Modern Art Distillery opens in Chamblee

Illustrated by Rupal Mamtani and Jen Boaz

Photo by Sara Hanna

A 15,000 square foot former warehouse in Chamblee, the newly opened modern art distillery (DOMA) is a unique concept: part gallery, part distillery and part cocktail bar. There is also private event space.

Founded by Seth Watson, who has over 20 years of event design and production experience, DOMA makes and serves peach vodka, regular vodka, bourbon whiskey and rye whiskey. The amaro and the corn whiskey will be launched soon and the gin will be ready at the end of July. These spirits are included as tastes during the distillery tour ($15 per person) or in cocktails at the bar. Many of these are also sold at local liquor stores.

“I wanted to create something that belonged to me,” says Watson. “My idea was to build a place and marry what I knew (the events) with my passion (the spirits).”

Art and barrels

Photo by Sara Hanna

He travels the country, visiting 70 or 80 distilleries to learn the trade. Then he found local artists, including Rupal Mamtani and Jen Boaz, to showcase their pieces on the walls of DOMA. Other artists, such as Xie Caomi, Juliana Lupacchino and Josh Jalbert, show off their spirit-inspired designs on liquor bottles.

Vodka tonic with blue butterfly pea flower

Photo by Sara Hanna

Chamblee Cooler (peach flavored vodka, regular vodka, green tea and lemon)

Photo by Matthew Demarko

Modern art speaks to me. I associate the subjectivity of art with the subjectivity of minds,” says Watson. “I want it to be an elevated, detail-focused experience right down to how the lights hit the ground.”

The focal point of the space may be a handcrafted 30-foot copper pot in Kentucky, but murals and paintings abound. The artists in residence change every month or two, so there’s always something new to see. The same goes for the cocktails, imagined by consultant Jeff Banks, former bartender at Luminary and Watchman’s.

“It’s all about creating something from your mind, whether it’s a visual, a taste, or a smell,” says Watson. “Even the interior of the [liquor] the bottles have art.

Those interested in the distillation process can learn from Chief Distiller Matt Greif. All milling is done in house and a garden is provided for guests to shoot herbs and plants for drinks.

The bar

Photo by Sara Hanna

Visitors can stop by the bar Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. for cocktail service. There are 15 seats at the bar, plus 40 nearby and another 35 on the covered terrace. Options include Marg (vodka, lime, green pepper, and fermented pineapple), NYC Sour (rye, lemon, almond, black pepper, and cherry), and “beer” (rye, hops, and club soda).

Watson is busy lining up chef pop-ups and food trucks, but for now the bar’s snacks are limited to Spotter Trotter charcuterie and Jardi chocolates. Soon, DOMA will be offering cocktail classes, comedy nights, and live music on the weekends.

“My goal is to create something affordable, accessible and absolutely elevated,” says Watson. “It really swelled. There are so many things to do and see.

Bourbon on the rocks

Photo by Matthew Demarko

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