Hospitality Hot Spots: 4 New U.S. Bars and Restaurants
Touting an experience has become the norm in the fiercely competitive restaurant and bar scene. Today’s sophisticated diner desires to not only satisfy the appetite for a plate of artfully prepared food and a good cocktail, but also to be transported to an entirely unpredictable place—or era. All four of the listings here travel back in time, from a restaurant celebrating the father of modern-day surfing, to an apothecary-themed bar. Meanwhile, carefully curated design surprises range from a custom-built log-burning hearth used to prepare food to a shuffleboard court. Find this and more below.
1. Restaurant: Duke’s La Jolla.
Firm: Bill Barsons, chairman of restaurant group T S Restaurants and Hatch Design Group.
Location: La Jolla, California.
Standout: An undulating ceiling mimicking an ocean swell rolls through the lower level of Duke’s La Jolla. The 13,000-square-foot, two-level waterfront restaurant is a celebration of the man considered the father of modern-day surfing, Hawaii–native, six-time Olympic swimming and water polo medalist Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968). Photographs and memorable of the legend are sprinkled throughout the space, and offer surf enthusiasts a peek into his life. Surfboards in assorted colors and styles mounted on walls and ceilings are from a collection of original and replica surfboards donated and on loan by professional surfing legends, shapers, collectors, enthusiasts, friends, and employees. Each of the two floors offer a unique dining experience. The lower level recalls a beach house retreat, with honey-hued porcelain faux-wood plank flooring, natural shell stone, repurposed teak, and mango wood surfaces. The upper level, home to the Boomer Bar, is a tribute to a casual 60s era surfer’s garage, with wood planks on the ceiling recalling rafters. Concrete tiles here are colorful and communal bar tables encourage a meeting of surf enthusiasts. As for the current surf report, that’s viewed on both levels, from outdoor dining areas with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
2. Bar: Sundry and Vice.
Interior design: PRN Interior Design.
Architect: Drawing Department.
Standout: Sundry and Vice begins a journey into an old school apothecary with an authentic storefront. The entry’s door and glass windows are lined with gold leaf, while signage enticingly promises “Tinctures, Tonics, Remedies, Elixirs.” Inside the 1,200-square-foot-space, pine floors and Moroccan tile, and a charcoal-grey painted tin ceiling set the stage for a 20-foot bar painted a bold blue. Updated soda fountain stools serve as seating. Satin-grey French molding and wainscoting and Damask dark green wallpaper add to the sultry mood, accented by Gothic lighting. Meanwhile, interior designer, bar manager, and co-owner Julia Petiprin’s collection of antique artifacts provides an intriguing peek into 19th and 20th century medicine. Soft amber lighting illuminate vintage jars and prescription bottles and liquor is displayed from a backbar inspired by apothecary medicine shelves. However, the showstopper is wallpaper outside bathrooms: real, hand-written prescriptions for cocaine, opium, and cannabis.
3. Restaurant: The Dabney.
Firm: Edit Lab at Streetsense.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Standout: At the 19th century-themed restaurant The Dabney, mid-Atlantic cuisine is prepared as it might have been then, from a 10-foot-wide by five-foot-tall, custom-built, log-burning hearth. A nod to Chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s family roots, the period-influenced interior is rich with locally sourced antique and reclaimed materials, carefully refurbished. In the spacious dining area with rich wood flooring, a mix of chandeliers and industrial-style pendent lighting drop over spindle back chairs at custom wood tables. Brick extends from the floor to climbs walls in an additional room housing the bar, clad in antique Victorian roofing shingles meticulously descaled and refinished to remove old rust.
4. Bar: Radiator.
Firm: GrizForm Design Architects.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Standout: A neighborhood’s car manufacturing roots drives the design of another buzz-worthy addition to the D.C. bar scene. Scheduled to open this spring, cocktail bar Radiator will feature garage door-inspired walls, checkerboard floors, industrial accents, and a collection of vintage car parts. Wood and leather will clad a 57-seat bar area and 23-seat lounge with both private and communal nooks. Whiling away time will be encouraged by a large selection of games, from backgammon, dominoes, and checkers to chess. When the temperature rises, an outdoor patio will open to reveal a brick wall mounted with a whimsical assortment of birdhouses, a large fire pit, and a shuffleboard court, all under a retractable mesh overhang.