A CONNOISSEUR’S COFFEEHOUSE
Byline: Tami Hardeman
Ambassador to the Good Life may be a lofty title for some, but Sam Yi is glad to fill the position.
Yi has been in the restaurant business for over 10 years. After spending 5 at other upscale coffeehouses throughout the city, he felt the time had come to pursue his dream of opening his own.
Combining his two passions, Churchill cigars and coffee grounds, Yi came up with the idea for Churchill Grounds, which he opened in 1997.
Although coffee is one of its specialties, Yi is quick to point out that Churchill Grounds isn’t a run-of-the-mill coffeehouse.
“The market for coffeehouses is so saturated that I didn’t want Churchill Grounds to be all about coffee. We have only the best here. The finest spirits, some of the best jazz music in the city — and yes, we have good coffee, too. I am a connoisseur of the good life, and I wanted to bring that to the city.”
Churchill Grounds’ midtown location may seem odd at first, but for Yi, it has been nothing but advantageous. “I felt that midtown was a great location for the concept I had in mind. When I found out that this coffeehouse was up for sale, I knew it was meant to be. The location next door to the Fox Theater has been a blessing, especially considering there are over 270 major events a year happening right next to us.”
Although the existing interior was beautiful, Yi made major renovations to the space. In addition to enlarging the bar area, a stage was added for jazz. Music varies from night to night. Tuesday night is “jam session night,” where 15 to 20 musicians could be jamming at any given time. There is also a Latin jazz night during the week.
Although light fare and desserts are available, Churchill Grounds is sticking to what it does best: great music, great spirits and great cigars.
What does Yi think of the martini bars and cigar bars that have become all the rage these days? “My goal has always been to create an atmosphere that is timeless. This is not a “bandwagon” place I’ve created to make some quick bucks while a fad is hot. When all the fads disappear, I want people to remember Churchill Grounds and come back to see us.”
Churchill Grounds is located at 660 Peachtree Road. (404) 876.3030.