Avondale’s Elysian Gardens is SO CLOSE to opening [PHOTOS]

Elysian Gardens gate
William Colburn built the gates at Elysian Gardens. (#keldlovephotography)

Back in November 2019, Elysian Gardens won REV Birmingham’s 5th annual “Big Pitch” competition. Now, in late July or early August, Elysian Gardens will open in Avondale and we’re here for it. Keep reading for all the details. 

Here’s what you can expect at Elysian Gardens

Dogs at Elysian Gardens
Dogs are welcome at Elysian Gardens. (#keldlovephotography)

Elysian Gardens will have a quaint little garden bar, a restaurant or maybe three—all built from repurposed shipping containers, plus a small concert venue and a sculpture park. 

“What we’re going for is an art bar / sculpture park with art as the driving engine of what happens in the space. Our bar is going to be called Artifice. Our plan is to have a really good lunch area where people in the city can come to eat lunch in a nice whimsical sculpture garden. And then we want to have a great place for dinner and entertainment.”

William Colburn, Elysian Gardens

Here are the plans as they stand now: 

  • Barbecue restaurant opening around the beginning of September.
  • Another restaurant with a new chef and sous chef that will serve “fancier food” including panini sandwiches and flatbread pizzas.
  • Kitchen spaces built in 40×8 shipping containers. 
  • 14×100-foot covered patio with fans on the restaurant side. 
  • 15×50 feet of covered roof on the bar side.
  • 50×100-foot sculpture park.

Colburn built all the doors, windows and butterfly bar stools himself and loves that the place will be very dog-friendly, with almost everything outside.

Meet William Colburn

William Colburn
William Colburn winning first place at the 2021 Montevallo Art Festival. (Elysian Gardens / Facebook)

William Colburn is a renowned artist from Birmingham who spent 22 years in Fairhope before returning in 2014 to bring his own brand of magic to The Magic City. 

Colburn’s Iron Age Studio, where he made the sculptures, gates and chairs you’ll see at Elysian Gardens, is housed in a 9400-square foot 1910 building in Woodlawn where grenades were made for WWI. 

He got his start 31 years ago building furniture before moving into sculpture, and credits his former neighbor Lucy Buffet’s big brother Jimmy with planting the seed for Elysian Gardens by telling him he needed to start selling alcohol. 

Here are just a few of the people and places around the world who’ve bought Colburn’s work, including the giant metal flowers he’s known for: 

He’s done shows at the State Museum in Montgomery and sells smaller versions of his work through local garden centers like Leaf and Petal. 

After 31 years of crisscrossing the country to sell his sculptures, he’s excited to embark on this new adventure closer to home.

Elysian Gardens plans to open soon

Iron Age Studio
Getting ready for Elysian Gardens’ grand opening at Iron Age Studio in Woodlawn. (#keldlovephotography)

They still have to finish a few final details, but hope to open late July/early August, with plenty of customer parking. They’re also looking for great people to serve as bartenders, bar backs and more. 

Location: 101 40th Street S, Birmingham, AL 35222
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Reviewed by Pat Byington.

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Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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