Break out your flight gear: Hangar 1 Vodka's newly refurbished Alameda locale has multiple tasting rooms and a visitor's center, all kitted out in fabulous vintage aviation style.
As of today, the beloved distillery, long housed in an old naval air station on the shores of Alameda, is opening its doors to reveal a fresh and thoughtful new look courtesy of the team at Philadelphia-based Groundswell Design Group (they also designed the pop-up beer garden and LED light display at San Jose's Plaza de Cesar Chavez in the run-up to Super Bowl 50).
The distillery's new aesthetic took inspiration from the building's history, and the project's crew took great care to both keep the rustic old space in tact—highlighting its original redwood ceilings and copper shell—and to incorporate as many locally sourced and repurposed materials as possible. Recycled airplane skins cover a wall in the main tasting room, where the focal point is a prominent and unusual light fixture made, rather creatively, of recycled metal bomb shells. The bar here is made of reclaimed and repurposed wood and slate, while the bar in a smaller upstairs tasting room is constructed of recycled wooden crates.
Rooms were kept small and comfy, with cozy chairs and plush leather couches, many of which were made locally. Plus, the hodgepodge of antiques and bric-a-brac that lays about—old comic books, vintage globes, a leather pilot's jacket—was all purchased from Bay Area thrift and antique stores. In an unexpected twist, these quirky decorative items are all for sale. So, if you think there's a wicked plot here to get you drunk and shopping, well, let's just say you've been warned. And, with so many fun aviation-themed gadgets to distract you—a huge model airplane, a thematic pinball machine, and a ceiling mobile ready for flight—you should probably plan to make a day of it.
// Hangar 1 Vodka is open to visitors 21+ for tours and tastings ($15), Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 7pm; private tours are available with reservations; hangarone.com.