How Atlanta’s Supply & Demand Deals with Selective Membership

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(image: Sara Hana)

Atlanta has long been home to many universities whose recent graduates sometimes treat their stomping grounds like an extended fraternity party. This was the reason that operating partner David Reed decided to have an age cutoff and dress code for admission into his Supply & Demand bar, opened in October of last year.

It’s a new take on selective membership. When the partners came up with the age limit, the idea was not that of a traditional speakeasy in limiting the customer base to hipsters and familiar faces but forging new territory in a drinks market that clearly calls for it, as the baseball-hat-on-backward look was not sitting well with Reed.

David Reed (image: Jim Petersen)

Most men in their twenties, he shared, seem to turn the fashion corner around age 25, so the partners hoped the cutoff would discourage them from bringing beer cozies to a bar. “It’s a milestone birthday, particularly for males and a nice solid number,” he says.

The door policy is more focused on dress and attitude than age, and Reed makes exceptions if 24-and-a-half year-olds show up elegantly dressed and not part of a male posse. If potential customers are gracious but not properly attired, he also frequently invites them back and offers them a bottle of Champagne as a way to forge a future relationship.

Yen Investment

Reed and his partner, Brandon Lewis, wanted to create an intimate Northeast-inspired cocktail room. The space is small, and the bar’s opening has been welcomed by a diverse demographic of well-heeled locals. Reed says turning away some of the under-25-year-old guests can also create a sense of “mystery for them.”

The drink selection changes regularly and has banking-themed drinks, such as the Yen Investment, made with Nikka pure malt whisky, China-China, Campari, lemon juice, simple syrup and orange zest; the Gordon Gecko, made with Rittenhouse rye, Cynar and mole bitters; and the Opening Bell, which is a riff on a Manhattan. One of Reed’s own creations is the Bull Market, made with Los Nahuales mezcal, lemon and agave nectar, and crème de violette.

Bull Market

“We are kinda playing tongue-in-cheek off this Wall Street greed and culture in naming cocktails at Supply & Demand—so memorable names that fit the concept. Every bartender contributes to the menu. It’s very collaborative and team-effort. If the drink on the menu gets ordered, it stays,” says Reed.

Individual bartenders are credited for their drinks, and the bar also features cocktails to share, called Vesseled Cocktails. Currently featured is the A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing, made with Old Forester bourbon, mint syrup, grapefruit juice, seltzer and Angostura bitters. It serves four to eight guests and is priced at $110.

Locations: Atlanta
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