Sidney Gunst had a problem. He was faced with two vacant, adjoining spaces in his Innsbrook Shoppes strip center after two restaurant tenants closed down.
But Gunst, known as the mastermind of the surrounding Innsbrook office park, didn’t panic.
He decided to knock down a wall separating the former Sharky’s and Curry House spaces and build out a nearly 12,000-square-foot bar and restaurant, designed to have the feel of downtown breweries while also catering to Innsbrook workers.
He’s calling the spot Atlas 42, inspired by a statue of Atlas he rescued from being thrown out at Stony Point, as well as Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The statue is visible from the space’s large outdoor patio, which includes a bar.
With two 30-foot bars, six pingpong tables, two bocce ball courts, eight cornhole sets and two stages, Atlas 42 aims to be a destination for Innsbrook workers after they clock out, Gunst said.
“I needed a creative solution to the problem,” he said. “I’ve got the space. Now I just need an operator.”
The real estate veteran doesn’t plan on running Atlas 42 himself, so he is interviewing prospective operators and aims for a July opening.
The bar will have no mixed drinks and serve only wine, champagne and canned beer. Gunst said he’s still deciding on a food menu.
The space will feature a large wall covered with a world map, with cutouts for cans. Gunst said he plans to have customers bring beer cans from unique parts of the world to contribute – an homage to Richmond being known as the first place where beer was canned.
Roger Turner is the general contractor of the project. Gunst’s wife is the designer.
Also within the Atlas space, at 4032 Cox Road, will be a closed-off room outfitted with a small stage, projector and sliding doors. Gunst said the “listening room” will be used for acoustic musicians or private meetings.