Western Living Magazine
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How designer Erica Colpitts created the dramatic, cozy Bartholomew Bar in Yaletown.
When you’re launching a new restaurant in a 75-by-16-foot space, every choice must be precise—including selecting a designer. For restaurateur Michael Gayman, that choice was easy: he called on his sister, interior designer Erica Colpitts, to transform the narrow Yaletown spot into an indulgent wine, cocktail and charcuterie bar. The pair had worked together on two previous restaurants. “It’s a really wonderful collaboration,” says Colpitts. “We just kind of fall into sync.”
That collaborative flow is evident in the comprehensive, sophisticated design of Bartholomew Bar: rich colours, warm wood tones and a massive, custom-made concrete bar greet you under the ambient glow of glass and gold mood lighting. “We wanted it to feel like you could be in any hotel bar in Europe,” says Colpitts. The designer brought in patterned Turkish tiles, custom-designed wall mouldings and varied levels of lighting—including dozens of candles—to create a richness and elegance that envelops patrons while putting them at ease with thoughtful, casual finishes (think: soft faux-leather booth seating and planed-down original wooden beams).
Gayman wanted the full kitchen at the front, behind the bar, so that guests could interact with the chefs as they prepared the food and assembled the intricate charcuterie boards. Near the back, patrons can sink into the sofa-like booths for an intimate evening and watch one of the staff climb the 10-foot-tall library ladder to light the candles on the wall of slender shelves.
Colpitts collaborated with Burnaby-based Iron Age Manufacturers on the showstopping arched wine rack. “The wine display is the ultimate expression of our desire to balance the refined design elements with those that are more industrial and striking,” explains the designer. The rack spans the width of the restaurant, climbing up the wall behind the bar and running along the ceiling and over the ductwork, ending overhead two of the booths. If you find yourself at Bartholomew, don’t forget to look up.
This story was originally published in the May/June 2023 print issue of Western Living—find the digital issue here.
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