South Lake Union, Seattle, WA

Distinguishing themselves as “your local tavern,” with more than 50 beers on tap and an aggressively diverse menu with everything from the typical pub fare to Mexican and Asian cuisine, the South Lake Union location for Henry’s Tavern features a lounge area for cozy after-work cocktails, shuffleboard area, side lounge for private meetings or events, as well as bar and dining areas. The new restaurant also caters to the surrounding tech crowd with the addition of a “grab-and-go” takeout counter for customers looking for a quick meal on the run, and the ability to section off various parts of the restaurant for private meetings or parties.

Given the seemingly endless food possibilities offered via the Tavern's menu, a kitchen that could handle not only the volume but the variety was a necessity. But it was also designed as an open element to the rest of the restaurant, keeping with the open, flowing layout that connects every corner of the space.

In collaboration with branding studio Hum Creative, who worked with Henry’s on their new identity concept, graphics, signage, and murals, Atelier Drome worked on the Tavern’s architectural re-branding. The interior design reflects the new branding, taking the comfort and familiarity of a traditional tavern and giving it an update to appeal to the SLU happy hour crowd. A mix of warm woods and metals play off the darker finishes, while plush modern lounge seating and upholstered banquettes make it an inviting space to watch the game or decompress after work.

Guests are greeted by the familiar Henry’s Tavern logo, but with a modern, updated twist. In lieu of the signature, industrial brick Henry’s is traditionally known for, the sign is painted on gray tiles set in a brick-style pattern to connect the old with the new. It maintains the Tavern’s branding while paying homage to the modern environs of a thriving tech industry bustling in the surrounding city blocks.

The dropped ceilings over food and bar areas create pockets of intimate space that also help to break up the otherwise large space, and wood planks inset to align with sightlines through the space add unexpected visual interest. The ceiling, originally coated in white fireproofing material, was simply painted black to take advantage of the acoustic balance the material provided while allowing the ceiling to fade away.

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While employing a smooth, open flow throughout, thoughtful arrangements also act to distinguish particular uses of the space to customers looking for a specific tavern experience. One area, set off the main dining area, features high-back chairs and rich upholstery evoking a classic, old-club-style lounge. The bar area highlights elements of raw steel and a backlit liquor storage area. To further reinforce the connection with the outdoor space, the bar area uses sliding window walls to bring the energy of the outdoors into the entirety of the restaurant. Looking ahead to the nicer weather of spring, the outdoor patio will come alive with a fire pit, wrap around bench and tables and chairs for outdoor dining.

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From the modern wood ceiling elements and lighting to the more traditional patterns and colors, this mix of styles and materials brings richness and layers of texture. Hum's mural, which greets visitors in the elevator lobby after descending from the office tower above or arriving from the subterranean parking, engages with styled directional signage and convey an eclectic playfulness while reinforcing Henry's updated branding. But known staples such as the frost rail and plenty of screens for game day remain firmly intact.

PROJECT NAME Henry's Tavern, South Lake Union

CONTRACTOR Wilcox Construction

BRANDING Hum Creative