Sky Castle Gastro Lounge
Sky Castle Gastro Lounge was a restaurant and bar located in a 4,500 square-foot space on the ground floor of 29 Seven at 2802 7th Avenue South in Lakeview. It was owned by Jeff, Chris and Jason Bajalieh, partners in the nearby Slice pizzeria and downtown's former Sol's Deli.
The restaurant opened on January 6, 2016 with Haller Magee as executive chef. Other key back-of-house staff included sous chef Richard Trent, pastry chef Ashley Bolton, and chefs James Habshey and Dave Smith. At the front of the house were co-managers Ellen Rogers and Reggie Monypenny.
The "Southern progressive" menu featured regionally-influenced pub fare made fresh with local ingredients. The lounge extended onto an outdoor patio to seat about 135 diners. The full-service bar, furnished with couches and a row of large-screen televisions, dispensed about 25 draft beers alongside a seasonal cocktail menu.
The name of the restaurant was a reference to WSGN-AM's "Sky Castle" broadcast booth formerly located behind Eli's Drive-In (later Ed Salem's No. 2 Drive-In) nearby on Clairmont Avenue. The owners' father Saleh Bajalieh, had once worked at Salem's Drive-In before opening his downtown sandwich shop.
The decor of the restaurant had a 1950s theme with a replica of the Sky Castle booth and classic car-inspired upholstery. Architect Lance Black and interior designer Haley Treadwaway of Black Design Architect designed the space. Kyle Tyree of Locke General Contractors performed the build-out. KC Projects marketed the development.
Sky Castle closed during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. Steel Gastropub opened in its place in June 2021.
- Carlton, Bob (May 29, 2015) "Slice Pizza owners reveal plans for new Lakeview restaurant." The Birmingham News
- Carlton, Bob (January 5, 2016) "Sky Castle restaurant and bar opens Wednesday in Birmingham's Lakeview District." The Birmingham News
- Carlton, Bob (September 30, 2016) "Meet the restaurant family that has fed Birmingham for a half-century." The Birmingham News