Barrio Cellar is the second incarnation of popular Kings Cross venue Barrio Chino. The new venue makes its home in an old bank vault, right in the heart of the Sydney CBD. In its new location the owners wanted to take the fun, lively atmosphere of the original venue and take it upmarket, a place where an after-5 crowd could loosen their ties and let down their hair.
The design is inspired by Mexico’s Art Deco period, taking its lead from the venue’s existing features – mosaic floor, faded paint work and bronze entry doors – and expanding on it through the use of pattern and colour. It reflects the boldness of the Art Deco era but with the flair of Mexican culture. One of the major changes was stripping back ceilings and walls to expose the original proportions, which meant a balance was struck between open volumes and the intimacy of an underground venue.
Lighting is indirect and subdued, highlighting the textural surfaces of brick and concrete. A neon sign in the entry stairwell declares the unofficial motto of the venue “Everything with Tequila!” and not only sets the tone for the space, but also creates a visual hook from the street. Downstairs, large, circular bronze mirrors add depth to the space and reflect the activity of the bar. Banquettes and tables at counter dining height create an atmosphere of informality. The venue’s dedication to tequila is such that they wanted to create an area specifically for the purpose of hosting tasting nights. A long table with antique chairs sits under a cluster of chandeliers, elevating the tequila experience.
Prototype provided much of the custom furniture including sturdy custom Tasmanian Oak and Victoria Ash Timber tables. The pieces throughout the venue mix weight and height, light and dark, and various materials. The solid oak tables, in rounded and rectangular shapes and Meridian high bar base with precious gold powder coat, pay homage to the relaxed eclectic style of the venue.
The overall result is a more sophisticated Mexican feel, a place between bar and restaurant where people can settle in for a long night.
As the venue was to serve as both a restaurant space and late-night bar, the sound system needed to be suitable for playing consistent background music throughout the space earlier in the day but then also be able to be turned up later in the night when the venue takes on more of a bar / club vibe with DJs playing.
For this, a combination of Indigo6S & Indigo6PRO speakers from Void Acoustics were specified. While both models physically look the same, they have quite different characteristics. The ‘S’ model is a lower-powered version and was used around the dining and bar area of the venue. The ‘PRO’ model is a higher-powered speaker – 200w RMS – and was used around the DJ booth, which turns into a dancefloor space later in the night.
A Void Acoustics Mycro Bass 12” subwoofer was also installed near the DJ booth. Additional low-end energy comes in the form of Mycro Sub compact bass enclosures which were built into the booth seating.
A Void Acoustics Point One DJ monitor speaker ensures that the DJ also has adequate volume levels in the booth. It’s clear cabinet design does not detract from the venue’s interior.
An Audac MTX48 Smart Matrix was installed to manage the audio routing and volume control for the venue. While wallmount controllers have been installed for simple zone control, management is also able to control the entire system via iPhone and iPad via the dedicated Audac system control apps.
All speakers and subwoofers are processed and powered by Audac SMA & SMQ class-D amplifiers, which include inbuilt WaveDynamics DSP processing.
A pair of Audac CS75 in-ceiling speakers are installed in the bathroom areas.