Having articulated an aesthetic direction and ideas, I'm ready to seek inspiration from existing bars and commercial environments, and start honing in on specific details that will help us achieve these design goals.

Pinterest is, of course, the app for that, so most of the following images were found through hours of scouring pictures of bars, bathrooms, and booths that feel most compatible with my vision of a dark, moody, elegant-yet-approachable social venue.

Right away, I find that this is my vibe: saturated blues, soft velvet and leather seating, warm light, and showy details. Let's see some more.

Having filtered out thousands of photos of places that don't suit my aesthetic direction, I'm left with a moodboard of inspiring ideas to help me evaluate actual building materials, fixtures, and furniture from the marketplace. How can I achieve these design goals with what's actually available and affordable?

Meanwhile, I must start sketching out some ideas for shaping the space itself: how big should the bar be and where should it be placed?; how many people should we plan on accommodating, in which configurations, and how will they be seated?; what are the ideal sightlines and traffic flows through our space?; how does one even build a bar, or a back bar?; what equipment is necessary and how should it be arranged? And on and on. We'll dig into some of that next time.

What do you think of this design direction? If you have comments or ideas, I'd love to hear them at josh@abolderhumboldt.com. Want to see more? You can see my full pinboard, and follow along, on Pinterest.