Hard Water is an American Whiskey bar tucked into a historic bulkhead building on San Francisco’s Pier 3. It is one of our many projects for longtime friend and client chef Charles Phan. With Hard Water, we had the opportunity to fabricate the majority of the interior (and exterior) elements. To us, the project is a celebration of American craft—a notion that is at the backbone of this country’s whiskey making tradition, and carries through in the restaurant’s extraordinary whiskey selection and menu.
Our goal for Hard Water is for it to be a place that you take your best friend to have a drink that you know they will remember for the rest of their life. As far as the design goes, we are trying to redefine the notion of what a whiskey bar is. The tradition is one of dark wood, leather, and nicotine-stained ceilings; and we admit to liking a few of those bars. But the ones we like are the real old ones, not a recreation. They have a patina of history, not a history created with objects from EBay. American whiskey is being rediscovered - a younger, more diverse crowd is discovering it, and this is a bar built for them. Just because bourbon is aged in charred oak barrels doesn’t mean you need to drink it in a similar environment. This bar is bright and modern and exciting - it is not a place to hide, it is a place to celebrate.