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Wood & Tap Case Study



Wood may be in the name of a Connecticut restaurant's newest location, but that's not the material of the centerpiece bar of Wood-n-Tap. Designer Kierstan Field wanted a showstopper bar and beer tap island as she was planning the renovation of the former Chili's into the new Wood-n-Tap in Hamden, Connecticut. But instead of using a classic wood or natural stone, Field picked Viatera quartz countertops in gleaming Minuet white.

"The design intention was to allow the space to be traditional so it's comfortable, but also inviting and fun," Field said.

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The result is a classic bar in shape and size, but a clean, white bar top that gives the room a softer look, she said.

"It stands out. It pops really well but doesn?t overwhelm the space," Field said. "The place looks like it's been there a really long time, in a good way."

Field brought in those traditional wood accents in several places in the 4,000-square-foot restaurant: the black walnut paneling under the bar in a herringbone pattern, wall panels, chairs, stools and tabletops and the wood floor.

The Right Fit For The Bar

Although the same look may have been achieved with a natural stone, those materials do not work in a commercial bar, Field said. The popular color Minuet allowed the restaurant to mimic traditional stone while giving a unique style to the Wood-n-Tap's Hamden location.

In addition to its aesthetics, there are several reasons Wood-n-Tap went with Viatera.

They are:

  • The manmade material can withstand the wear and tear of a busy commercial bar.

  • If the material does get chipped or gouged by patrons, it can be repaired seamlessly and will not leave divots, as would be the case with wood.

  • The nonporous material resists the growth of mold and mildew - a key factor, because cleanliness is critical for a restaurant.

  • The material resists staining, which is important at a busy restaurant where people are eating and drinking at the bar.

  • A Bar's Unique Challenges

    Once the team chose the material, they had other decisions to make.

    The bar needed to be more substantial than traditional countertops, which are typically 3 centimeters thick. The bar, which is 106 square feet of material, was 2.5 inches thick.

    "If it were not at that thickness, it would look wimpy," Field said. "It had to be that thickness to have that impact."

    The bar top's thickness led to a challenge: how to support the drink rail on one side and the overhang on the other where diners put their legs. Juan Guerrera, director of fabricators for the project, devised a solution

    picture 2

    Guerrera built up the bar wall an additional 1.5 inches to support the structure and bolted
    the drink rail underneath so the seams are invisible on the bar top.

    The second part of the showpiece bar, the beer tap island, also presented a challenge.
    The island measures 60 by 90 inches and houses 24 beer taps on four pipes, requiring
    precise cutting of the Viatera countertop.

    "The location of the holes had to be accurate, because all of them are connected together," Guerrera said. "You can"t miss it by a quarter of an inch, move it to the left or right, and expect it to work. It had to be perfect."

    Although the need for exact measurements and cutting turned up the pressure to get everything right the first time, Guerrera said the Viatera quartz would still be his choice for the countertop.

    "It is very durable for this application," he said.

    The End Result

    The renovations were completed in four months, and the restaurant opened in the spring of 2016. The Minuet color on the countertops makes Wood-n-Tap's Hamden location special. The Viatera quartz surface provides a striking visual for the restaurant, which is one of eight Wood-n-Tap restaurants in Connecticut.

    Everyone involved in the project would happily use Viatera again for future renovations.

    "I'm glad they were open to trying something new, " Field said of the restaurant owners. "They are so happy. They love it."

    Kierstan Field

    Jerry Martorelli (Galleria Stone & Tile)

    Viatera :Minuet

    Wood & Tap Case Study