Restaurant Development & Design

January-February 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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J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • 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 • 1 5 every seat in the house has a view of the still and the process. "That's our showpiece; that's where the drama comes from," says Flatt. The glass enclosure was not a legal requirement, but it helps to contain the noise and odor from the production process. The Flatts also installed safety elements like a negative-air system, which exchanges the air 10 times per hour. In the distilling area, one window is a blow-out panel, "sort of a safety valve" to prevent concussive injuries. The fire-suppression systems are equipped with high-flow nozzles. And carbon dioxide and alcohol-vapor sensors con- nect directly to the fire department. "Barrels of whiskey are considered flammables," Flatt notes. The space is about 6,500 square feet, counting the basement, main floor and mezzanines. Two-thirds of that is dedicated to the restaurant, which seats 80 with 15 at the bar; the rest is devoted to production. There is also a small retail outlet. Two bank vaults serve as barrel rooms for maturing whis- key and other spirits. One vault boasts a two-seat table, which customers can request. The old safety deposit boxes have been upcycled for use at the POS and hostess stations, and one of the storage rooms sports an antique vault door. Lighting is modern yet fits the concept: Replicas of cone-shaped glass electric insulators house the lights. Despite the challenges, Social Still is a success, says Flatt, with reserva- tion-only crowds every weekend. His daily schedule is rigorous: eight hours working on spirits production and then opening for dinner five nights a week. "It's a labor of love," he says. "You have to be passionate to do this job." District Distilling Co. Washington, D.C. "This is a new typology," declares Griz Dwight, whose D.C.-based firm GrizForm Design Architects designed the first distillery-pub in the District, located in three historical 19th-century row houses in the heart of the U Street Corridor. The hybrid offers a strong advan- tage in a competitive marketplace. "While their food is amazing and design is great, there is nothing inherently unique about a restaurant and bar, but throw a distillery into the mix, and it's something entirely new," says Dwight. The project was possible because of a law passed in 2014 that allows producers to distill and serve spirits in the same location. GrizForm Design was tapped for the assignment because the firm has designed several restaurants in town, but this job presented some unique challenges. "The distillery has a very different set of rules and functions from those for restaurants," says Dwight. The main challenge was walling off the produc- tion space with a fire barrier, creating a blast-proof room. It's also equipped with a separate HVAC system, exhaust and air exchanges. "Alcohol vapors and a spark can be a bad combo," he says, but quickly assures that the setup is quite safe. Most of the fire codes required using solid walls with few openings or windows. "But we wanted to show off the process, so we had to dig around and find the right products — fire-rated glass and doors." The custom-designed still has small portholes so that people can see the splashing liquid and boiling bubbles. The column still was so tall that a hole had to be cut into the upper floor to fit it in, where it can be seen from the bar. Photo courtesy of Social Still Photo courtesy of GrizForm Design Architects

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