What was the overall design vision/inspiration for the project?
As lame as it sounds, we kinda let the building be what it once was. As times goes on, building materials change drastically and when enough time elapses, older building materials start to take-on charm and qualities that really stick out for better or for worse. Take exposed brick for example, exposed brick was historically a sign of “lower class” as it was traditionally covered with plaster, paint and wallpaper in order to hide the raw, brutal and “unfinished” quality that brick contains. Fast forward to today where people will go out of their way to buy a house or apartment with exposed brick. We knew there was quite a bit of beauty and charm behind all of the cheap, careless crap that covered the buildings bones and it was the bones of the building that would allow us to create a warm, old-world setting that help bring authenticity to the vision. I think a lot of the success of the interior came from being resourceful and purposely re-incoporating a lot of the building materials that were removed/altered from the building when we took over ownership. We were overly cautious in what was removed and what was retained for reuse, and we found a reuse for almost everything. We commissioned local assemblage artist and friend, Gordon Graff, to build the main bar. He was able to use the floor joist that were removed from the brewery-side as the top of the bar and was also able to incorporate a lot of the wall studs and tin that was removed from the brewery side.
What thoughts/decisions went into the layout?
We put quite a bit of thought into the layout and floorplan, one of the biggest decisions was to nest the brewery into the basement. Our architect, Hector Baras, and friend, Gordon Graff, helped convince us (didn’t take much) it was the right thing to do. The floor was punky and rotten, so we would have to replace the floor, and we loved the idea that customers would get really cool vantage points into the brewery. Another big design decision was to centrally locate the bar and permit guests to order from either side of the building, this was a pivotal moment in the design process and created a really cool dynamic at the bar, allows guests to see through to the other side and created a great platform for a projector. The overarching goal was to be transparent throughout the space, so the open kitchen, open brewery and large open garage doors were all intentional. The challenge with the garage doors was to interject something very contemporary and balance it with a facade that felt like it belonged on Front Street.
What about the graphics and decor?
The graphics and decor are a work-in-progress. We were able to create a few original graphics before opening our doors, most of the graphics feature local geography or are some reference to beer. One of the biggest breakthroughs with the decor was reaching out to Gillinder Glass, they agreed to let us use some of their runway lights which we hung as pendant lamps. These beautiful globes are used on runways across the globe and are produced right here in Port Jervis. All of the tables, handrails and flight paddles were made using wood removed from the building, which was just another way to maintain an authentic vibe. We are very eager to create some new graphics and artwork for the remainder of the wall space.