In 1967, when it first opened in Atlanta, the Polaris restaurant quickly became a symbol of our fast-growing city. The Hyatt Regency was the world’s first atrium-centered hotel with a glass enclosed elevator, and at a time when buildings were being built taller and even more elaborate, ads of the period touted Atlanta as a “New Kind of City” because of John Portman’s distintive design of the Polaris.
Described as a flying saucer-like structure, the Polaris Restaurant is perched high above the rooms of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Visitors of the time would enjoy unobstructed 360º panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline in a dining room that rotated every 45 minutes. Due to it’s unique shape, and iconic blue dome, the Polaris was featured on dozens of souvenirs and postcards.
As time passed, and taller buildings were erected on either side of the Hyatt Regency, the panoramic views enjoyed by visitors of the Polaris Restaurant became increasingly constricted. Eventually, in 2004, the restaurant closed.
After a decade-long hiatus from the Atlanta food scene, the iconic blue domed Polaris Restaurant underwent a renovation/re-imagination, and reopened its doors in June of this year. Paying homage to the 1960s by decorating with white leather upholstered bar stools with chrome details, and lounge areas with art-deco inspired chairs, guests are transported to an updated, hip bar/lounge area that maintains its original vintage charm.
Along with the stunning interior renovation, the outside of the dome was given a facelift by adding a Rooftop Bee Garden. Here, two hives of more than 10,000 honey bees busily produce honey that are used in Polaris’ delicate cuisines. Other features of the rooftop renovation include a rainwater irrigation system, solar lighting, and what might be the only peach tree on Peachtree.
Although guests can enjoy original menu items such as Roasted Duck Medallions, Bacon Popcorn, and Steak Oscar, the updated menu transports guests straight to the 21st century with edible modern art conceptualized by food gurus of the 21st century. Its 12-item menu changes every two weeks in response to guest’s feedback and seasonality, and each is a carefully thought-out work of art that is sure make your taste buds sing.
What once stood as a symbol of economic and cultural growth now stands for a revival of downtown architecture and unprecedented tourism in Atlanta. The staff at PWP Studio feel particularly overwhelmed and honored to have been a part of the grand re-opening of the Polaris. A special thanks to Ben for capturing such amazing images, and ensuring that every Atlantan can appreciate the beauty of this iconic Atlanta establishment. Cheers to many more years!