In late February, I discovered a problem. The bar equipment was no longer going to fit in the space the architects, kitchen designers, and I had allotted for it.
How could that be? We had spent months taking measurements down to the tiniest fraction of an inch. Yet some how we ended up with a bar area that was a foot narrower than we had planned.
One foot. 12 inches. 305 millimeters.
It may not sound like much, but in the compact 1,400-square-foot world that is Contigo, it's a mile. One of the reasons I chose the architecture firm I did was its proven track record of working creatively within tight quarters. Delfina Pizzeria, one of the firm's previous projects, was masterfully shoehorned into a space about half the size of Contigo's.
The bar area at Contigo will only be a "service bar." That means it will be used only for preparing drinks. There will be no stools. That was an unfortunate compromise we had to make in our, dare I say it, sardine can of a space. Try as we might, we couldn't seat people at the bar as the overall width of the room was too narrow. Fortunately for those of us who like to dine on stools, there are a handful of seats at the kitchen counter.
We only allocated an area 10.5 feet wide by 8 feet deep for the service bar. The minimum amount of equipment needed to run a full bar — ice bin, bottle rails, condiment shelves, hand-washing sink, small dishwasher for glasses, reach-in refrigerators, ice machine — fit. Barely.
Until, that is, the space was built. After the concrete was poured and the walls framed in, we discovered that the space was just 9.5 feet wide. The equipment could no longer fit.
Someone made a mistake. It's a long story and who's to blame isn't important (I calmly write now that nearly 2 months have passed... time truly does heal all wounds). What impressed me was how quickly and professionally the architects and contractors worked together to correct the mistake. Within a week the contractors poured new concrete and reframed the walls. I am happy to report that the bar is now once again the width we had planned on. Yay! What could have been a disaster turned out to be a mere hiccup.
I have more (bittersweet) bar related news, but I'll save it for a future post once the new issue has been resolved (breathe, Brett, breathe).