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Sushi|Bar Chicago

Warm woods, curved shelving, and striking green marble make a statement in Sushi|Bar's Chicago location. Stacked tile and terrazzo flooring evoke classic midcentury elements inherent to Chicago, while upholstered panels and brass fixtures bring intimacy to the private room. The sophisticated, dramatic, and inviting space allows guests to fully immerse in a transformative experience.

Sushi|Bar's entrance to the Chicago dining scene was a long time coming. We were originally tapped to design their space in six weeks, and we threw ourselves fully into the challenge. They take the concept of speakeasy-style omakase very seriously, frequenting private spaces within already established restaurants for that true if-you-know-you-know experience. Unfortunately, this meant we were also impacted when the original Chicago location's host restaurant ended up closing as a result of the pandemic. Over time, we assisted the client with test fits and evaluations of potential new locations, eventually landing in their spot today at 405 N Wabash.

Sushi|Bar patrons enter through the main restaurant Lady May (no affiliation) and are led to the rear private dining room that encloses the omakase experience. The clients wanted a masculine, midcentury feel to the space that spoke to Chicago's own rich design history. We accomplished this by enveloping the room in wood, from the wallcovering to the bar to the acoustic ceiling. Channeled fabric-wrapped panels and brass trim details throughout help soften and elevate the swath of wood, while drapery at the existing storefront helped control privacy and noise from the outside pavilion.

The unified wood language overall also helps to really highlight the showstopper of this space - the gorgeous Verde Tifone marble counter and backsplash at the chef's counter. In Sushi|Bar's Miami location, we had previously done similarly expressive stone - both we and the clients agreed that this continuation would be a nice nod while still maintaining their own location-based character.

Because we were so far out from their original timeline, once the new location was identified, we wanted to get them in as soon as possible. This meant working concurrently with millworkers and fabricators to provide "hold-to" dimensions across trades to make sure all the puzzle pieces fit exactly together - including cutting the stone without finished site dimensions! We encountered a few small snags along the way but were able to successfully work with trades and the contractor to get them in as quickly as possible.

The clean lines and restrained, thoughtful palette really speak to Sushi|Bar's own commitment to a high quality service and experience. Check them out in Chicago's River North neighborhood the next time you're in the mood for a night out!


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