THE GENIUS OF GOODMAN’S Bar is in its miraculously small footprint. Approximately 450 square feet, the bar located in the rotunda at Bergdorf Goodman (New York) is the answer to what was once replaced by a retail trend. “We always had a restaurant in our men’s store, but the trend in retail a few years ago was expanding the business,” says Mika Raja, Director Store Design and Store Planning, Bergdorf Goodman. “So we turned the restaurant into a retail space, but the feedback we always received from customers and associates was to bring back that texture to the shopping experience.”
And so Goodman’s Bar was born to become a place of repose for shoppers and visitors. Masculine but not macho, sophisticated but not unwelcoming, Raja and her team drew inspiration from European cafes with New York as an integral and important backdrop to the design.
To counteract the lack of natural light, a custom mural of Central Park was created to “bring the outside in” and wraps along the ceiling – Raja’s favorite aspect of the entire design. Backgammon tables line the rotunda as another nod to the famous park.
It’s a bespoke, custom space that may only seat 30 guests, but it’s that intimacy that offers a sense of community. “It’s not intimidating, and it feels familiar. It feels welcoming no matter what age you are, no matter your cultural background, whether you’re visiting New York, or you live in New York. It’s a place a lot of people can relate to.”
The Renovation Competition judges were smitten with the look and feel of the bar, with Billy Ip of Woods Bagot noting, “We have to consider the complexity of the project. It takes a lot of effort to visualize the design,” with fellow 2020 judge Amanda Sarver of Kroger adding, “Gorgeous bar. I’d love to hang out there.”
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