Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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4 0 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 BEVERAGE BONANZA: BAR DESIGN IN THE GILDED AGE years ago: craft beer specialists sporting 100 or more tap handles; saloons dedi- cated to a single spirit, from bourbon, gin and tequila to mescal and pisco; establishments focusing on serving only locally produced beverages; and tap- rooms offering not just beer but kegged wines, cocktails and spirits on draft. What Makes a Bar Great Which factors make for great bar design? Key points include tailoring the space to its purpose, announcing the intent and expertise of the beverage program, and encouraging social interaction and flow. Designers must also create a functional space for staff, which requires specialized setups and equipment suited to the task. With the proliferation of so many pubs, taverns, saloons, lounges, tap- rooms, dramshops, speakeasies and joints, it's important to differentiate from the competition. "The mark of great bar design is originality — that when you walk in the door, you feel like you've never been in a place like this before," says Dustin Slemp, creative director at Eschelon Experiences in Raleigh, N.C. The internet, he adds, is an ideal tool for scoping out what's new in design, the local competition and cus- tomer demographics. When designing The Haymaker in Raleigh, N.C., Slemp used Pinterest as one way to source decorative pieces including old-school boxing gloves, wallpaper featuring infamous rapper Notorious B.I.G., classic and cozy furni- ture, and a mounted moose head. The principle of divergence holds for chains as well. HopCat bills itself as the anti-chain chain as each of the 16 beer bars features a unique appearance and ambience. "We don't do cookie-cutter bars," declares Mark Sellers, owner of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Barfly Ventures, which operates HopCat and several other establishments, including an upcoming tiki bar. "A bar is not just a place to have a drink. It's about having a unique experience, especially for Millennials." Establishing Intent Used to be, a bar was a bar was a bar. Today, consumers have a plethora of choices: beer bar, wine bar, cocktail bar and all variations in between. "With so many different niches, it is incumbent upon the design to communi- cate the intent of the beverage program and establish expertise from the moment Top: HopCat bills itself as an anti-chain chain as each of the 16 beer bars features a unique appear- ance. Photo courtesy of HopCat Above and left: Ordinaire, a wine bar and shop in Oakland, Calif., focuses on organic wines; the design reflects it with a focus on natural light and earth tones. Photos courtesy of Ordinaire

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