Erosol on Edgewood

Erosol, also known as Department Store, has flourished into one the hottest bars on Edgewood Avenue. hotos by Nadia Deljou | The Signal

During daylight hours, it’s easy for the untrained eye to overlook the most eclectic venue on Edgewood Avenue. Bathed in sunlight, Erosol, better known as ‘Department Store,’ stands quiet and unassuming, biding energy in its brick walls as night slowly approaches.Located at the corner of Boulevard and Edgewood Avenue, Erosol remains inconspicuous to passersby, at least until Event Coordinator Bre Watson opens its doors at 8 p.m. to begin the festivities. A hulking security guard surveys the outside street as a disc jockey warms up and bartenders engage in friendly banter. Although this is a familiar scene on Friday nights, Watson ensures that Erosol offers an entertaining experience for all walks of life.

“It’s always a great time at Erosol because we’re so open,” Watson said. “We have no guidelines for our music, events or visitors, so anyone that wants to express their ‘creative soul’ can come in and share their experiences. We’re the voice of the people.”

El Aumento de Erosol

Despite Erosol’s cult following in the urban community, the venue hasn’t always been in such popular demand. Erosol’s owner, Luis Carreras, explained how the business idea came together, referencing the first time he noticed the venue.

“The building’s appearance and location attracted me initially,” Carreras said. “It had actually been abandoned for a few years and nobody was really interested in it. I hung out at the Sound Table a lot and performed with my band there. After a show one day, I just saw huge potential in the venue and I called the leasing number the next day.”

Even though the venue’s dual naming can sometimes cause confusion for a first-time goer, Carreras said that there is a reasoning behind the names.

“Erosol is a combination of my son, Eros, and my daughter, Sol’s, names,” Carreras said. “It’s just ironic because I didn’t have money left to make a sign when we first opened, but since ‘DEPARTMENT STORE’ is plastered on the front of the building, the name instantly stuck. The funny thing is it actually used to be a department store for women. It’s kind of gotten re-identified by that, like an alias.”

Erosol, also known as Department Store, has flourished into one the hottest bars on Edgewood Avenue. hotos by Nadia Deljou   | The Signal
Erosol, also known as Department Store, has flourished into one the hottest bars on Edgewood Avenue.
hotos by Nadia Deljou | The Signal
Department Store’s DemographyCarreras felt that it was crucial to establish a place for young creatives in Atlanta to enjoy themselves and network. Erosol keeps a constant ear to the street and has evolved into a cutting-edge rite of passage for burgeoning Atlanta rappers, including OG Maco, iLoveMakonnen and Two-9.

“I think there was a need for a space where the younger people could come and vibe on the weekends,” Carreras said. “My experience in the entertainment industry is what gives me a better perspective of what these people want when they go out. We’re unique from the other locations on Edgewood in terms of the events and artists we have, so we have a different appeal to the culture. We know what they want.”

Although Carreras is the face of Erosol, General Manager Sarah Kim and Watson are the creative visionaries behind innovative, interactive functions like the weekly “Playlist Party,” which recently featured Georgia State alumni Ludracris as guest host. Watson says that Erosol’s main appeal is its wide array of events and performances, inviting a fluid, ever-evolving demographic.

“There’s always a good mixture of people here, but it really varies by night,” Watson said. “There are a lot of younger people here on the weekends, anyone in tune with the underground scene that follows the music, culture and innovation in Atlanta. Our DJs and promoters bring a lot of unique visitors, as well. People come here to party, network and have a good time.”

Recent changes to the Old Fourth Ward’s infrastructure have played a large role in Edgewood Avenue’s sudden surge in popular nightlife, with attractions like the Atlanta Streetcar making the area more appealing and accessible newcomers.

“I definitely feel like the gentrification and renewal of the Fourth Ward has had a positive effect on the community to an extent,” Carreras said. “Edgewood wasn’t always as safe and trendy as it is now; I remember a few years ago, you wouldn’t even want to walk this far down Edgewood because of its reputation. The only issue is when people have the attitude that there was nothing of value here before they stepped in. The Fourth Ward has always been rich with culture and entertainment.”

Carreras is humbled by the fact that Erosol has become a calling card for the creative youth and embraces the challenge of being a trendsetter for Atlanta nightlife.

“I love the challenge of having to appeal to such a diverse crowd every week,” Carreras said. “I love how we’ve been chosen as the voice of the youth, breaking new artists and supporting creativity. We just really want to continue facilitating the growth of Atlanta’s culture. We’re all family.”