2036 G Street, NW
When the local firm GrizForm Design Architects was invited by the owners of Tonic to come and revamp their outdoor space, the first consideration was overall design. “We are immediately sensitive to movement and flow of people,” said Brooke Loewen. “Flow and function drive everything that follow.”
With this in mind, the designers created a contemporary beer garden in the middle of Foggy Bottom. It was envisioned as the perfect spot for leisure and study sessions during the summer day.
When the bar and restaurant are closed, students from neighboring George Washington University will spread out over the custom designed picnic tables built from light white oak and brightened with powdered metal legs in lively papaya.
Lunchtime would see a mix of local business workers, students, and neighbors. And at nightfall, the expansive outdoor space could take on a biergarten element. The bars, built from mahogany and topped with light colored granite, are cleverly built on industrial casters and can slide, as needed, to create a free form bar.
Jeremy Pollok, who co-owns both locations of Tonic and other nearby bars and restaurants with Eric “Bernie” Bernstrom, began collaboration on the project with GrizForm in July of 2012. GWU had demolished the buildings on the corner of G St and 20th Sts and the outdoor lot adjacent to Tonic was sitting empty. The brick patio and summer garden now sit on top of university classroom and parking spaces far below the ground.
The redesign continues on the dining patio on the opposite side of the building. Sleek chairs in a matching color palette dot the al fresco setting. Awnings and fans temper the summer heat and outside dining is once again tolerable.
On Tuesday night, when Tonic welcomed the masses to celebrate the new space at a tiki themed happy hour, movement and flow were on full display. Staircases from inside Tonic led guests to the outdoor space, able to accommodate 78 seated and a healthy crowd at the bar. As envisioned by the designers, they lounged at the picnic tables and bellied up to the bars. A light breeze flickered the tiki torches and the GrizForm vision came alive in the night.