BAR SHIRU wins a Gold Nugget Award Grand Prize 2020

We are excited to announce that  Bar Shiru has won the 2020 Gold Nugget Award Grand Prize for Best Interior Renovation

PCBC’s Gold Nugget Awards are presented annually to the top innovators in design, planning and development. The competition is open to builders, developers, architects, and land planners with communities and projects across the United States and internationally.

photo by Ken Gutmaker

The owners of Bar Shiru, the first Bay Area, Hi-Fi listening bar, looked at several potential sites before deciding on the rough concrete, 1500 SF space inside the 1928 historic “Latham Square Building” in Oakland’s Uptown district at 1611 Telegraph Avenue. Unlike other sites, this space had a variety of small personal zones that connected to a larger communal area, offering inclusivity and openness. But, could  the raw industrial double-height space, with its exposed concrete beams and column grid and steel decking be turned into a serene, jazz-focused bar and lounge?

Surrounded by Oakland’s bustling bar and nightlife scene (and a stone’s throw from the historic Fox Theater), Bar Shiru provides a sharp contrast to the loud, overflowing bars on the same block.  Conceived as an analog-only,  vinyl record bar, the owners imagined an audiophile quality , mostly- jazz music experience that encouraged intimate conversations while drinking Japanese whiskey and  craft cocktails. Groups larger than 6 would be discouraged and seating space  would be limited.

After the owners Shirin Raza and Daniel Gahr sourced the high-end audio equipment, the design highlighted the glass tube amps and vintage-look wood speakers, while simultaneously providing background sound attenuation . The ceilings are covered in 2” thick acoustic sound panels, the jazz photos above the bar are also sound panels and the decorative wood screens diffract sound waves, as does the 15 foot high “record wall”, the feature of the main space.

That record wall presented a structural complication. Loaded up, each compartment holds 50 albums or 38 lbs. With 100 cubes, the potential weight would be 3,800 lbs. Luckily the owner’s record collection was just a 1/3 of that capacity, and there was an existing structural floor beam that was able to carry the load.

Rather than concealing it, the designers chose to highlight the raw columns and beams with warm uplighting, providing a moody contrast to the refined mid-century modern lounge furniture and elegant backlit bar.