As craft beer has continued its steady progress toward mainstream consumption, startup breweries are going beyond the basic picnic table and fermenters in their tasting rooms A modern era of design-forward brewhouses are helping to redefine the beer tasting experience (Look to: Taos Mesa Brewing, NM, Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats, DE, Bluejacket, Washington D.C.), and in turn, attracting a new legion of design-forward craft beer enthusiasts. In craft beer’s current epicenter, San Diego home brewer turned entrepreneur Kelsey McNair recently opened doors to his high-design hop haven, North Park Beer Co. — a tap room and brewery located in the heart of brewer’s boulevard in the storied up-and-coming neighborhood of North Park
Acclaimed Southern California design powerhouse Paul Basile of BASILE Studio is behind the design and build of the 8,900 square-foot space. Basile blended two very unique styles, taking cues from the neighborhood’s Arts and Crafts architectural aesthetic (a more ornate form of American Craftsman, born out of the British ideals of celebrating simple forms and natural materials) while incorporating elements from the Midcentury Modern movement, pulled from the aesthetic of the existing shell building, to create a vibrant brewery that acts as a community gathering place for craft beer aficionados, fair-weather imbibers, and families alike.
BUILDING HISTORY ON TAP: Originally constructed in 1946, the space functioned as a department store before undergoing a variety of transformations. Returning the open layout shop to its roots, Basile reimagined the original entryway and incorporated Midcentury elements that coincides with the building’s era.
- Custom copper-clad entry doors and an amber colored stained glass soffit greet imbibers, flanking the space with their unique detailing, with large wood and steel handles giving the doors a Craftsman feel. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts affection for inspirational quotes and sayings, Basile inscribed North Park Beer Co.’s slogan, “Ales & Lagers, Friends & Neighbors,” and the brewer’s favorite quote on a fixed plaque inset into the doors. Giving the entry a modern spin, the doors revolve around the plaque, as patrons pass underneath.
- Total square footage: 8,900 square-feet
- Utilizing the original trusses, the ceiling reaches 18 feet that accommodate a second floor loft overlooking brewery operations.
ARTS & CRAFTS MEETS MIDCENTURY MODERN Drawing from neighborhood’s turn-of-the-century Craftsman aesthetic, the brewery mimics the Britain-based Arts and Crafts-style, characterized by more ornate flourishes and detailing. To add a more distinctive flair to the design, Basile peppered in undertones from the Midcentury Modern movement.
– Custom street lamps with smoked glass top globes are placed throughout the brewery. While Arts and Crafts in style with stained white oak and symmetrical details, the lamp orbs have been done in a smoked glass, referencing the Midcentury penchant for the material.
– A 43-foot stained white oak-clad cold box with hammered copper detailing dominates the far wall, with seating for 20 at the Montauk slate covered bar. Completely custom fabricated, the Arts and Crafts wood choice is offset with stained wood tambour panels, framing the top of the coldbox.
– Backlit mirrors at the bar feature etchings inspired by papermaker Dard Hunter, whose angular, geometric patterns have been reimagined to include elements of North Park Brewing’s hop-forward logo.
– A custom weave abstract floor tile pattern mimics the Arts and Crafts-style, a modern day reinterpretation utilized by Basile to represent an alternative to the mechanization and mass production coined in this era.
– A hot rolled steel stair and mezzanine banister leading to the second floor loft mix Arts and Crafts with Midcentury design by combining the white oak inlaid wood balusters with a railing pattern inspired by the graphic Midcentury aesthetic.
– Growler cages at the entryway are flanked by hand cast pilasters featuring a backlit inset display of merchandise. The pilasters are made with quarter sawn white oak veneer, which Basile selected with the owner at local woodworking shop Hesser Handcrafted.