The Big Stick Bar & Restaurant by CORE, Washington, DC

March 1st, 2015 by retail design blog

As Winter chills Washington, DC residents, sports fans are cozying up and relaxing at The Big Stick. Located at 20 M Street, SE, right across the street from the Nationals (Baseball) Park, The Big Stick is the latest 2,555 SF bar/restaurant venture from the team behind Justin’s Café. DC-based architecture/design firm CORE gave The Big Stick a modern, Alpine aesthetic that subtly reflects its proximity to the ballpark. Inspired by a European ski trip, CORE was challenged to create a bar-focused restaurant that was as cozy as a chalet but translated well in the busy summer months. Like an active sports bar, the concept needed to convey the social, watering-hole atmosphere of a ski lodge.


The bar at The Big Stick is the main focus, clad in horizontal blond-wood paneling and hand-painted with an Alpine design motif that fades from the concrete bar front onto the floor. High-top tables flank the bar and provide flexible seating, especially for game days. The kitchen, designed to expedite food preparation and service, hides behind the bar. CORE also tucked a secluded lounge space behind a fireplace, where another nod to the Nationals hangs from the ceiling: a bespoke wall sculpture created from baseball bats. CORE made sure that The Big Stick had dining, TV viewing and bar areas for guests in any mood – at lunch, dinner, or after a good ballgame.


Smooth, bleached wood tones set the color palette with generous accents of “Swiss” red, black, white and Dutch-blue. The red and blue are a subtle nod to the Nationals team colors. The Swiss red is the most prominent color as it repeats in a ski-lift inspired booth, and red ceiling panels and plaid-flannel on the lounge walls. Fur throws and leather wing chairs add warmth and texture to the lounge décor. The Big Stick will offer a selection of European lagers and pilsners and American draft beers, as well as a hearty menu of craft sausages, brats, and select high-end bar fare.

Design: CORE
Photography: Maxine Schnitzer

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