When designers and their clients put their heads together to come up with the perfect space, they usually start with the basics: aesthetic, materials and so on. But the plan for Superflux Cabana, a new Victoria restaurant from Vancouver's cult favourite Superflux Beer, started with a playlist, a few photos, and a famed American journalist. 

€œWe talked about what induces the feeling of escapism,€ remembers Kate Snyder, principal of Studio Roslyn. A lineup of songs (including €œMondo Bongo€ by Joe Strummer and The Mescalaros and tunes from Jungle and Sault) brought about vacation memories for the Roslyn team as well as Superflux founders Matt Kohlen and Adam Henderson.

Images of folks gambling in Las Vegas in the €˜60s and €˜70s stirred up the nostalgia, and they started thinking about the sort of place where Hunter S. Thompson might have had a drink. €œWe went down a bit of a rabbit hole,€ says Snyder. 

The 115-seat restaurant feels cozy and tropical, like a chic but casual hotel lobby or an old-school watering hole. Snyder describes the space's low ceilings as a bit tricky, design-wise, but the team decided to embrace them in full with rotary cut oak panels and different shades of teal and blue paint. €œIn a space this small, the ceiling is kind of the most prominent thing,€ says Snyder, €œso our team considered the ceiling design as much as any other surface.€  

Different textures (the abstract tropical carpet, bent wood pendant lights, and woven drapery) provide a beautiful design element, but also a functional noise-controlling quality. €œAn open-concept space like this can act as an echo chamber, so we wanted to address that,€ explains the designer.

Earth-toned custom vinyl flooring mirrors the ceiling's wood detail, and the restaurant's main focal point€”the bar, of course€”is U-shaped and paneled with fabric. €œWe drew inspiration from old-school, smoke-filled whisky bars,€ says Snyder. 

Cheeky custom art, including a Birth of Venus painting (with Venus modestly dressed in a branded shirt) dots the walls, and a stack of Hunter S. Thompson books lies by the banquette seating. The banquettes plus bar stools, lounge chairs and patio seating add up to plenty of options for guests to settle in.

€œMy favourite part about this space is you feel like you could be anywhere,€ says Snyder. “It’s warm, rich and sophisticated as much as it is quirky and playful.€ 

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