Chattanooga Street was once the main route from LaFayette, Ga., to Chattanooga, creating a bustling economic center along the strip of road through the heart of LaFayette. Built in the early ’30s, the Mars Theater anchored this strip, along with the train depot for the main rail line to Chattanooga across the street.
After the Mars Theater closed in the ’50s—in addition to the train depot—the district went through a steady decline over the years, culminating withthe former theater being gutted in a devastating 2011 fire. With the Mars Theater District a derelict shell of its former self, local restaurateur Michael Lovelady—who also owns One-Eleven on LaFayette’s main square—purchased the entire strip last year.
Aside from developing the area for boutique shops—and the old Mars Theater being renovated with a stage as a haven for local visual and performance artists—Lovelady opened the Chattanooga Street Tavern on the end of the strip as a British-style pub to help fuel this venture.