Atlanta gay bar Model T reopens in Grant Park

A gay Atlanta nightlife fixture that closed last November after over 25 years in business has reopened in the former home of another gay bar.

Model T was forced out of its longtime home on Ponce de Leon Avenue near Ponce City Market, but owner Jill Darmer quickly got to work on securing a new spot. Model T – now called, simply, T’s – takes over the former home of Cockpit on Boulevard just south of Interstate 20 in Grant Park. Last year, Cockpit rebranded as neighborhood bar Grant Park Tavern. 

Darmer (top photo) told Project Q Atlanta that she closed the deal to buy Grant Park Tavern from Arthur Dutton and signed a lease in January. She declined to discuss details of the purchase or lease.

“It’s a great neighborhood for a neighborhood bar. We’re doing different things now,” Darmer said. “I’m hoping to bring in a pool table this week. We’re working on bringing in Keno. Then we’re going to do our poker nights. And we’re also going to do something new called bingo trivia.”

“I get bored very easily so I’m trying to offer them a variety of things to do,” she added

Darmer also restarted a longtime Model T tradition — free homemade dinner on Sunday nights.

She said T’s space is about the same size as the bar’s former home on Ponce de Leon Avenue. Longtime Model T regulars have already started to patron T’s.

“All this takes time, but we’re getting there. Our business has picked up faster than I thought it would. I thought it would take at least two to three months, but we’re already seeing that,” Darmer said.

“I feel like we have the support of the neighborhood, which helps. There’s a huge gay population. Everybody is welcome,” she added.

The Grant Park Tavern signage is still up, but Darmer said they hope to have the new T’s sign up by next week.

Darmer doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

“Here I am 74. People are saying are you crazy, girl? Why don’t you just retire? But what would I do? I couldn’t have fun and have a few drinks with my friends, so here I am,” she said.

Darmer told Project Q last June that Model T was on a month-to-month lease and she expected to be pushed out that summer. It eventually happened in November. She said the bar was a victim of 725 Ponce, a $155 million project next to the bar that’s expected to open this summer, according to Bisnow.