Last September, TAO Chicago opened its doors in the city’s historic River North stone castle, revealing a completely transformed space featuring a multi-level restaurant, lounge and separate, adjoining nightclub designed by Rockwell Group. This is an exclusive bar decor ideas to steal from!
Originally designed by Henry Ives Cobb, the Romanesque Revival building was once home to the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Institute of Design, recording studios, and a series of nightclubs before TAO’s takeover of the 34,000-square foot space. Determined to preserve the building’s glory, TAO Group restored the landmark – known by locals for its haunted legends – by bringing good decor vibes through its Asian-influenced DNA.
The 34,000-square-foot granite structure will be outfitted with multiple levels, preserving the existing façade while also incorporating original details in the redesign like brick walls, arch floor-to-ceiling windows, and special geometry. While reflecting the aesthetic of existing TAO locations, the 300-seat restaurant will feature murals from artist Hush as well as TAO’s signature 16-foot-tall Quan Yin statue.
Guests arrive at the 7,000-square-foot TAO Nightclub via a massive, century-old Chinese gate and a lantern-lit exterior alley. Home to two nightclubs separated via an operable wall, the space features 40-foot-tall ceilings as well as original soaring windows. In addition to a 20-foot-tall Hush mural, the nightclub interior will be punctuated with a custom, 10-foot-tall Japanese bell from which an oversized disco ball will descend. A series of restored arches will span the TAO club as well end-to-end.
Below, we list a few bar design highlights, once you decide to visit TAO Chicago:
* The subterranean dining room’s ceiling features a round black panel with carved, large-scale gold Chinese calligraphy in a nod to the space’s original domed ceiling ;
* The entrance to the nightclub is through a lantern-lit exterior alley inspired by Japanese temple gates;
*The spiral staircase hovers over the restaurant and looks like a floating spindle, mimicking the building’s neo-Romanesque turrets;
*On the second floor, guests are greeted by a “host wall” of traditional Chinese lucky cat figurines (i.e. Maneki-Neko) to bring prosperity;
* The space features 20-foot-tall Hush mural and a 10-foot-tall custom-made Japanese bell with a disco ball.
This is for sure a great welcome addition to Chicago’s outstanding dining scene, put it as one of the Chicago best bars to be in! This is the opportunity to discover a little more about Rockwell bar design projects in the following video:
So who dines and drinks at TAO? Wolf said there isn’t a specific customer profile. Youngsters may prefer to hang out all night at the nightclub portion, which the Chicago space devotes 7,000 square feet to. TAO also draws corporate customers, and the decor, including 16-foot tall Buddha statues, attracts hipsters. Wolf said the venue has even been popular for parents who dine while their newborns sleep through dinner. And when those children grow up, mommy and daddy may elect to throw a sweet sixteen party at the restaurant.
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