See how The Banq used polished brass bar rail to complement their Prohibition-era design as well as play on the building’s history as a financial institution.
For this profile, we’re returning to the popular skiing and tourist destination of Ellicottville, N.Y. to visit The Banq Cocktails & Lounge, an upscale cocktail lounge that opened in December 2019.
The design concept of The Banq is tied directly to the historical significance of the site where the business resides. Before becoming the bar & cocktail lounge it is today, the building was an actual bank branch whose origin dates back to 1890. A number of original features from the former bank were incorporated as part of the art deco-inspired design, including the tin ceiling, advertising signage from the 1920s, as well as the bank’s original vault and safe deposit vault. The vault, with its 2-feet thick concrete walls, currently serves as the coatroom. Patrons will eventually be able to use the direct deposit boxes inside the vault to store their personal stash of whiskey to be kept on-site for future consumption. Talk about being a regular!
The Banq interior exudes a Prohibition Speakeasy or Great Gatsby vibe with its vintage decor, rich wooden floors, emerald green ceiling and walls, and an eye-catching collection of hand-painted portraits that were purchased from an estate sale. The lounge is a cozy place to sip selections from their signature craft cocktail menu. Inspired by the roaring 20’s era, their menu features a number of unique concoctions including the Cable Car which uses homemade cinnamon syrup and spiced rum and the Hot Verde made from tequila that is infused on-site with fresh jalapenos.
The Banq is the second business in the heart of Ellicottville for owner Dina DiPasquale. DiPasquale also operates Dina’s bar and restaurant, located adjacent to her newest venture. When trying to craft the image for The Banq, DiPasquale turned to her first general manager, James Czora, to help with an initial concept. Their goal was to create an establishment that stood out from the number of popular and well-known bars and restaurants that already exist in Ellicottville.
DiPasquale decided to use KegWorks polished brass bar foot rail to complement the gold and brass fixtures inside The Banq. The combination of green walls and golden-hued fixtures is a fitting nod to the lounge’s name and the history of the building.
Back in March 2020, the original General Manager of The Banq Cocktails & Lounge, James Czora, sat down with KegWorks to talk about the design and construction of the project.
KegWorks: Tell us about the background of The Banq and where the idea for the design came from.
James Czora: Dina DiPasquale purchased the property and was trying to find something to fill the space that would be fun and exciting, and that Ellicottville doesn’t have. I came on board and we started collaborating on what the idea of what this space would be. It was a bank from 1890 until about five years ago and now it is The Banq Cocktails & Lounge.
K: Where did the design for the bar space come from?
JC: It’s kind of funny. The design for the bar space came from the footprint from the bar that’s located on the second story of our other property, Dina’s. It’s the exact same shape, size, and dimensions. With the footprint of the space, it fits it perfectly.
K: Did you come up with the design on your own?
JC: The interior design choices were all made by Dina. She also has her own company called Dina’s Interiors where she designs local businesses, she does a lot of people’s homes and condos in the area. She’s very talented and has a super good vision.
K: What were the challenges you faced during construction?
JC: For the most part we didn’t run into too many challenges when it comes to turning this space into what it was. It was a pretty wide-open space that just had some cubicle walls, desks from the 1970s, and some bad shag carpeting. Probably the biggest challenge was that we took about 50 tons of fills by hand just in buckets so that we can have an actual basement and kitchen space that was usable.
K: Why did you decide to work with KegWorks for your bar rail?
JC: One of the reasons is because we’ve worked with them in the past. The customer service has always been phenomenal, and they have everything that you need. It was a one-stop-shop to get the bar rail in a timely manner that fit our very, very tight deadline going from paint to open in two months.
K: Why did you choose polished brass for your bar rail finish?
JC: If you take a look around through the entire space you see a lot of green and you see a lot of gold. If you think of a bank, green is the color of money and gold obviously has some value to it as well, so the brass finish fits in with all the ornate details that Dina chose.
K: How did you decide on using the rounded center post brackets to support the bar rail?
JC: Dina went through all the options, and she thought that was one that would fit the design the best. There’s a speakeasy vibe in the space, and that’s probably the one that would be the most period correct for what we were going for here.
K: What did you think when you first saw everything installed?
JC: The one thing we thought once we saw it all put together and lit up is how well it ties the room together. It really takes the space from just another bar to make it feel like it’s been here a little while, like it’s more period correct. We’re all really happy with it.
Find the finish that fits your project
The Banq selected polished brass bar rail to match their design concept that played on the history of their location. No matter the theme of your project, adding bar rail is a great way to complete your design goals while providing comfort for your guests. Contact our team of bar rail experts to learn more or order some of our bar rail sample chips to explore which finishes will work for you.
Dave Buchanan has been the Content Writer for KegWorks since June 2019. He has a fondness for craft beer that developed while working for a local beer distributor. Dave also worked for an area sports talk radio station for several years, and continues his broadcasting work as a motorsports announcer and indoor lacrosse reporter.