A new vision for a wine bar in downtown San Francisco, a wine-loving region, Press Club started as a business plan hatched by part-owner Andrew Chun at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. The premise: Provide a space where employees of select local wineries can showcase their wares in a setting that will keep bringing patrons back for more.
Enter Baldauf Catton von Eckartsberg Architects—which made a name for itself as retail architect for the San Francisco Ferry Building renovation and other projects—and a design team led by principal Christian von Eckartsberg, a fellow Dartmouth alum. “This had to be a place to not only capture the tours and business travelers,” von Eckartsberg says. “It is critically important that this is a place that locals feel great about.” A small retail space on the ground level gives way to a 7,000-square-foot basement level with a tapas bar and two wine halls for tasting.
The resulting space is an urban expression of the wine country, pairing natural materials—black walnut wood, cork wall and ceiling coverings—with more industrial finishes such as concrete and steel. This simple materials palette is carried throughout the space. Wood appears on walls, the bars, and soffits, while stainless steel appears on everything from the stair rail assembly to the countertop of the cash wrap by the entry.
Programming the space was a challenge, especially given that von Eckartsberg was “sensitive to not having this turn into the wine ‘food court’ of San Francisco.” The space—which began as a raw, open 12,000 square feet—is delineated by the use of soffits, area rugs, and wine racks to define the tasting bars in the wine halls, the two lounges, and the tapas bar. The only closed-off room that the public can access is a private dining room at the rear of the basement level. To reduce noise, a black acoustic blanket is attached to the ceiling above the soffits to dampen the inevitable echoes of a space with very little soft-surfacing.
Each of eight winery stations is defined by subtle stainless steel signs and bottle displays. Behind each station, a lit display case shows the wines available. And no cash registers clutter up the place—all purchases are totaled up and paid for at the door, adding to the exclusive club feel.
So sidle up to Chateau Montelena’s station, grab a glass of chardonnay, and enjoy being part of the in crowd.
Read the full article: http://www.architectmagazine.com/retail-projects/press-club.aspx