Best New Authentic Use of Reclaimed Wood

Chop Bar

There's perhaps no more obvious sign of the "new authentic" aesthetic in the East Bay than the ubiquitous presence of reclaimed wood. Adding a roughness and refined earthiness, reclaimed wood has become so common that it can sometimes feel forced, and occasionally falls flat. But Chop Bar, nestled between the condos and warehouses of the Jack London district, executes the ambience perfectly; its bold but tasteful use of charred, scratched, and multicolored wood epitomizes the upscale-yet-casual vibe the restaurant strives for — from its food, to its drinks, to its decor. Designed by Jeffrey Ruiz, the interior includes wood that was gathered from an old barn in Marin and, according to owner Chris Pastena, really "sets the tone for who we are." Perhaps that's what's so special about the use of the aged wood at Chop Bar; there's no pretense about it. We couldn't imagine the space any other way.

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