Westport Social recently opened in Westport Plaza, and the new game bar and lounge is packed with fun and unique design details. I sat down with Dana McCarty to learn more about the challenges and inspirations behind the project.
Claire: What was Lawrence Group’s role in the Westport Social project? What was your specific role?
Dana: Lawrence Group partnered with S+P Architects. S+P was responsible for the construction documentation while Lawrence Group’s main role was design. We worked with the client and their consultant, Bob Amick, to bring the concept to life.
Claire: What is Westport Social?
Dana: Westport Social is a high-end gaming lounge and bar.
Claire: What do you think sets Westport Social apart from other bars in St. Louis?
Dana: Although there are other spaces that bring entertainment to patrons through gaming, Westport Social is the only spot in St. Louis that offers free games all night. Also, the space allows for a variety of events and parties – whether it be professional or personal events, Westport Social can accommodate.
Claire: What was your inspiration behind the design? What feel were you going for and how was it achieved?
Dana: The concept of the space was developed by the client and their consultant. The inspiration was to create a sophisticated gaming environment that would attract people of all ages. In order to create warmth in this industrial space, comfortable lounge areas were created to serve as gathering zones away from the gaming areas. By incorporating finishes and furniture that felt authentic and re-used, the industrial space was transformed into an inviting lounge.
Claire: What is your favorite design detail of the project?
Dana: Located in the bathroom, the large poured concrete sink with custom copper faucets steals the show. In the early conceptual phase, its feasibility was questioned by most. After working through many details with the plumbers, contractors, and fabricators, the fully custom sink, faucet, and mirror combination makes the restroom just as unique as the rest of the space.
Claire: What is your favorite piece of art or mural in the space and why?
Dana: Being able to bring Phil Jarvis’s artwork into the space was amazing. In addition to three large custom murals, he also hand-painted all of the game boards throughout the space. By incorporating this custom hand-painted artwork, the feeling of authenticity was achieved.
Claire: As a hospitality designer, what did you find to be a unique challenge of designing a game-centric restaurant versus other restaurants you have worked on?
Dana: I would say designing all of the game boards in the space was definitely a new challenge. A fun challenge though! In comparison to other hospitality projects, Westport Social was a new level of fun. What other construction meetings end with a game of foosball?!
Claire: How do the requirements of large games such as snookball or ping pong that need more space affect the design? Were waiting areas taken into consideration?
Dana: Throughout the design process, we remained aware of the activities that would be taking place throughout the layout. We worked to incorporate “spectator” gathering spaces throughout the space. There are also many drink rails located throughout the space for those guests who would rather lean back and watch the games during the night.
Claire: Which game will be your go-to game when you visit Westport Social in the future?
Dana: Snookball – it is a really a unique game that I haven’t seen anywhere else!
Make sure to head over to Westport Social to experience the fun-filled and relaxed atmosphere for yourself and try your hand at the unique games they have to offer. We’d love for you to comment below with the game you loved most!Claire Strube