MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB & BREWERY is a decade-old favorite in the heart of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. People arrive in droves to this famously grateful space for elaborate, epicurean pub standards, distinctive brews, and a strong dosing of that 60's love. Tasked with updating both the growing brand and the stale interiors, a strategy was developed which better relates to the Victorian architecture of the building and the experimental drug culture the area is well known for. A single tab of acid serves as a fresh new logo. The menus are printed onto fully perforated sheets of acid which are then affixed to a book filled with subtly coded Grateful Dead show dates, playlists, bootleg tapings, historic facts about the building and various Magnolia beer recipes. Gently psychedelic illustrations with a modern twist prevent the rich black, silver and gold tones from creating too serious an atmosphere. The bill is delivered in custom-made hollow books, referencing that famous hiding place for contraband of all kinds. Lastly, fanatical customers can congregate and share stories on a colorful website, where event information and artwork appear as a liquid image soaking into blotter paper.
When designing interiors it’s exciting to apply the brand to many unexpected aspects of the experience. From the “M” framework of the custom wall sconces, to the Jerry Garcia shrine built into the wall, the Magnolia concept and its love for all things local was applied in broad strokes. The bathrooms are made from local salvage, the booths from vintage leathers, the walls from antique tunnel tile; even the bar and tables are built using wood from the old San Francisco Levi's factory. Mirrors were burnt to look like acid tabs, and laser-engraved with various performance dates, beer brewing recipes, and song titles that appear throughout Magnolia's print goods.
There is something noticeably D.I.Y. about 60’s era psych-graphics, but an influx of more sophisticated customers see “groovy” as an eye-rolling caricature which has been commercialized beyond recognition. By integrating the basic warmth and raw, handmade enthusiasm that people enjoyed at the time, a program was created that made the magnolia history more accessible.
✮ Photo by Eric Wolfinger