This San Diego "restolounge", Craft & Commerce,  by the prolific Consortium Holdings (CH) fits the drinking and eating place trend sweeping major metropolitan cities coast to coast.

Photo by Amy K. FellowsA prominent wood bar introduces diners to a lively front setting focused on custom cocktails and tap beer while the dimly lit dining spaces have a more intimate setting.


"We see restaurants and bars as a public gathering place where people come after work and spend a good amount of their time and their income," says Arsalun Tafazoli, CH co-founder. To create a gathering place atmosphere, Tafazoli and team added some communal tables and eschewed TVs for hardbound books, stacking them on ceiling-high shelves lining the walls to create an intimate, library-like feel for the dining spaces. They also used mirrors to separate the 2,600-square-foot area into different room-like spaces for socializing and eating. Lime green booths, oversized glass doors with Ford Model T steering wheels for handles, handwritten passages from John Steinbeck and David Foster Wallace scrawled on weathered, wooden-slat walls and other deliberately eclectic pieces create a funky atmosphere.

Executive Chef Jason McLeod uses meat grinders for his own custom burger blends and an in-house smoker for slow-cooking other proteins. At the bar, rows of herb pots and traditional citrus juicers serve as mixers and an advanced model ice machine creates larger, perfectly-shaped ice cubes for the classic and creative cocktails. Copper-rimmed beer taps showcase the craft drafts on hand.