From Claustrophobic To Cool: Transform An Old, Brick Fronted Bar Into An Inviting, Glass-Fronted Watering Hole
If you have purchased an old bar in a cool and transforming neighborhood, then you have a big opportunity. You have an established presence, a great interior space to work with, and maybe even a big, walnut bar. However, it's probably a good idea to transform the old facade if it's the sort of solid brick face intimidating look that is common with old neighborhood bars. Many of these bars were the type to have either a single small window or no window at all. If you want to turn it into a hip space where people can hang out, have a good time, and not feel like they are in a dark and claustrophobic bar, then you should definitely open it up. Here are some ideas.
Irish Bar? Incorporate That Into A Dark Wood and Glass Front
If the bar is an Irish bar and you've made an agreement with the prior owner to keep the name, then you might want to take advantage of the Irish theme and transform the front into a classic wood and glass front, as you will see all over Dublin and Galway, not to mention Boston, NYC, and Chicago. The wood should be dark (dark blacks or deep mahogany colors) and the windows need to be large. The windows should be large enough so that the people inside can see out, and vice versa. Also, consider having the bar's name stenciled in gold lettering on a large wood plaque that will hang above the entrance.
Modern Look For A New Clientele
If you are not going for the Irish bar look and would prefer something a bit more modern, then consider a huge glass front. This is popular with modern lounge style bars, where part of the thrill is in being seen. People heading to these types of bars don't want a big brick facade that they can disappear behind. The support beams can be made ultra thin, with only a few steel beams spread across the glass. Or, if you are looking to retain some of the vibe of the old place to help tie your new bar in with the old neighborhood, you could have the construction crew surround the thin steel support beams with brick. You could even have them salvage the old brick and use it. The steel would support and hold the huge glass front, but the brick would give the place a nice look. You can choose a lightly tinted glass so that it remains a bit dark inside during the early afternoon, but it's not totally obscured and dark at night. You want passersby to see the interior; it will help create an open and larger feel to the place.