Updates + Love Notes

Cody's Top 10 | Moody Interiors

7/17/2016 | Cody Derrick

Cody's Top 10: Best Moody Interiors for Dinner or Drinks

For me, there are few things more important than space. I've spoken to this no less than a thousand times on this very website, but still…I like saying it. Space shapes life. Our surroundings have absolutely everything to do with the way we feel. Naturally then, it stands to reason that restaurants and bars the world over should take great care in the design of their spaces. This little post marks the first in a series: basically, it's all my favorite things in Salt Lake City. My "Top 10" list (that will sometimes run just shy of 10...or just over) of our city's fine points, hot spots, and local goods. This is the crème de la crème of this badass city of ours. For my first go, I'm giving a well-deserved shout to those spaces in Salt Lake and Park City (in no particular order) that I find to be irresistible for a drink or a bite...

1. Copper Common. This place just feels right after sunset. They know the value of good music, and they nail the volume, so the bigger the crowd, the better the vibe starts to feel. That said, I also feel 100% comfortable taking a book into Copper Common and reading alone. And it doesn't hurt that the bartenders/servers know my name and know their shit (good job, Mo).

2. Pallet. Damn right, a restaurant that I designed is on this list! Every last detail in Pallet--from the art to the art lights, the candles to the communal tables--was an intentional invitation to have a seat in your own living room. With small tables, music up, and lights down, people are inclined to move closer to one another to interact. It encourages intimacy, and we designed Pallet with that very idea in mind.

3. Handle. The way you're treated in a restaurant is the primary detail that will make you a loyal customer or a Yelp-reviewing hater. Handle is all about service, and they have it dialed. This is another of those spaces that feels just as welcome to a single diner as it does to large groups. It's a superb representation of its Park City environment and there's nothing to pull you out of the experience.

4. Finca. You'll note that most of the spots on this list have one thing in common: multiple seating areas, each with its own design, vibe, and invitation to enjoy in a unique way. That's precisely what we intended in our design of Finca (yes, we designed this one, too). Whether you're there for churros, wine, or supper, there's a spot for you. It's like an evening at an updated version of your eclectic grandma's house.

5. Huka Room (at Cedar's of Lebanon). This small room in Cedar's of Lebanon has authenticity in spades, and I love it. It's all no-fuss and mismatched fabric, and thereby, perfect in its imperfection. Windows to the sidewalk make you feel connected to the city, and you can just cozy up by your people, pull on the huka (or not), and enjoy.

6. Eva's. I love that--even though it's still a relatively new place--Eva's is already working to reinvent the interior, to keep things cozy. Here again, this is a place that encourages intimacy with all diners. Even when it's jam-packed, the energy is stellar. It's got New York restaurant vibes, what with the small space, busy atmosphere, and good music. I love it.

7. HSL. Okay, this isn't open quite yet. But since we partnered with owners, Melissa and Briar, on the design I'm pretty certain that the SLC version of Handle will be among my favorite spots to dine/drink when it opens in a few weeks. It'll be a departure from my typical translation of a moody interior: think fresh and light…my Salt Lake-infused take on a jungle bar in Tulum. With incredible food to match. Get excited.

8. Martine's. You can't beat the atmosphere in Martine's, and I love it. It's nostalgic, small, and it's got "local" written all over it. I always bump into people I know--who I assume are there for the same reasons I am--and it's the perfect space for good conversation. This is also the only place in the city I can think of that gives you the distinct feeling that you could actually be in any other city in the world. It's magical.

9. The Rest. It's nice to be led somewhere…it makes for an experience. I love walking into Bodega--what appears to be nothing more than a teeny tiny bar--then following the host downstairs and entering the dimness to essentially disappear for a few hours. The Rest is impeccably-designed, the menu is great, they spin from a rad record collection, and (like me) they live by the love of candlelight.

10. cityhomeCOLLECTIVE Lounge. All of the above. Except that it's at our house. It's a client-only space and not technically open to the public, but we do host events throughout the year, so watch for it. I'm tooting my own horn here, but it feels pretty amazing in the COLLECTIVE lounge…come over for a drink sometime (don't worry, it's free).

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