Our favourite bars and restaurants around the world
As a bunch of architects and interior designers, that have designed many bars and restaurants in our time, we love finding hidden gems and beautiful spaces when dining out. But what are some of our favourite bars and restaurants that we’ve visited across the world?
Here are our team’s top picks, that may provide you with design inspiration for an upcoming project, or simply give you ideas of where to visit on your next trip...
Balgove Steak Barn, St Andrews
- Ruth Thomson, Chartered Architect
This former sawmill has been turned into a rustic eatery, renowned for its steaks, burgers and sausages, all made in their butchery.
Ruth says: “I started visiting the Balgove Farm Shop & Café whilst I was at university in Dundee, and found it a great ‘escape’ from city life, back to my country roots.
“With the Steak Barn, they have kept a rustic look, using timber from the local estate to form the internal tables and finishes. It is a relaxed venue – you cannot book you need to turn up and take a seat on a shared table. They also hold Night Markets on various dates throughout the year, where they have lots of vendors, a BBQ and live music.
“They have ‘converted’ an old barn simply by making walls from tattie boxes and having long sharing tables with bench seating. The lighting and decoration is simple. The wood-fired BBQ area is located within the barn and can be seen from the tables, providing a great atmosphere. I feel this place appeals to me as it proves a simple solution can often be the most effective.”
- Nina Cradock, Interior Architect
From the outside, Sketch looks like a traditional townhouse - which is not out of place in its location. But inside, you’ll find something entirely different…
Nina says: “Inside is a breathtaking and eclectic interior boasting bright colours, a collection of desirable fabrics and intriguing accessories adorning all corners in the cleverly planned spaces.
“We dined at Sketch, but there is also a tea room and cocktail lounge.
“The dining lounge has always caught my attention, as it looks like something straight out of a Wee Anderson film. An artist’s works covered all four walls around us, and I loved sitting on the blush pink velvet booth seating.
“For me, this was a theatrical experience from the entrance, to the toilets, to how my wine and dinner was presented to me.
“Useless piece of information: the toilets are one of the most Instagrammed ever!”
Grand Canal Restaurant, Venice
- Phil Weekes, Architectural Technologist
Inside Hotel Monaco in Venice, you’ll find the beautiful Grand Canal Restaurant that boasts a panoramic view of the stunning canal and nearby landmarks.
Phil says: “The hotel itself is one of the original palaces in Venice, that was converted into a luxury hotel. The restaurant leads to an outside seating area, which sits on the Grand canal. As you have dinner or a drink, you can sit on this terrace and watch the gondolas going around, with the occasional private speed boat pulling into hotels.
“The building, once a Venetian Palace, has been converted into a luxury hotel which sits on the edge of the Grand Canal. Much of the original palace has been kept and enhanced, with a touch of modern architecture being introduced through the use of glass, concrete and stone. It’s the perfect blend of old and new.”
- Martyna Kuleza, Architectural Technologist
Located on the 27th floor of a skyscraper in the heart of Warsaw you’ll find Level27 - a stylish bar and nightclub that attracts locals and tourists alike.
Martyna comments: “One of the main reasons why I love this place is because of the stunning views of Warsaw’s skyline. In the morning, you can enjoy coffee and watch the sunrise, and in the evening, you can sit down with a drink and watch the sun set over the city.
“There is also a club below, which is some 350m sq. and the roof terrace itself is 450m sq.
“The interior design is very modern, with lots of copper features, Edison bulbs, and moss planters, which give the bar a really natural, and forest-like feel.”
Bastard Cafe, Copenhagen
- Ross Anderson, Chartered Architect
Describing itself as a cafe for board games, card games, coffee and ‘hygge’, Bastard Cafe in Copenhagen offers a haven for people who want to socialise with friends, and enjoy great beer.
Ross says: “I enjoyed spending time in the Bastard Cafe, as it had a relaxed and informal atmosphere. I was in Denmark on a trip with friends, and it was great fun to pick up a few card games over some beers, and have a more relaxed and social evening.
“The interior is simple, utilising robust and quality materials in a minimal way. This allows the board games to take centre stage. It’s a relatively small space, utilised in a simple and effective way, without it feeling cramped or uncomfortable.”
Park Hyatt, Tokyo
- Richard Tinto, Managing Director
You may recognise our final pick from Lost in Translation. It is the New York Grill and Bar, a steakhouse and fine dining restaurant located on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo.
Richard adds: “My wife and I enjoyed fantastic steak here, while relaxing to jazz music and looking out across the beautiful views of the city - it really does feel as though you’re in a movie.
“The decor is classic and very American, but the ambience, soft lighting and Art Deco-style finish is a classic that never dies.
“I didn’t meet Bill Murray (he says almost a little disappointed!).”
If you’d like to chat to the Tinto team about an upcoming bar or restaurant project, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.