1. Let in the light and air
Bars tend to be dimly-lit and closed-in as if they’re hiding some kind of dark secret. This one, in contrast, is open and light. Located in Melbourne, the Howler Bar was designed by Splinter Society Architecture to make the most of the local area’s industrial chic as well as natural materials and plants. We’re not sure if the bike stand on the wall is for patrons’ use or some form of artwork.
2. Make a grand entrance
This is my local, the Montage Lounge Bar in Pt Chevalier, Auckland. I’ve been coming here since I was a child. But don’t get me wrong – back then it was a ‘picture theatre’, the Ambassador. The owners of the Montage have wisely left the exquisite wrought-iron doors and most of the interior décor in place, giving the place a classic look.
3. Use colour to create a vibrant atmosphere
This is the iconic DeBretts Hotel in Shortland Street, Auckland. It was transformed a few years ago from a dingy old pub by opening up the bar with big glass bifold doors, colour glass panels and modern paint colours. As you can see, the result is that DeBretts is now a downtown hotspot for people of all ages (provided they’re over 18, of course!).
4. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be cool
This bar proves it. Complete with ancient Persian rugs and slightly beaten-up, mismatched chairs and tables, the Volstead in Christchurch exudes tons of shabby chic.
5. Use lighting to create mood
With violet tones and clever back- and down-lighting, the Ozone Bar in Hong Kong creates a sleek, sophisticated, yet elegant vibe.
6. Make the most of your home’s natural advantages
I took this shot earlier this year from the bar on the rooftop of The Zone in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Even 51 floors up, the building is dwarfed by the Petronus Towers, which until not so long ago were the world’s tallest buildings, and the KL Sky Tower (just out of shot to the right – I never said I was the world’s best photographer). The owners of The Zone put in an infinity swimming pool and fitness centre on the roof, but for some reason didn’t think of a bar and restaurant until this year. What a waste of one of the world’s most spectacular night skylines!
Don’t make the same mistake with your renovation – make sure you plan to make the most of your home’s natural advantages, including the sun and any view or outlook you may have.