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  • Kacy Middleton

Brass Bar Top

A couple weeks ago we finished a very fun and challenging project that we are extremely proud of, the brass bar top for Beatnik Bar and Restaurant.

Located at Chicago + Ashland, Beatnik features a world fusion of decor, food and drinks.

We lended our talents to the all brass bar with brass nail head details and puzzle piece like edges.

All projects start with the raw materials and a plan. Featured above is a small piece of the very large sheets of brass and the bar top drawing.

The drawings called for clean cut edges that pieced together like a puzzle. We choose this approach because we were trying to avoid the typical seams that sheets like these have when they but up against one another. Sheets of brass come in standard sizes and the bar top was too long for just one sheet so we had to address the seams in a creative way.

We wanted the wood bar top structure to be completely wrapped in brass which meant breaking the edges to provide crisp 90 degree angles. We also had to take into account the step down for the drink rails and how much "wrap around" material we needed.

Because the seam details were so unique and well addressed we wanted to highlight them even more. We did this by outlining each seam with brass nail heads. This also added an antique handmade feel. From right out of the gate we had a good understanding of the transformations this brass would take over time. The client knew, and was very excited about the aging process. The brass nail heads would just offer more surface area that would patina over the upcoming years.

Adding the nails was a fun part of the project. Each team member tackled a seam and the repetitive motions provided a nice break from the rush that we normally experience in the shop. Sometimes its nice to sit down, laugh with your coworkers/friends and hammer 500 nails.

We knew that we had an awesome opportunity to do something amazing with this project. We were allowed more creativity and freedom than we have been before and this project was the perfect level of challenging to really push us to problem solve and provide a unique show stopper of a piece.

We figured while we were at it we would design and fabricate a completely custom and unique to that bar, drink rail. Drink rails are usually pretty standard and do not feature any major design choices. We couldn't imagine pairing the brass bar top with a standard drink rail. We took design elements of the space and incorporated them into a custom cut drink rail that will only ever be featured in Beatnik. This is an element we will be able to provide other clients in the future but this design is Beatnik's.

We decided early on that the best way to get a tightly fitting bar top that was made up of multiple pieces of brass is to fabricate it in the shop and transport it in one piece. We called up a handful of friends and we all took the trip.

Our good friend Jason brought his trailer and we wrapped it up tight.

It was a nerve wracking install because the bar top was so large but getting it there in one piece was absolutely the right choice. We couldn't have done it without a little help from our friends tho.

This all brass bar top was one of our most fun projects so far. If you would have asked us how fun it was while we were fabricating it, our answer may have been a little different. It was a challenging and stressful project because we had a vision we needed to bring to life. It all came together in the end and we are very proud of the end results.

If you haven't made time to stop by Beatnik, make it happen sooner than later. Snap a pic of your cocktail on the bar and shoot us a picture!

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