We believe strongly in the power of bridge to foster lasting friendships - and that laughter greatly enhances the joy of the game.
While we are serious about providing clear, logical, professional instruction, we are equally devoted to the creation of a warm community. We encourage friendships among our students – as well as with us.
You don’t have to look far to find a group of our students enjoying each other's company in a fun game together!
Our weekly classes are offered in 'Levels' of instruction. Each level includes two semesters of classes. Students are free to join any level based on their background, interest, or schedule.
In the summer, and periodically throughout the year, we also offer topical seminars and supervised play as a way to welcome new players and reinforce class topics.
Classes are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Cross Creek Clubhouse on Bohler Road in Buckhead, Atlanta GA.
Click here for curriculum description or to register for an upcoming class. Scroll below for an introduction to our instructional staff.
A Bag for Every Class...
Melissa Bernhardt is the founder and lead instructor at Bridge & Company. She learned the game from her parents and has been playing for 40 years. During this time she has also served as Director of Training at Bank of America, and as Managing Director of The Woodbridge Group - a consulting firm specializing in corporate education and strategic planning. Among her clients were the Coca Cola Company, Target Corporation, Best Western, First Chicago Bank, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and the Lovett School.
Twelve years ago, Melissa combined her professional background with one of her favorite hobbies to create Bridge & Company. She is an ACBL Accredited Instructor, a member of the American Bridge Teachers Association, and a founding partner in Whirlwind Bridge, which won the 2012 ABTA Book of the Year Award. She is also a member of Trinity Angelican Mission and the Cherokee Country Club.
Melissa enjoys playing duplicate bridge, swimming, yoga and her mountain cabin in Tennessee.
She and her husband, Rick, share their free time with their sons, Richmond and Andrew and their wives, Erin and Sara. They recently welcomed their first grandchild, Boyd.
Merrel Hattink joined Bridge & Company in 2011 as a co-instructor and student coach after first studying the game of bridge under Melissa’s instruction. Her background in corporate sales and management training as well as residential real estate sales were the perfect complement for Bridge & Company. Along with teaching bridge, Merrel is currently a residential Real Estate Agent Specialist with Dorsey Alston Realtors. where she has sold
Atlanta real estate for over 23 years. She is in partnership with her daughter, Frances.
Merrel is also an energetic volunteer who has chaired several fundraising events including the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Ball, and the Fernbank Museum’s A Timeless Affair in Atlanta. She is currently a Board member of the Atlanta Chapter and the Georgia Chapter of the Colonial Dames of America, and an active member of Northside Methodist Church, the Piedmont Driving Club, Lonesome Valley in Sapphire, NC, and Country Club of Sapphire Valley.
Merrel and her husband, Willem, have three children; Cantey, Willem, who is married to Melanie, and Frances.
In her spare time, Merrel is an active duplicate bridge player, and loves to also play tennis, croquet, Mah Jong. When not at the game table, you are likely to find her on a hike in the North Carolina mountains
Chris Black became 'hooked on bridge' as soon as she began taking lessons from Melissa in 2008. She joined Bridge & Company as an assistant and student coach in 2014, and recently has assumed a more active teaching role.
Chris moved to Atlanta in 1981 to begin her 10-year banking career. She retired from banking in order to raise children and concentrate on family needs. Her family includes two adult sons who live with their wives in Chicago, and two adult daughters who live in Kansas City and New York City. Her family is also blessed with several grandchildren who are bundles of joy.
Chris and her husband Peter enjoy travelling, especially to visit their children. She also enjoys playing duplicate bridge, playing tennis, tending to her vegetable garden, and spending time at the beach.
Teresa McRae has been assisting Bridge & Company for several years and frequently plays as a partner with Melissa, Chris and Merrel.
Teresa began playing bridge in her twenties and has played duplicate for many years. She became a serious duplicate player after her retirement from medical practice management in 2017. She travels to many tournaments throughout the Southeast. In addition to playing, she is always studying to expand her knowledge of the game.
Teresa and her husband, Doug, live in Vinings. They have two children, Rebecca, who is married to Eddie, and Douglas, who is married to Laura. They are affectionately known as 'Sweet T' and 'D' to their precious grandchildren, Ward, Wales, Lucy, and McNeill.
In addition to bridge, Teresa enjoys traveling with her family, reading and exercise.
Jane Nichols began taking bridge lessons from Melissa in 2011. She loved it from the start and continued taking lessons, completing all the levels that Melissa offered. She is appreciative of the opportunities for friendship that the game provides. She sees bridge is a great way to spend more time with longtime friends as well as to develop friendships with others whom she meets through the game.
Jane moved to Atlanta in 1978 and worked in the financial services industry. She married Jack in 1980. In 1984, they were transferred with his job to northern Virginia and to St. Louis in 1987, ultimately coming back to Atlanta in 1991. She was very active in the PTA as well as many volunteer opportunities through the Junior Leagues of Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumni group in St. Louis. More recently, she worked at Willow Green creating potted plant arrangements and helping customers.
Jane and Jack are fortunate enough to have three married sons who all live in Atlanta. Jane played ALTA tennis for 20+ years and is now trying to learn to play golf. In addition to enjoying bridge, she loves spending time with family and is looking forward to traveling more.