This is a bar for powerful operators. We thought the best use of that power was not its application to fancy super-venues, but to special, humble places. We set out to make a room that would not appear in dezeen, but that would simply heave every day with bearded men, silken-limbed women, hip and happy grandmas. We wanted richness without opulence, good food without expense accounts, and roughness without the cliched adornment of spun aluminum, jielde or industrial hi-bay lights. In doing so we hoped we would shape an energetic and inclusive future from this desolate little corner.

Nothing here is off the usual shelf. Most things are improvised. Tables are made from shipping container ply. Upended buckets hang from black cords. Dappled light is projected through perforated steel, grazing rough brick walls. Dark fan blades stir thick, lazy air. The kitchen glows red, through cages full of beans and cola. Everything is smothered in colour; the colour is smothered in pictures. Paint is cracked and crazed, the ceiling entombed behind twenty dollars worth of butchers’ paper. Fierce eyes stare from the tattooed sculls of beautiful women. Bullfighters poise in perpetual grace, bulls bleed in perpetual agony. This is a room shaped from emotion, not the arbitrary will of its designers.

This is the cheapest room we’ve ever made; the most successful room we’ve ever made. One builder, one painter, and some stuff the owner had left over from last year. Empower them to do good creative work, and help focus and curate their production.


Cheshire is driving the delivery of Mexico as multi-site operations across Australia and New Zealand.


2012 NZIA Auckland Architecture Award

2012 Best Awards : Bronze

Photography by Jeremy Toth