Sit and stay
“We’ve noticed all sorts of people use all the spaces,” says Ben. Several “living rooms” offer couch seating as well as work spaces so guests can chat with friends, hold meetings, work on a laptop or have a cup of coffee—and then move on to other parts of the restaurant. A vintage Americana theme conveyed with worn leather chairs, midcentury furniture and old bowling trophies unites the design.
Session Kitchen features 13 original art installations, including this piece below, painted on a pillar in the upstairs Back Bowl, a bar inspired by “bowls” and half pipes at a skate park. The most intimate and most requested of the three bars, it offers a bird’s eye view of the venue below.
Bringing the outdoors in
The urban vibe of skate parks, a favorite of Denver natives, defines The Park, the largest of the three bar areas. Its communal tables, while “not universally appealing,” have proven to be popular for lunch, casual gatherings and drinks, specifically with younger guests. Service is “a bit trickier,” though, as the long high-tops function as either traditional or cocktail tables during different times of the day.
High-end experiences sell
Designed for “elevated cocktailing,” Session, a bar within a bar, is elevated about four feet inside The Park. Also elevated is its ambiance. From the marble and wood finishes to the seats, this upscale area, with a private bartender on hand to upsell, “does drive higher ticket averages, particularly from beverage sales. Guests tend to linger longer,” says Ruskaup.
Sensory elements affect mood … and spending
The light sculpture, made from 450 recycled flourescent tubes and LED strips, ties all three bar areas together. The light constantly changes color; Ruskaup found that cool colors appeal more to guests during the day, while warm colors appeal more at night. The operator also can control the speed at which colors change, slowing the light show in the evening to match the more laidback flow. The result of this attention to detail: seats in direct view of the light tend to be higher revenue seats, with guests staying longer and spending more thanks to the visual stimulation.
The beard awards:
3. Chef-instructor John Castro
This week's head-spinning restaurant moments included a suggestion in court that the "b" in IHOb stood for "bad news for Applebee's." That's just one of the long-shot gambles that came to light as oddsmakers considered the likelihood of restaurants charging into sports betting and who'll win the chain vs. independent bout.