Client: Chef Paul Kahan, One Off Hospitality
Project: The Publican
Location: Chicago, IL
The Publican celebrates the culture of eating and drinking establishments most known for serving beer; the brasserie, the pub, the saloon, and the beer hall. Historic design elements are interpreted in a contemporary way with every gesture, form, and material relating to this cultural heritage. The dining room is given a grand beer hall volume with spherical frosted glass and brass globe lights clustered to create a cloud of light above an impressive 90-seat communal table – making a common saloon element into an abstract hanging sculpture. The lights, in conjunction with extra tall perimeter chairs, create a sense of enclosure at the great table. Extra tall booths with swinging doors give a sense of privacy and were inspired by the many forms of privacy screens and private booths common to 19th century British public houses. Custom monumental pull handles in walnut are mounted to the six polished brass beer towers – reminiscent of the manual beer pump pull levers. The backdrop to the bar is a dramatic wall of illuminated beer glasses displayed on glass shelves contrasted with robust brass fittings. A communal lavatory is located in a cubic room with butter and orange ornate wallpaper abstractly run up the walls and onto the ceiling. Drinking establishments of all cultures have a tradition of displaying curiosities for decoration and visual interest. Here, a selection of continental beer antiques including a barrel pump, a brasseur’s (brewer’s) mash making tool, a wood mold for hand blowing beer glasses (with an in progress hand blown glass), and a variety of beer mugs are artfully displayed in recessed wall niches.