Like much of the sociable public, Seattle designer Callie Meyer was sick of the Edison-bulb-and-reclaimed-wood aesthetic. She made that very clear when designing Foreign National, a 28-seat bar co-owned by chefs Eric Johnson and Seth Hammond in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. (Johnson, who spent 10 years working at Jean-Georges restaurants around the globe, and Hammond also co-own Stateside, the hometown-favorite restaurant next door.) “I wanted to do a dark, sexy den,” she says. “The type of bar your expat friends in Bangkok or Saigon would tell you about.” Meyer, a designer and prop stylist for everyone from Starbucks to Martha Stewart and part of the duo Barnard and Meyer, ended up importing finds from all over the world to get the look she was after. She sourced vintage flocked wallpaper from German website Johnny-Tapete, and a 42-inch antique disco ball from the local showroom of Kirk Albert Vintage Furnishings that was originally made for a hotel in Georgia.
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Inside Foreign National, the Seattle bar with strongest Instagram potential.By Surface November 18, 2016
The main challenge in designing the bar, Meyer says, was the structure, a 1910 one car garage. “People in Seattle are not like New Yorkers, who you can stack on top of each other and they’re fine with it.” The solution? Give it the right accoutrements to create something eye catching. Meyer had the arched bar covered in reflective brass, lined the walls in burgundy and gold-flecked wallpaper, and brought in vintage white Benihana tiki mugs to serve drinks in. Her experiment seems to have worked: Seattle’s cool kids are now coming in droves to guzzle Singapore Slings and Sorrel Sours, the latter a mix of gin, citrus, and egg whites. Ironically, the area with the strongest Instagram potential at Foreign National may well be the bathroom. “I did this cool 1970s pink, really semi-hideous wallpaper with matching pink tiles, toilet, and sink—and a golden swan faucet from a cheesy cruise ship,” Meyer says. “It’s really dramatic.” Hashtag bathroom goals.