Tonka – Melbourne, Australia by Techné Architects

A transformed nightclub venue in Melbourne’s CBD (Central Business District), Tonka was envisioned by Techné Architects and injected with modern hospitality design highlighted by a dramatic installation.

An exterior red brick wall of this Indian restaurant and bar features dashes of graffiti (which looks quite authentic!), framed posters, with a couple of photographs depicting Tonka’s logo which designate its entrance. A large set of steel-framed glass doors open directly into the bar area. Ceilings are elevated and open creating an inviting spaciousness.

Rack’s Fish House and Oyster Bar – Delray Beach, Florida

Restauranteur Gary Rack has a knack for bringing vibrant eateries with delicious cuisine  to cities which didn’t know how much they needed such a place until his arrival. Rack’s Fish House and Oyster Bar is on a bustling corner in downtown Delray Beach, Florida and serves up a New England-meets-New Orleans menu. The modern restaurant was designed by Karen Hanlon Design and evokes an easygoing, yet upscale ambiance which spills out onto the sidewalk for a see-and-be-seen experience.

While almost all of the restaurants in Delray feature an outdoor dining terrace, Rack’s takes it to the next level with bright red upholstered leather booths which offer much more comfortable seating than the requisite cafe-type tables. This dining zone sits underneath the large neon sign designating the restaurant and features vintage-type dome metal sconces for lighting.

Starbucks – Canal Street, New Orleans

If you don’t catch a glimpse of the siren logo, you may forget you’re in a coffee chain once you step inside Starbucks at the corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Situated in the French Quarter, this store evokes the city’s culture, history and eclectic energy.

Carrying through with Starbucks’ effort to create modern retail design which fits well within a given neighborhood location, these interiors are reminiscent of a merchant’s place circa the early 1900s. The front room greets customers with layers of custom wood and glass displays housing all of the typical coffee concept’s goodies, sandwiches and beverages.

Padarie Cafe – Porto Alegre, Brazil by CRIO Arquiteturas

At almost 2,700 square feet with two levels, Padarie Cafe in Porto Alegre manages to feel like a warm, inviting space. Infused with modern retail design, the restaurant created by CRIO Arquiteturas serves up freshly made gourmet breads, baked goods, pastries and coffees.

An outdoor dining terrace greets guests with several tables nestled under a wooden pergola. A concrete carpet is screened with puffs of grass, creating a softer transition from the sidewalk. The ground floor’s glazing allows for a peek inside the space while above it, an intricate facade of metal herringbone-shaped detail features delectable shades of mint, lemon, apricot, chocolate and cream. Such a stunning aesthetic, this architectural element was inspired by the traditional wheat spike (a main ingredient of Padarie’s breads), and also acts as a privacy screen for the upper level offices, bakery, patisserie and storage areas.

Hot Stuff: Beauty & Essex, Lower East Side, Manhattan

Beauty & Essex is the newer sister to the Stanton Social and helmed by Executive Chef and Partner, Chris Santos. The name may ring familiar, as this culinary superstar is also a judge on the Food Network’s Chopped. 

The entrance of this chic Lower East Side hot spot is a pawnshop, adding just the right dose of grit to the glamour which awaits inside. AvroKo can be credited for the dramatic design of this renovated, turn-of-the-century townhome. With two stories boasting a seductive restaurant and lounge, the transformation begins the moment one steps inside. In fact, the feel is that of being transported to another time and place. Interiors are luscious and luxe with crystal chandeliers, beveled mirrors, tufted upholstered banquettes, curved booths, peacock feathers and gilded accents everywhere.

Mercato e Cucina – Sydney, Australia by Mima Design

Truly any foodie’s dream, Mercato e Cucina is a modern retail concept meshing a butcher, deli, grocer, bakery, wine cellar and restaurant all into one fabulous space. Situated on the ground floor of a building on bustling Victoria Road in Gladesville, Sydney, Australia, this one-stop gourmet destination was envisioned by Mima Design. 

Surfaces are elegant yet functional in glazed tiles, raw concrete floors, timber, stone, brickwork, glass and cooper. Inky black ceilings contrast stark white ones as the space transitions from themed area. Vintage pendant lighting is replicated throughout this modern retail space.

Sportello – Italian Restaurant in Boston Massachusetts by Barbara Lynch Gruppo

People tend to streamline their homes to create more fresh, modern spaces. Barbara Lynch, founder, CEO and culinary mastermind behind Fort Point’s Sportello is taking that notion to food and wine. With its reopening on Friday, November 29, Sportello will now boast a menu of back-to-basics small plates, homemade pastas and polenta, signature entrees, composed salads and soups.

The restaurant itself is a sleek rendition of “counter service” which is what Sportello translates to in Italian. Plentiful bar space is for dining and a new wine bar service. A priority of the redesigned restaurant concept is to focus on approachable wines which many can enjoy.