From artist-designed glassware to exquisite taps in meticulously designed spaces, Pittsburgh bars are using imaginative interior design to evoke feelings and transport diners to other places.
Well-thought-out design shows a commitment to customers, said Kyra Tucker, program director of interior architecture programs at Chatham University.
“Somebody spent many hours, many nights dreaming these concepts up, and it’s something to be appreciated,” Tucker said. “Design is art.”
Especially for bars in pedestrian-friendly areas, a unique facade or a garage door that opens can draw people in, she said.
Some customers will notice and appreciate the undertaking of carefully crafted design. And yes, that means more than making the space look like a flip from HGTV.
“They didn’t just throw up a bunch of subway tile and some reclaimed wood,” she said.
For Adam Henry, co-owner and cocktail director at Squirrel Hill tiki bar Hidden Harbor, design is key. He relishes the chance to serve as host at the bar and watch people’s reactions when they first walk inside. “I feel like I was on vacation,” is a common reaction on customer comment cards.
“I suspect that they’re responding in part at least to the design. If people are feeling that they’ve been provided with a feeling of an escape, then we’ve succeeded,” he said.
Before it was the tiki paradise it is today, Hidden Harbor was a real estate office with drop ceilings, cubicles, carpet and…