Inside Look: Revelator Coffee

In turning our attention to some of America’s most beautiful drinking spaces for our first design issue, we couldn’t overlook Revelator Coffee Company’s bright, modern cafés. Founded in New Orleans in 2014, Revelator now has locations in Birmingham, Nashville, Chattanooga and Atlanta, with Charleston up next. Aiming to embody Southern hospitality, the rapidly expanding company combines clean minimalism with industrial style.

“A lot of coffee shop spaces trend towards dark woods, dark spaces and an Italian espresso menu. Our spaces are bright, clean, timeless and somewhat ethereal,” says co-founder Emma Chevalier.

To establish a feel that’s grounded in Southern tradition but also modern, Revelator worked with Berkeley-based Fischer Architecture for the design and Birmingham’s Appleseed Workshop for the build-outs. The aesthetic has become distinctive among each of their locations, with common threads seen throughout the master design. “Two big elements run through all of our designs: an open-bar concept that strips away as many barriers as possible between the barista and the customer [and] a light-filled space that balances industrial minimalism with cozy accents,” says Meredith Singer, Revelator’s director of marketing.

Each shop uses custom-built Slayer espresso machines and Alpha Dominche Steampunk chamber brewers for teas, both of which add to the sleek vibe, which is then warmed up with “everything from loomed blankets to floral arrangements to large art pieces and up-lighting,” Singer says. The overall feel is undeniably inviting. The airy, open spaces create a communal vibe, enhanced by small touches like custom-made aprons and dishes from local ceramicists.