“To forget about life for a while”

Piano Man” by Billy Joel

We gotta get out of this place

My restaurant was designed for people to get away, to be pampered, and to relax, especially in the middle of our cold Alberta winters. It was an environment to promote escapism and to forget about life for a while.

Offering good food and drink is a basic with any restaurant, but the ambience can take it to another level.

As much as I complained about the expansive premises I had to renovate, working with the blank canvas was intriguing. Not only did the high ceilings already have skylights, but once we removed the years and years of paint, classic brick and rich wood were also revealed. Possibilities to do something breathtaking were endless, provided there was money in the bank.

So, how did we accomplish this diversion?

An open space restaurant with wood, plants, and a waterfall was created. It was an oasis. The color scheme was a regal blend of burgundy & navy blue. Poinsettias were added at Christmas. The music we played was either classical or light jazz.

Beans & Barley Bar - The Old Barley Lounge

The bar was comprised of wood beams from a 100-year-old barn in Ontario and coupled with a local river rock fireplace. It was beyond cozy. We burned more than a cord of wood per month during the winter. The music in the bar was eclectic and as the evening progressed was more up-tempo to enhance the mood.

A retreat

Similar to the holodeck on Star Trek, we offered a retreat for a brief time that had wellness properties. Something that dining out will always provide and is sorely missed right now.

Finally, the clock in the front-end station was not visible to the customers. Time was now irrelevant. The departure from the routine began when patrons arrived.