Modern Updates to a Historic Bar

Willard Intercontinental Hotel, Washington, D.C.

The Willard Bar is located in Washington, D.C.’s famed Willard Intercontinental Hotel. It is one of the city’s most storied gathering spots: the Round Robin Bar. First opened in 1847, it is said that the bar has hosted luminaries such as Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and Abraham Lincoln. We were asked to update the Round Robin’s stained wood and dark green felt walls while maintaining the space’s historic feel.

The bar is named after its circular island bar, which is the centerpiece of the entire space. The whole area around the bar received a facelift, including a new chandelier adorned with hand-applied gilding, a new granite bar top with some slight green veining, and a warm walnut finish to the face of the bar.

The finishes on the bar seating were redesigned as well. While the space has a sophisticated color scheme with medium greens, browns, and golds throughout, we added a bit of texture and pattern where appropriate. For example, the leather on the back of the barstools has an embossed diamond pattern that adds a needed pop.

One of the most significant changes we made was to the walls. While they were previously a forest green, they are now covered in a grass-green beaded wallpaper. This material lightens up the space and adds a warm glow to the restaurant.

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For the historic bar’s entryway, we chose a durable gold ombre wallpaper, which also lit up the space. We carried the same carpet into the entry and added chairs that complement those found in the bar area but with tufted and higher backs.

Learn more about our Round Robin Bar project.

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