I remember when Tavani first started rumbling up the thing that has now become the Switchyards Downtown Club. That was a lot of work and a lot of fun to help bring together. Today, I finally had the opportunity to head downtown and take a look at the consumer startup haven on Ted Turner Drive in downtown Atlanta. Here are words and pictures that summarize today’s experience getting to know Switchyards.

Getting there was a piece of cake. I was coming from General Assembly, where I was meeting to finalize something that’s going to be really freaking cool. Stay tuned for that. Parking was easy, although the lot directly across the street from SDC was cash only. I don’t carry cash, so I had to move to another lot, still just steps from the front door of Switchyards.

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The reason for coming downtown today was an invite from Sam Bown (@wisesumo), who has faithfully attended several of my classes at General Assembly, including the ever so painful Google Analytics Certification Bootcamp. God bless you, Sam!

Sam greeted me at the front door, and gave me the nickel tour of all 4 floors (including the basement) of Tavani & Payne‘s club. I’ll say this about the entire experience: it wasn’t what I expected. It was better.

Honestly, I’m not sure exactly what I expected. I spend most of my time at ATV, GA, or ATDC, all of which have very different atmosphere. I knew going in that Tavani’s bent is almost 100% towards “awesome design”, and I think he’s achieved that with the remake of this 90-year-old building. The thing that has stuck with me well after my visit was the wood. The smell of raw wood hits you instantly when you walk in. It’s a great, fresh, clean smell. I grew up around residential home construction, so that smell (and the smell of fresh turned Georgia red clay) instantly sends me back.

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Next on the list of things that I’ll think of any time the word “Switchyards” is mentioned is the simplicity of the entire place. Nothing fancy. The doors are double-plywood sheets hanging from barn door sliders. The locks on private offices are simple combo locks. All the chairs are the same.

Then there’s the brick. I love old, exposed brick. My wife and I once installed a 1500 square foot brick patio behind our home in Decatur, all in old brick. I love old bricks, and Switchyards has plenty of old bricks. Everywhere. All the way up the walls to the 18′ ceilings on the second floor.

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Sam had remarked to me as we walked in, “You’ll probably know half the people working here.” It wasn’t half, but it was close. If I didn’t know the individuals, I knew most of their startups.

Finally, and this is actually the first thing you do when you enter Switchyards, it really is a “club“. Members’ names are on their Western-Atlantic coffee cups on the wall in the coffee shop. You wanna go where everybody knows your name, right? That’s the feeling you get there.

So, get there!

 

What do you think about that?