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Cheers to the Ambiance: 5 Architects, 5 Perfect Places for a Drink

Architect Head Shots

There’s more to our favorite cocktail bars, dives, and coffee shops than what’s on tap. What makes these places truly unique is the atmosphere: the gentle hum of background noise, the crisp mountain air, the wide open space.

In this exploration of drink and design, we’re also looking at physical space. What makes a location the perfect place to grab a drink? To answer this question, we asked a few of our friends in the architecture world: What’s your most treasured setting for a toast?

Mountaintop beers. Photo by Lindsay Wilson.


“My favorite toast is absolutely a mountaintop one after a day of skiing with friends. Cold beer, crisp air, tired legs, stunning views, and great company! Cheers! Now I want to go skiing.”

/ Lindsay Wilson, RID
President, Interiors Sector at Corgan



Lakeside in St. Jacob, Illinois. Photo by David Kehm.


“My most treasured place is out by our fire pit next to the lake behind our house in St. Jacob, Illinois with my wife, Kari. We will drink a bottle of wine or two next to the fire while listening to music and talking for hours. The calmness of the water, the fire, the tree canopy over our heads, and the sound of coyotes in the distance.”

/ David Kehm, AIA
Corporate Market Leader/Associate Principal at Christner



The Elbow Inn in Devils Elbow, Missouri. Photo by Jim Wolterman.


“After an exhilarating afternoon of ‘cutting up the twisties’ on my motorcycle, Elbow Inn Bar and BBQ in Devils Elbow, Missouri is a welcome retreat. This is a deep-rooted roadhouse that stands proudly on Old Route 66. It is not the brick and mortar that draws me back to this establishment; it is the people. At first glance, it may be easily passed off as a biker bar. However, within its walls are many sophisticated world travelers that hold this establishment in high reverence. Being located on Old Route 66, explorers from all over the world come to immerse themselves in a hallowed American lifestyle and era that is slowly slipping away. My last toast at the Inn was with a couple from the Czech Republic… ‘Jed opatrne kamarade!’… ‘Ride safe my friend!'”

/ Jim Wolterman, PLA, FASLA, MBA
Founding Partner at SWT Design


Lake Crescent Lodge in Washington. Photo by Ted Spaid.


“One of my favorite places to pause and have a glass of merlot is on the porch of Lake Crescent Lodge nestled within Olympic National Park. I get a great sense of peace as I look west around the curve of the lake and the rising mountainsides. My wife and I have coffee in the morning and wine just about any time from this inspiring setting. The scenery is always changing and seems to understand our mood and needs as we settle in for the perfect moment.”

/ Ted Spaid, CLARB, FASLA
Founding Partner at SWT Design



Steam Espresso
Steam Espresso in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Steam Espresso.


“My local coffee shop, Steam Espresso, in the Platte Park Neighborhood simultaneously invigorates me and provides respite. The atmosphere, from the rich, textural, cast-concrete bar, to the perfectly subdued, yet meticulously curated coffee making experience, provides a warmth around which a rich social buzz trembles each day. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this place is its temporal quality, changing from a warm, tightly proportioned space enveloped with wood, concrete, and aged tin in the cold months, to an open pavilion spilling out to a garden patio, filled with sun, floral scents and the sound of musicians from the nearby Newman Center for the Performing Arts. At this place, there is a connection with community and with time that has a centering quality — a perfect way to start a day.”

/ Dominic Weilminster, AIA
Principal, Business Center Discipline Leader at Stantec



Cheers to Lindsay, David, Jim, Ted, and Dominic for sharing their favorite spots. For more on the intersection of drink and design, check out our the full series.


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Written by Katherine Leonard