In a crowded retail market, consumers are increasingly craving engaging shopping experiences while still expecting companies to uphold high standards for their products. Now, one way that luxury retailers, especially those in Manhattan, are luring customers is by incorporating cafés into their floorplans.
Nordstrom's new 57th Street flagship includes Shoe Bar, offering cocktails and small plates right in the middle of its women's shoe floor. Brooks Brothers' Red Fleece Cafe serves Stumptown Coffee Roasters beverages. And last year, Saks Fifth Avenue created buzz with the opening of the L’Avenue restaurant and ski chalet-inspired bar area, designed by Philippe Starck.
The luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman is joining the retail café scene with the launch of Goodman's Bar, located on the second floor of the Goodman's Men's Store on Fifth Avenue. The café, which has a European flair, opened with a limited menu during the holiday season last year, but it's finally in full operation. The company teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Austin Johnson and Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson to bring the space to life. Susan Homan, Bergdorf's VP of Store Design and Interiors, and Mika Raja, Director of Architecture and Planning, also played a significant role in the design, drawing inspiration from the iconic store's Art Deco façade as well as Central Park's natural beauty.
"We placed the bar at the actual 'heart' of the Men’s Store, cozy and tucked away, yet still perched within eyesight and earshot of the action, in the eye of our rotunda," says Linda Fargo, SVP, Fashion Office and Store Presentation. "Like the global marketplace we curate from to fill our stores at Bergdorf’s, there are numerous and collected international design influences built into the bar. For Bergdorf’s, it’s always in the mix, done through our signature BG taste lens."
From saddle leather bentwood caned banquettes that bring to mind the famous Viennese coffee bars and cafés of Austria to the fluted wood bar that boasts a Deco Paris vibe, there's so much to appreciate about the design. Vintage dining room chairs by Franz Schuster, lighting from the New York-based design studio Apparatus, and American bird photography by artist Leila Jeffries enhance the look. A taste of New York was also incorporated into the design scheme. "We asked de Gournay, the world-class and extraordinary scenic mural supplier, with whom we worked on and off with for over 20 years, to create a custom mural as a centerpiece of Central Park and embedded with iconic landmark drawings," says Fargo. "Bergdorf’s has a long history of sharing that vista and it serves as a reminder of where we are in and brings the outside in."
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