Larmarrous Shirley, who resides in the Castleberry Hill
neighborhood, is a freelance creative director, co-publisher of Slo Mo Magazine, deejay and producer/co-host of Mo Audio on ablradio.com.
Castleberry Hill is near the Georgia Dome, adjacent to and southwest of Atlanta’s central business district. It is a federally recognized historic district since 1985 and became a city of Atlanta Landmark District in 2006. Since 2000, the area has experienced an influx of residents and new businesses. Composed predominantly of Walker, Nelson and Peters streets, it is home to a growing number of small art galleries, restaurants and loft residences.
Originally from Kentucky, Shirley has worked with various advertising agencies and also served as an art director for such magazines as Atlanta, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Atlanta Style & Design and the defunct Atlanta Woman.
As a deejay, he has spun alongside, jazz legend Roy Ayers; UK soul singer, Omar; indie neo-soul artists Eric Roberson, Anthony David, Van Hunt, Goapele and many more. He currently produces a monthly publication, Slo Mo Magazine, catering specifically to the Atlanta soul music scene, and he produces two weekly online radio shows on the award-winning ablradio.com.
Every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., he produces and co-hosts a show alongside, Chante LéGon and Carlton Hargro; he produces a biweekly Saturday all-music show from 2 to 3 p.m. as a part of the Dream Team Saturdays. He is a freelance art director working with many of Atlanta's top agencies and the creative community.
Larmarrous Shirley's 10 things to do in Castleberry Hill
1. Every second Friday is the Art Stroll in the neighborhood. It’s a great opportunity to walk the neighborhood and enjoy the various galleries. It has been called the best art stroll in Atlanta and one of the top 10 art districts in the country. My favorite galleries are Besharat Gallery
, 175 Peters St. SW, and Nelson Street Gallery, 364 Nelson St. SW.
2. A cool spot to enjoy a nice margarita and a great deck is at No Mas! Cantina, 180 Walker St. SW. You sincerely feel as if you are in a resort restaurant from Mexico. Attached to No Mas! Cantina is Adios Cafe, a restaurant that in addition to serving coffees, desserts and artisan chocolate truffles, has a very friendly staff.
3. Bottle Rocket, 180 Walker St. SW, has become the local “Cheers.” No matter where in the neighborhood people tend to go, they have ended up there at some point. They have chalkboard specials, “Walking Dead” nights, karaoke on the art stroll nights and great cocktails.
4. Speaking of “The Walking Dead,” the first couple of seasons -- as well as several movies, commercials, music videos and television shows -- were filmed in the neighborhood. A great place to get the information on the movies shot in the area would be to check out Atlanta Movie Tours, 327 Nelson St. SW.
5. The go-to local grocery store would definitely be Boxcar Grocer, 249 Peters St. SW. The store has a great assortment of organic foods and caters to the neighborhood. Reminds me of a mash-up of a convenience store and a Whole Foods.
6. I have sent tons of people to iwi fresh, 341 Nelson St. SW, which is an independently owned, eco-friendly spa. Their products are mainly organic, and the interior is very relaxing. Also dip a few doors down to The Wine Shoe, 339 Nelson St. SW, for a wine tasting.
7. A restaurant I tend to find myself visiting weekly, sometimes twice a week, would be Drink Art, 199 Walker St. The concept is Thai vegan, and all of the ingredients are organic. They also focus on having a commitment to being a sustainable and community-focused restaurant. Drink Art is eco-friendly and recycles all paper, cardboard, glass, wood, plastic and aluminum products. It is owned by UGA & NBA veteran Shandon Anderson, who moved to the ’hood and created a top-notch restaurant. Make sure you check out the roof-top view.
8. Another great area in the ’hood to grab a bite and do some shopping is on Peters Street. You have Blu Cantina, 257 Peters St. SW, where they offer Latin food, great mojitos and deejays almost every night. (I deejay there every Friday from 5 to 10 p.m.). The owner is always on hand to oblige the customer, and the staff is very friendly and energetic. Also you can easily bar hop from Blu Cantina to Spin, 255 Tapas Lounge or Pearl, all of which are next door to each other. It has become a local hang-out for several entertainers, the AUC (Atlanta University Center) crowd and many of the neighborhood locals. And to get your clothes shopping correct, check out House of Adrene, 264 Peters St SW., owned by celebrity fashion stylist Adrene Ashford. She stays ahead of urban fashion, a help since I tend to be outdated in my gear.
9. If you are in need of a great haircut and the best barbershop conversation, Off The Hook, 251 Peters St. SW, is the spot. Everyone from professional sports players, politicians, actors, radio personalities, etc, patronize OTH. The staff is made up of barbershop veterans and always gets great ratings.
10. Paschal’s Restaurant is located at 180-B Northside Drive. You instantly feel like you have walked into a four-star restaurant mixed with a civil rights museum, and in my opinion rightfully so. The restaurant pays homage to its Southern roots with the cuisine as well as giving respect to being one of the “meeting places” for many of the early civil rights leaders. Many notable people who have dined at Paschal’s include Aretha Franklin, the late Dizzy Gillespie, Andrew Young, the late Maynard Jackson, Vice President Al Gore and the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. I would have my soul brother No.1 card revoked if I left them off the list.
Mary Welch is a veteran journalist who writes about travel, lifestyle and business. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Fulton County Daily Report and Family Vacation Critic.