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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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