A glowing red neon sign, visible down an alley off First Street in Napa, beckons. Those adventurous enough to wander down it will be rewarded with a renovated mid-century modern building boasting floor to ceiling glass that gradually reveals an antique mirrored back bar curated with an array of wine bottles and sparkling glassware. Music spins on the vintage turntable and locals, tourists and sommeliers alike discuss and debate over their wines and beers….
Cadet Wine and Beer Bar opened in July 2014 and has quickly become a hit throughout the city. Our clients, Colleen Fleming and Aubrey Bailey, came to zero ten design with a simple goal – to create a friendly neighborhood bar that celebrates those wine and beer producers with both unique philosophies and a strong connection to the places they come from. Because Colleen and Aubrey are rooted in the “industry,” they recognized the need for an energetic and collegial atmosphere where patrons can congregate, share ideas and celebrate with the community, akin to the casual neighborhood bars that they discovered wandering down the alleyways of Paris.
The design is inspired loosely by the term “cadet,” and is focused on the creation of an inviting bar surrounded by a warm and neutral palette of military blues, grays, and beiges. A reclaimed white oak bar top is formed in a slight chevron shape, where each leg of the bar is slightly angled towards the other, encouraging social interaction amongst the patrons. This chevron shape is further reinforced by a wood planked, navy blue bulkhead above with hanging ‘brass button’ light pendants, whose arrangement forms a more intimate space and reinforces the subtle reference to the military-inspired name.
Layer upon layer of materials from past decades were peeled away during construction, exposing the original 1940’s building shell. The sloping ceiling structure and exposed, patinated concrete floor bring a laid-back character to the space and showcase a bit of the existing building’s unique history. A variety of informal seating and standing areas, punctuated with warm white oak table tops and benches, helps to reinforce the casual and inviting spaces surrounding the bar. A private tasting room off the main bar looks out toward the brick lined pedestrian alley.
So, if you’re ever wandering around the streets of Downtown Napa, keep an eye out for that glowing red neon sign and pop on in to say ‘hello’ to Collen and Aubrey. Not only will they enlighten you on the diversity of California beers and wines, but they will likely let you select the perfect song from their extensive vinyl collection to accompany your wine.