Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2018

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

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7 2 • 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 • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 Form + Function Bar Design By Thomas Henry Strenk F orm and function are intertwined within a bar; one cannot exist without the other, but they can often be at odds," says Alex Day, co-owner of Death & Co. Day and his partners pioneered a new era of cocktail culture when they opened the iconic cocktail lounge in 2006 in New York City's East Village. Now the partners have launched the first expansion of the brand at the Ramble Hotel in Denver. "From a business efficiency perspec- tive, the function of the space must take high priority, but there are very few hard and fast rules in bar design. Luck- ily, efficiencies can be found to mold function to form's beauty," says Day, "a process we find deeply creative and a necessary give-and-take of the process." The edict that form follows function is perhaps truer in bars than any other area of hospitality design — because function equals cash for operators. "Form and function go hand in hand, literally. Poorly designed bars, no matter how beautifully intended, often wind up ugly as they get cluttered with all the stuff a bartender needs that wasn't considered in the bar design. After the functionality needs get baked into the plans, that's when the design- ers should figure out how to make it aesthetically appropriate," says Danny Bortnick, VP of restaurant concept development for Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group. The San Francisco- based company has 66 hotels and 87 restaurants and bars. Function First The first step in every bar project is to ascertain the objectives of your client, the needs of bartenders and require- ments of the proposed drinks menu. "Bar design is a ping-pong game between you and the client. Get to know them and discover what their needs are," says Leah Plevrites, founder of the New York design firm studioBIG. First deter- mine what the operational and equipment needs for the bar are, then worry about designing the rest, she advises. "From a construction standpoint, make sure you know what the menu offerings are going to be, and get your mechanical infrastructure right," says Chuck Taylor, director of operations for Chicago-based Englewood Construc- tion. The craft beer craze, for example, means sizing larger chases to accom- modate more glycol lines and allowing extra walk-in storage for kegs. Behind the Stick "Throwing equipment behind a bar with little care to placement is thankfully far rarer than it used to be," says Day. "Today, we're spending more time on how the employee uses the space from the ergonomics of their workstations, the placement of equipment, and variables to make their jobs more efficient — and, ultimately, create more profitable busi- nesses because of it." "Current trends are paying more attention to bartender ergonomics and Because Le Bar Opuline at Sofitel, Washington, D.C., is a multi-daypart space, a means to secure liquor bottles during the daytime had to be worked into the design. Image courtesy of Perkins + Will

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