Archive for the ‘ Details ’ Category

Feeling (up) Blue

The greyness of Vancouver has been wearing me down, and I was in need of a quick visual pick-me-up.

The destination: Wild Rice (117 West Pender Street)

Despite ten-plus years in operation, I don’t ever recall stepping foot inside. And when I did last week I was immediately drawn to the bar. Sure, those that know me may be saying, “Of course you were,” implying my desire for all things boozy, but I am talking about the actual bar–the counter; the strip that holds one’s cocktail.

At best guess, the illuminated turquoise acrylic slab stretched for at least 25+ feet through the majority of the main floor. It was slick and glossy and oh boy, was it blue. I couldn’t keep my eyes or hands off it. You see, when something appeals to me I resort to a tactile approach to gain a fuller experience. I know, it may seem odd to some, but I am a kinesthetic learner and I indulged; I ran my hands across the top and my fingers swept the side. I knocked on it, I pinched its edges and caressed the points where the shades of turquoise faded with the intensity of the lights underneath. It really is a thing of beauty.

The bar at Wild Rice (photo by a.baye)

Some colour theorists say that the colour turquoise gives a calming yet invigorating sense and heightens levels of creativity and sensitivity. Perhaps the latter point explains how I found myself feeling up the blue bar, but I wonder why my date was in such haste to end the evening?

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Hooked

Photo by Amanda Baye (hipstamtic:John S lens/Ina's 1969 film)

There is one thing that makes this diner happy; one simple five-lettered word–HOOKS. Yes, hooks. Single-pronged, double-pronged, curvy, or industrial; I don’t care.  I don’t care how they are fastened or what hip shade they are painted, but for the love of god, give me a hook.

I hear the cynisism, but let me explain, actually let me set the stage.  October in Vancouver. Torrents of rain. I walk 10 minutes and arrive at a bar/bistro. I’m wearing a coat, carrying an umbrella and toting some form of bag. I will most likely arrive in a slightly soggy state.  All I want now is a place to hunker down for a libation or two, maybe more. I refuse to put my over-priced umbrella in the stand for the public to borrow and so I take it with me. Although I have shaken off most of the rain, it’s still wet. I find a seat and there are four things on my mind; get out of my coat, put down my purse, stash my umbrella and pour me a drink.

The trouble is with the first three things–where? I am not going to drape my damp coat over the stool to sit on. And if there isn’t a coat rack near by, where do I put it? I am not going to put my purse on the floor–god knows what has been there before–or put it on the bar, especially if I anticipate eating. The simple, three-dollar-a-pop solution is a hook.  The coat, purse and umbrella can be neatly tucked away leaving me dry, comfortable and ready to imbibe.

The great thing about hooks is just not in the utilitarian concept, but how much of a message a little detail can convey to its patrons. When I see hooks installed under a bar it speaks volumes. It gives me a sense of confidence in the establishment. I immediately recognize that the owner (or the designer) has thought about my needs as a guest (not customer) and they have anticipated what it will take to make me comfortable. It is almost as if that little gadget acts as a precursor. I know that there was deliberate effort put into that hook which leads me to believe that those small touches and conscious considerations will spill over into the other areas of service–or at least one can hope.

Amazing how much of a powerful message three bucks and a bit of elbow grease will get you. A solid investment that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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