Hyatt Regency Atlanta to Reopen Iconic Polaris

ATLANTA—Polaris, the iconic rotating restaurant and lounge atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, a symbol of Atlanta’s progress for nearly 50 years, will “re-turn” to the city skyline in June.

To celebrate the reopening, the hotel will turn off, and then relight the signature Polaris blue dome before its official opening to the public on Tuesday, June 10, after a series of pre-reopening events.

The new Polaris will serve handcrafted cocktails and chef-inspired shared plates with a panoramic view of the Atlanta skyline from 22 stories up in the hotel.  

The new Polaris has been a 10-year project for Hyatt Regency Atlanta to restore the iconic restaurant to its hometown, stated Peter McMahon, Hyatt Regency Atlanta’s general manager. Polaris is reopening as Atlanta enjoys its most exciting year since the Olympics, he added, with the debut of new projects like the Center for Civil and Human Rights, College Football Hall of Fame and Atlanta Streetcar.

“In its day, Polaris was a symbol of Atlanta’s tremendous cultural and economic growth,” McMahon said. “Now Polaris is coming back as the city is buzzing with new projects, revived neighborhoods and unprecedented tourism. The timing couldn’t be better. And just as it was in years past, we intend for the new Polaris to be a symbol of Atlanta’s progress for the next 50 years.”

Conceived by Atlanta architect John C. Portman Jr., Polaris is one of Atlanta’s most recognized landmarks. It was Atlanta’s first rotating restaurant when it opened in 1967, and quickly became a symbol of the fast-growing city, featured on souvenirs, postcards and murals.

Polaris was so popular guests lined up just to ride the elevators and take in the view. In its heyday, Polaris hosted dignitaries, presidents and celebrities, as well as everyday Atlantans celebrating birthdays, wedding proposals, anniversaries and prom nights.

Hyatt Regency Atlanta chose Atlanta’s award-winning The Johnson Studio to be the architect and interior designer of the new Polaris. Architects Bill Johnson and Brian Finkel and interior designer Anna McGrady White built a contemporary space with homages to the original design. 

The new Polaris has been designed with four sections, each loosely based on the home:an open dining room with a communal table, a living room, a library, and the bar.

Executive Chef Martin Pfefferkorn will lead the kitchen at Polaris. Pfefferkorn grew up on a farm in Austria, was classically trained in European resorts and has been a creative force at Hyatt Hotels Corp. since joining the company in 2001. He has been acclaimed for his creation of Sway, Hyatt Regency Atlanta’s Southern-influenced dining experience based on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

Hyatt Regency Atlanta beverage director Mehdi Natanzi heads the Polaris mixology program. Polaris’ cocktail menu will celebrate the golden age of spirits, from Old Fashions and Manhattans, to mint Grasshoppers and tart Gimlets, Rickeys and tonics, all served in vintage glassware. And the new Polaris will present a modern version of its throwback signature drink, the peach daiquiri.

The Polaris bar also will offer its very own barrel of “Polaris Bourbon” through a partnership with Elijah Craig, a Kentucky distillery.

While inside, guests will rotate comfortably around the kitchen where chefs will prepare the evening’s plates in full view. The kitchen also is designed to evoke a high-end residence, and the energy of the chefs, as well as their fresh ingredients, cookware and techniques, are part of the dining experience, according to the hotel. 

And, just as it did in 1967, Polaris will rotate once every 45 minutes.