When Calgary’s Concorde Group decided to close the doors of indie bar Local 510 in favour of a fresh new concept, big, bright changes were the first to-dos. “The building had really good bones to work with,” says Kelly Morrison, principal of Frank Architecture, “but one of the major moves they wanted to do was to open up the front elevation of the building.” The 90-year-old-space had been occupied by a steady stream of bars for the last third of its life, and was a bank before those. The newest venture, Lulu Bar, was inspired by west coast Polynesia—and the dark, bunker-like space would not do.

sfsdfsdPhoto by Jamie Anholt

After a thumbs up from a structural consultant, three 10-by-9-foot operable garage doors were installed on the east exterior wall. An extra window was added behind the bar area. Now Lulu was flooded with natural light—and to ensure the restaurant stayed bright but not chilly, Morrison focused on feel. “The space is quite small, and we couldn’t section it off to make it feel cozy,” she says. “So instead, we introduced materials that had more of a tactile nature.” Case in point: the bar, which is constructed from clay tile, detailed with carved mahogany reeding and topped with a dark, earthy stone. Behind it, imperfect handmade ceramic tiles laid with wide grout lines give the window area warmth. An eclectic furniture collection sourced from local vintage shops creates a welcoming seating area, and a new wood-burning oven kickstarts the coziness. “When you walk in, you can see that fire, but you can smell it, too—so really, all your senses are at play,” says Morrison.

adfdasPhoto by Jamie Anholt

Behind the garage doors, the patio’s four-foot walls were removed, providing the once-enclosed space with more fluidity. Inside and outside are always connected, through open doors on summer days and large windows on winter days. After sunset, a custom light by local lighting company Stock and Custom illuminates the bar area, and found lamps brighten up the entry lounge. It’s an eclectic mix that feels happenstance rather than matchy, with personal touches and textures that foster friendly vibes. “You feel like you’re not just walking into any restaurant—it almost feels like someone’s home, really,” says Morrison.

dafsadasdPhoto by Jamie Anholt