A beautiful restaurant interior can make your meal tastier and your wine more interesting. Here are some the world’s most impressive bar and restaurant interiors. From the sublime to the strange, we list 10 of the best, starting right here in SA.
1. Marble Restaurant, Johannesburg
Winner of the Eat Out 2016 Boschendal Style Award, design and drama marry in this new restaurant. A grand wood-fired grill from Michigan provides dramatic open-kitchen displays, while retro-influenced décor from top SA designers create a unique and palpably South African interior. Situated in Keyes Art Mile (the growing art and food hub of Rosebank) this unique space is filled with larger-than-life Krisjan Rossouw photographs with a Tretchi-influence,
7 000 hand-painted ceramic wall bricks in flame blue by Mervyn Gers, a ceramic installation by Peter Mthombeni, and a striking Damien Grivas cement wall texture behind the marble bar, with a mid-century feel.
2. Shortmarket Club, Cape Town
This 2016 Condé Nast Gourmet Restaurant Awards’ Best New Restaurant incorporates vintage retro and contemporary industrial, not trying too hard to be either. Fifties light features and leather banquet seating is juxtaposed with grey concrete floors and exposed air vents. But these take a back seat to the two major design features: beautiful old stained glass doors from Argentina sourced by OnSite Gallery, and the pastel-tinted paper butterfly collection taking up the whole back wall. Copper, dark grey and smoky aubergine hues set a moody scene for the taste sensations created by top chef Luke Dale-Roberts.
3. The Jane, Antwerp, Belgium
You’ll find one of Belgium’s trendiest restaurants and bars in an old chapel. Food plays just one part of the experience and the resident DJs, including Head Chef Nick Glasses, are positioned where the organ once stood. The trance sounds echoing through the double-volume space are as mesmerising as any Gregorian chant. A huge skull art illumination and stained glass windows—the likes of which you’ve never seen in a church before—all collaborate to make this a fully sensory event.
4. Raw, Taipei
This is where food meets art. The 65-metre long bar is a meld of traditional craftsmanship and the ship-building techniques used in a free-form wooden sculpture assembled piece by piece into space-age functional art. The artistic and gastronomic tension is the inspiration behind the name RAW, with Chef André Chiang’s dishes providing the muse for colours, tones and minimalism. The borderless interior and inspired lighting cleverly incorporates practicality into a highly designed space.
5. H.R. Giger Museum Bar, Gruyères, Switzerland
Welcome to the futuristic world of surrealist artist H.R. Giger and his unnerving vision of the genetically modified human form. It is certainly one of the strangest bars in the world, housed within a 400-year-old chateau-turned-art-museum in the picturesque Swiss Alps foothills. Ungodly cathedral-style vertebrae arches reach for vaulted ceilings, making it feel as if you have succumbed to the dangerous allure of an unknown future that is part alien film (for which Giger created sets), part Goth style, with smatterings of biblical themes, housed in a version of Frankenstein’s Castle.
6. Ozone Bar, Hong Kong
Breathe a much better class of ozone at 1 608ft above sea level on the, wait for it, 118th floor of the exclusive Ritz Carlton Hotel bar. Only a helicopter flip could give you better views over this city that never sleeps. Ozone Bar
shines luminously in blue, with a night-club-like anonymity that will make you feel invincible at the highest bar in the world. When you’re next in town, try one of their signature cocktails along with exotic Asian tapas, while enjoying sweet DJ beats.
7. Nando’s, Harrogate, England
Kudos to South African brand Nando’s for winning Best Fast/Casual Interior Design in the global Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. This brilliant British-African collaboration, in England’s historic town of Harrogate, is layered with warmth and texture on the bare bones of an original 60s building. Kenyan Maasai chandeliers strung with orange and blue beads and African artworks, patterns and wood cladding, along with Earthcote paint, make this unmistakably Africa abroad.
8. Bar Raval, Barcelona
Which city comes to mind when you think of significant creative design? Barcelona of course! Find it in Bar Ravel, in the Little Italy district, where a sculpted mahogany bar flows like treacle that has escaped from a jar on the top shelf and runs down the walls and into any space it can find. It hardens into a super-smooth surface of lattice patterns backlit by windows, there’s a dash of art nouveaux, a hint of Gaudi and some three-dimensional tattoo designs (inspired perhaps by the well-ornamented chefs) and is wholly original.
9. The Trailer Park Lounge and Grill, New York
Kitch is cool and there ain’t nowhere as strikingly kitchy as The Trailer Park Lounge and Grill in Chelsea, Manhattan. By rights it should be in Memphis or Vegas, but if Madonna, Debby Harry and Ethan Hawke give it the nod, then it’s gotta be on trend. Amongst the 50s Rockabilly memorabilia are Dolly Parton dolls, pink plastic flamingos, bowling alley props and jars of fluffy marshmallows. Elvis on the jukebox, a double-wide hamburger and a wickedly strong margarita at the Tacky Tiki Bar and you’re in trailer park heaven.
10. The Dandelyan Bar, Mondrian London Hotel, UK
Dress up for this swanky bar on London’s South Bank, winner of the World’s Best Cocktail Menu 2016. Think jewel pink, purple and emerald green, but in sumptuous velvet, leather and marble. The atmosphere of this golden-lit Tom Dixon interior is as sophisticated and intoxicating as the ground breaking cocktail menu. Each ingenious concoction comes with instructions as to the best time of the day to drink it. What time is it now?