Originally published on CaliforniaHomeDesign.com
The design aesthetic of Brass Tacks comes down to three key concepts: symmetry, simplicity, and warmth.
Brass Tacks' owners, Anthony Healy-London of Churchill, Matt Conway of Comstock, Absinthe, and Nopa (and also the head bartender at Brass Tacks), and Joshua McAdam (a childhood friend of Healy-London) requested these touchstones in interior designer Sayre Ziskin's latest commercial project -- the transformation of the Hayes Valley watering hole that was formerly the much-adored gay bar, Marlena’s.
Ziskin fused brass fixtures with basic geometry tenants, and layered dark iron, weathered brass, and glass to create a richly-hued neighborhood haunt with a sprinkle of classy shimmer. She reimagined the space by stripping the bar down to the studs and installing sliding windows panels in front, opening up the small space and taking advantage of the prime Hayes Valley location overlooking Patricia’s Green.
As its name implies, the bar is accented with striking brass pieces. Steel drink rails are bolted to the wall with brass fixtures created by Oakland metalworker Luigi Oldani, and sleek black tables in the back of the bar are outfitted with shiny brass legs. To kick the classy quotient up a notch, the bar's name is emblazoned into the pegboard-style bar grate.
A stately walnut bar top (handcarved by a local boat builder from a simple slab of wood) and reclaimed oak flooring from a San Francisco mill tie the warm elements together. Between the black and white photography installation by Bay Area photography legend Christopher Felver and herringbone patterned flooring, the atmosphere of the bar strikes a sophisticated yet earthy nature-meets-geometry chord.