approach and inspiration
Shochu (sister venue to Zuma restaurant in Knightsbridge) is a Japanese whiskey or fortified wine, and is one of the main ingredients of the drinks served at this subterranean bar located underneath the Roka restaurant on Charlotte Street.
Located in the basement below Roka, it is hidden away from the passing trade. The signage was kept purposely discreet so as not to draw obvious attention to itself. It is an exclusive venue found by word of mouth and discerning drinkers.
The design approach to this bar was similar to that of Roka and is again the result of collaboration between B3 Designers and Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo-based design company Super Potato.
captivating and beautiful
As with Roka the appreciation for natural beauty through use of organic materials is immediately apparent. The bar top is made from a disfigured elm tree trunk. The nature of the wood meant that it continued to dry and settle after it has been installed. The result is an irregular bar surface; a captivating natural work of beauty.
Theatrical Drinking Experience
The centralised bar is made up of two types of bar, a standard height L shaped bar as well as a lower bar which serves as the mixologist’s preparation table.
The table allows customers to sit around as if in someone’s kitchen and watch as the bartender conjures up his next great sake or shochu drink. This also encourages customers to interact with the bar man and experiment with different types of drinks. The unique, theatrical experience is popular with returning customers.
On the bar, a large block of ice sits and waits for the bartender to literally hack fresh pieces of ice from the block. Customers are served drinks with rustic form lumps of ice. To avoid the ice block melting we inserted an optic fibre light in the space below where the ice block is positioned. When the ice block is first laid out, it glows as if it has an internal illumination. The optic fibre is cool to touch and therefore doesn’t cause the ice to melt.
Recycled materials like a colourful patchwork upholstery and the rugged red fabric wall are used throughout the space. Reclaimed shochu barrels form an eye catching backdrop against smooth burnished copper panelling and soft lighting. The contrasting textures and materials make this a one of a kind space.
“The effect of the copper equivalent of a Midas touch, turning everything a deep burnished brown, but for the gleaming big-bellied glass jars of fruit in syrup, creates a magic kingdom.”
Fay Maschler – Evening Standard – 21/07/04