The client wanted to create a true bourbon experience, an experience that was tied back to the original Kings Cross bourbon, minus the boozy image and more about the idea of a late night food and entertainment venue. Food was the primal focus of the ground floor venue, he really wanted to capture this mixed with live music and a casual yet refined interior.
The interior of the space was based around the façade of the building appearing to land in a new front terrace area, and this façade being the original building (which it was not). From this point Paul Kelly Design placed the building in a time period between the 1920’s and 1950’s as this was where the original hotel interiors especially in Potts Point and Kings Cross were really amazing. The timeframe of 20’s to 50’s also assisted with the perception of the basis of the Bourbon, That being a link to America we positioned the interior in a mixture of Chicago and New York, with the music edge of New Orleans. This also assisted with the concept for the venue which was to be based around good service, and good food hallmarks of a time gone by when service and quality were paramount. This is the essence of the venue and what Paul Kelly Design wanted to create, a venue that has the original feeling of the past, with links to an American period of interiors with a fun New Orleans music edge.
The layout of the space is based around the idea that a venue can accommodate a wide variety of clientele and uses. The entry is a controllable access point to the building that leads the customer past the lift lobby (for future phases) and directly to the main food pass and a view towards the large new York inspired bar.
The venue is split into 4 areas. 1. The Main Bar Area which is adjacent to the main bar. 2. The Dining Area which is located within view of the open kitchen and busy kitchen pass. 3 The recessed Terrace area, which has large sliding doors that open this space directly to Darlinghurst road and 4. The gaming room, which has a separate entrance and accommodates 30 machines in an outdoor smoking environment.
All the spaces allow the customers to have a multitude of experiences within the one venue, they can have a seriously awesome meal, desert, quality wine, a couple of cocktails, have a bar meal, bar snacks, stand up and have a quality boutique beer from Brooklyn, listen to live music 7 nights, share a meal with friends, sit in front of a fireplace, have a function, sit in an enclosed acoustic smoking area, play on 30 outdoor gaming machines and mainly come back…
This project had a lot of people who had been to the venue previously, a lot of these people wanted the Bourbon to come back as the venue that they remembered. The pressure was on Paul Kelly Design to create a venue that did have some of the elements of the original design, as well as being able to accommodate the current trends and allow the Bourbon to survive in Kings Cross which is a difficult area, especially with licensing and alcohol issues.
The Bourbon feels like it has always been there, it is as the venue you would image the Bourbon to be. The heritage starts from the old façade reaching down to the ground in the recessed terrace, Paul Kelly Design have used tiles here that are hand made with a green grout and all the decorative trims as required to give that old school edge.
All the lighting through the premises are reproduced fittings from the US, from a manufacturer who re-creates fittings and versions of original fittings that have original detailing and who uses original materials (like lead and coloured cloth cords).
The main bar has a wide stone top, brass edging and is a lower height than normal which is the way New York bars used to be, the bar has decorative timber and brass hampers hanging above the bar with discrete lighting over the bar for patron comfort and the front of the bar uses a leather upholstery in sections to look like angled joinery.
All the materials used in the space have original and real textures, the travertine stone floor tiles laid in a herringbone pattern match the single piece timber stained herringbone patterning over, the outdoor pattered single piece black and white floor tiles have a matching pattern inside with a handmade black and white rug that is the main carpet for the bar area.
Other areas that have the heritage feel are the glazing profiles which are trimmed out with decorative cross bars and traditional glazing breaks, to give the effect that the glazing is in sections.
One of the main design features is the hand washing feature to the basement toilets, we acquired a cast iron 19th Century Water Fountain and converted this to a communal hand basin for four people, to top this off the top of the water feature still operates as a fountain, its quite a piece.
The artwork we chose for the venue has a great story behind it, a nanny in the 1950’s started a hobby as a street photographer in New York and Chicago whos name was Vivian Maier, she took over 100,000 photos and kept the negatives in a storage locked, never to be published until her demise in 2007 when the locked was bought as a delinquent storage area, the new owner acquired the negatives of a lady who is regarded as one of the top American street photographers of all time.
There are two acoustically treated outdoor areas at the bourbon, the recessed terrace on Darlinghurst Road and the three voids for the gaming room to the rear of the venue. The recessed terrace allows patrons to stand outside in an enclosed sound proof venue and smoke all day and night, which is a big draw card for the Kings Cross Precinct.
The end result is a venue that is both breathtaking and functional, Paul Kelly Design’s clients C.Inc are extremely happy with the result and customers are taking onto the venue due to its authentic and real interior. The venue is the most comprehensive interior Paul Kelly Design have completed to date, and it is a venue that has taken two years of hard work, but the results are well worth it.
Paul Kelly Design are now working on the other levels of the venue with the owner, as the Bourbon Ground Floor is only the beginning of the story.
Xcite Audio Visual designed and installed a comprehensive audio system with tweleve audio zones.
Zone 1 – Entrance Lift Lobby has 4 Atlas FAP51T inceiling speakers
Zone 2 – Courtyard has 6 QSC AD-S52T wall mount speakers
Zone 3 – Courtyard Lounge Area has 2 Martin C6.8T inceiling speakers
Zone 4 – Airlock (Dining-Courtyard) has 4 Atlas FAP51T inceiling speakers
Zone 5 – Main Dining & Entertaining has 2 Martin AQ-12 FOH speakers, a Martin AQ215 subwoofer, 21 Martin C6.8T inceiling speakers
Zone 6 – Front Bar has 4 Martin C6.8T inceiling speakers
Zone 7 – Rear Dining has 6 Martin C6.8T inceiling speakers and Shure wireless microphones
Zone 8 – Gaming Corridor has 6 Atlas FAP51T inceiling speakers
Zone 9 – Gaming has 12 Martin C4.8T inceiling speakers and Shure wireless microphones
Zone 10 – Entrance Corridor has 8 Atlas FAP51T inceiling speakers
Zone 11 – Accessible Bathroom – Communal Wash/Bathrooms has 11 Atlas FAP51T inceiling speakers
Zone 12 – Gaming Bathroom has 4 Atlas FAP51T inceiling speakers.
Two BSS Blu-100 take care of Digital Signal Processor whilst a couple of BSS Blu-8 Level & Source Control Pads are also installed. QSC and Australian Monitor amplifiers are used.
The stage area also has three QSC K10 Active Monitors and Shure SM58 and SM57 microphones. There are 3 Tricolour LED Par Lights controlled by an ADJ Frantic LED controller.