I recently completed a bourbon bar for a client. This traditional style pub was a hit from the time the pencil hit the paper to design.
When the clients from Avon Lake, Ohio called to schedule a consultation, they didn’t give me too much information about what they were looking. The initial conversation was short and to the point of when and not as much as what.
While driving to the clients house, I didn’t think much about it because before going into the space, I try and keep an open mind. From there, I let the client share their thoughts, ideas, needs, & wants.
I was welcomed at the door and led down into the basement. Typically, people use the basement as the space they want me to design a custom bar. The area is usually obvious, and this works well for me because it’s more or less a blank canvas. The final product contains an intimate feel that has the coziness of a warm blanket and an escalated feeling of content.
As I turned the corner, the glare of not a few, but a lot of bourbon and whiskey bottles smiled at me as they sit a top of an awful formica countertop. The clients express their love for bourbons, whiskey, wine, & craft beer, specifically Sibling Revelry http://siblingrevelrybrewing.com/
Listen, I can build the hell out of a custom bar. I can design you a bar beyond anything you can dream, but I admitting, don’t know a hell of a lot about alcohol. I drink it, I love trying new things, but it was the bar aspect of drinking that hooked my passion. Iv’e completely connected with the individual feelings of a brewery, the isolation of a classy hotel bar, the musk of a dive bar, the exclusiveness of a private bar, tequila bars where nobody speaks the same language, and my favorite, the airy open bar where warm breeze swirls the scent of perfect in the air.
“What are you looking for?” I asked. It seemed as if the client had a good idea what they were looking for, however, the words they wanted to use to describe it, were nowhere to be found. I didn’t say much, I took good notes, and listened. In the meantime, was taking measurements and all along, tried to comprehend how in the hell I was going to fit the bar they want, in the space they have.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a cluster of minions reporting my design demands to an architect that makes it all work for me. I have to be careful, I repeat, I should be more careful what I tell someone what is possible. Anyways, I was determined to give them what they want and within the principles I adhere to. e.g. specific lengths, widths etc.
My initial design went off without a hitch. Besides a couple tweaks, the design was exactly what they were looking for. I felt, for some reason, they were looking for a place that felt quiet, a feeling of reward after working really hard at something and now your’e feeling that reward…followed by the calm a glass of bourbon gives you at the half way point.
We removed a section of wall and the new face of that wall was in fact the face of the back bar while the custom bar cabinets extended into a storage room. The bar and back bar was constructed of a pile of solid maple. The stain color was a deep, rich, burgundy….perfect, and the wood features were mostly a raised panel design that was modern traditional and adhered to the the clean line approach I sign with.
Among other details such as the kegerator & wine cooler, it was the glass shelves holding all of the spirits were features that gave the function life. As you can see in the picture, the bottles are in fact the art here, while the shelves, just the easel and the bar is the studio.
Thoughts on whiskey: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.” \
It’s what I love, it’s what I give to you, the client I enjoy the most.