Good Company: The Story of the Shakespeare Bar
Cincinnati Shakespeare Bar
To Project Types
Cincinnati, Ohio | 24,640 SF
Unlike other bars, where patrons are served throughout the night, in a theatrical setting, the bar serves everyone within a couple brief windows of time: 30-60 minutes of pre-show drinks and the rush of people at intermission. With three optimal serving positions (each within reach of all the necessary supplies), Cincinnati Shakespeare’s bar accommodates lines on every side so drinks can keep flowing. But it’s the material quality of the bar that really makes it stand out. Reclaimed barn wood, which echoes the pattern of the board-formed concrete walls of the theater, brings a softness and warmth to the building’s interior, making it a fitting center of pre-performance activity.
Working closely with the millworkers, we created mock-ups to convey our intention of continuing the rough, weathered barn look on the face of the bar before transitioning to a smooth countertop.
This also allowed us to seize upon a happy accident when we discovered how visually compelling it was when the same piece of wood that formed the vertical base of the bar turned the corner to form the countertop. The time required to tend to these kinds of details could have had a substantial cost impact, but we worked with the millworkers to streamline their process and reduce labor costs. At the same time, the mock-ups proved a valuable fundraising tool, as we adapted them to help the theater’s artistic director entice a sponsor for this piece of the project.