Ichicoro Ane

Looking to open a new venue in St. Petersburg, Florida, the team behind Ichicoro tapped the experts at Dutch East Design to conceptualize a refreshed bar and restaurant venue set within a historic firehouse.

  • area / size 3,500 sqft
  • Year 2017
  • Building on existing Ichicoro’s brand recognition in neighboring Tampa, Ichicoro Ane in St. Pete was to be the spirited big sister— she embraces tradition, but has set her own path. Ane is far larger than the other Ichicoro locations, with a more expansive menu and a lively bar scene styled after a traditional Izakaya.

    The venue is tucked away beneath the Station House, a co-working space, and gallery, what was once a firehouse in this 100-year old building. After descending the stairs to Ichicoro Ane, one arrives at the bar. The 3,500 square foot space is broken down after that into dining area, private dining room, a separate ramen bar, and a private cocktail lounge.

    It was important that traces of the brand’s Brooklyn roots could be seen. The basement’s existing conditions were the perfect canvas—a subterranean den lent itself very well to the Izakaya-influenced bar scene, and the ceiling’s heavy, aged timbers and bare concrete floor displayed the kind of patina that would work for Ichicoro’s older, wiser sister. The space was laid out based upon the notion of a “slow reveal”, to uncover and discover what lays beyond, always giving a sense of mystery and transparency all at the same time.

    Within this palette a system of fine white oak slatted screens was interwoven to create the various dining and drinking functions. These permeable walls, some operable, reinforce the slow reveal and interconnectivity that was desirable for a space that ultimately had to also function as a single cohesive realm. It’s intimate and energetic at the same time. Within the roughly hewed framework are some very precise details in furniture and millwork. Wood and concrete interlock with precision on the bar counter and table tops. The walnut bar in the lounge has a hemp rope stitch in its face. The aesthetic is a blend of high energy, grit, sophistication and warmth.

    The lounge was conceived as the only area that could be completely shut off from the rest. Intended for private events, or just to provide a more lounge-like experience on a busy evening, the lounge has a very different vibe. Unlike all other areas, it is filled with plush, upholstered seating. Of particular interest is the mural. During the early design phases the women pearl divers of Japan, Ama, were often referenced to evoke a kind of muse for Ichicoro’s big sister. So Brooklyn-based artist Luigi Scarcella was sought out to fuse his own graphic style with the Ichicoro Ane narrative – the Ama are depicted in underwater combat with mythical creatures, and generally ruling the seas.

    Design: Dutch East Design
    Photography: Seamus Payne