Psychedelic wallpapers, bamboo stalk partitions and an iron red 40-foot granite bar set the stylish, contemporary mood of Denver’s most buzzed about restaurant opening – Epernay Lounge.
The ambiance of Epernay, located at 1080 14th St., is a union of oceanic themes, Japanese architecture and coastal club culture.
“I’ve got the club thing figured out,” David Schaich, Epernay’s interior designer and owner of (shike)design (www.shikedesign.com), said. “Went nightclubbing all over the country, out of the country. And, now, I’m more of a restaurant-foodie guy, so here’s an opportunity to combine a nice restaurant, bar and a club all into one space.”
The 5,000-square-foot “shotgun space,” and one-time Four Seasons showroom boasts a restaurant, raw sushi bar and dance club (for more menu details check out the Peculinarian).
The lounge décor reflects Epernay’s menu by renowned Chef Duy Pham – a fusion of Japanese and modern American cuisine that celebrates the melting pot that is the U.S.
AT A GLANCE
140: guests the space can accommodate
40: foot length of the granite slab bar
3: venues Epernay has combined into 1
7: days the design took to formulate
5,000: square footage of the space
6: clubs (shike)design has planned
THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Located in the heart of Denver’s Theater District, Epernay fulfills a need for the upscale and sophisticated, a breath of fresh air.
Drawing on marine imagery, his travels to Asia and the aesthetic beauty of a glass of bubbly, Schaich wanted to craft a space that was theatrical, much like the patrons who might be visiting it.
Featuring restaurant seating, a sushi lounge, a raw sushi bar, a dance floor and a 22-seat bar, Schaich had the challenge of creating flow in an elongated space containing multiple venues.
To do so he employed ivory sheer curtains for private parties, see-through bamboo partitions down the center of the space and ceiling details like a large Chaos fabric ring suspended above the dance area.
“I’m inspired by some of the things in New York and L.A.; I go to both cities a lot to stay abreast of the scene,” Schaich said. “I do what I can. I bring in the influence of the coasts to Denver. I’m an East Coast guy myself.”
The open floor plan Schaich accomplished gives an organic feel to the lounge – perfect to transition from dinner to drinks to dance. Food may be served throughout the space.
“You can go and spend the night in one place – you have three venues in one,” Schaich said.
The airiness of the space continues with the partially-open kitchen, which allows patrons and even passersby walking on 14th Street “to see the chefs in working action,” in the artistic process of making sushi, Schaich said.
Guests can be in the center of it all and eat sushi at cocktail tables, or they can get more intimate, order bottle service and chocolate-dipped strawberries, and rent a tall booth for their own little bubble.
The environment is conducive for any night out – a dinner date, a birthday with friends or a nightcap of Champagne or Sake after a show at The Denver Center for Performing Arts (Epernay boasts the largest Champagne and Sake menus in the city).
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
The themes of Champagne (Epernay, the namesake, is located in the region of Champagne, France), Japanese motifs and the sea were incorporated into every minute detail.
From the outside, Champagne patterns are visible on the windows, which are covered in glittering frosted glass. Inside on the dance floor is a floor-to-ceiling abstract of red Champagne, glass globe lights that, yes, resemble bubbles, as well shimmering hanging teardrop pendant lights that look like, you guessed it, Champagne flutes.
Schaich wanted to touch on Japanese design, yet in an understated way. Japanese calligraphy chairs, a pergola and the bar’s soffit ceiling, covered in a glossy tin-like material with a floral motif, all contribute to an Asian-inspired feel.
From there, the waves take over. Recycled terracotta aquamarine roof tiles cover a wall creating an illusory swell, while 1970s-esque wallpapers in oceanic patterns and murals of underwater photographs cover the rest.
“I try to use reclaimed elements as much as I can in my projects,” Schaich said.
Epernay’s ultramodern, imaginative design is sure to please and should be much anticipated just as much as the cuisine itself.