opening a new bar called The Margaret — replacing The Atomic Bar and Lounge in downtown Birmingham. 

On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council approved a new liquor license for The Margaret. The bar, which is on the corner of 21st Street and 1st Avenue North (2113 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203), plans to open before Christmas.

The Name

The Margaret
The Margaret Bar. 1st Ave N. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now.

Stallings and her two friends Jess Welling and Theresa Holloway Cottrell named the incoming neighborhood bar after Stallings’ mother who passed away in 2020.

“My mom was a great businesswoman in a male dominated world,” said Stallings. “She was successful with honor and integrity without stomping on others.”

Much like The Atomic Lounge, the new bar will be eclectic and funky in its own way. For example, expect the focal decor to be  chandeliers… Yes, chandeliers!

“This is how we decided to honor Pam’s mom,” Cottrell told Bham Now in a recent interview. “She always had a sparkle in her eyes and was a lot of fun to be around. That’s what we want The Margaret to be, a reflection of Margaret.”

What to Expect

As owner of The Nick for three decades, Stallings is excited to expand downtown.


“Why do I want to open a bar downtown when I already have the best bar in town?” she said. “I am excited about what is happening with the growth downtown, but there is something missing – a fun, comfortable bar where I can hang with friends that’s not too stuffy. The Margaret will be that place where people can watch a game, get a cold beer and a shot,” according to Stallings.

Meant to Be

Atomic Lounge and Bar mural. Pam Stallings in the front row wearing yellow.. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

 Even though folks around town still miss The Atomic Lounge — we can’t wait to see The Margaret with its chandeliers and all. 

Perhaps, The Margaret replacing The Atomic Lounge was meant to be.  Remember the Sgt. Pepper-like mural with Birmingham dignitaries? Pam Stallings was on the front row. 

Welcome back to the neighborhood — Pam, Jess and Theresa!

Tell us your favorite stories about The Nick and The Atomic Lounge. Tag us on social media at @bhamnow.com

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2369