Located in the heart of Washington Heights, is a tiny bar with a goal; a goal to change the way you look at drinking. Poción, meaning “potion” in Spanish, wants to lure you in with its specialty ‘potions’ and bespoke vegan bites. The bar’s design is trendy without trying too hard, and never forgetting it’s roots; as Dominican owner, Alex Peralta first was inspired to create the bar as a homage to DR’s national drink; Mamajuana, without being completely literal in translation. Poción, delves deeper than just one holistic form of fusing herbs and liquors, which the menu illustrates using hand renderings, drawn by studioBIG’s founder, Leah Plevrites, where you are able to easily see the role each ingredient plays in making your next cocktail a healthy one. The bartenders create Poción’s branded concoctions using tiny bottle droppers right in front of you; making the whole process even more of an exciting experience, each “potion” experiments with an array of aromatic, medicinal and just plain delicious ingredients.
The brand concept, logo and interiors all designed by young firm, studioBIG, was a collaboration of Peralta and Plevrites’ understanding of the same goal; the bar wanted to be different and contemporary; yet remain organic in it’s use of materials and flow of space. Live music is a must in Hispanic culture, and that was one of the design requirements, which needed to fit within the sliver of SF allotted to the layout. studioBIG, took the challenge and was able to not only allocate versatile space for live music but create a shorter bottle wall, which would double as a trough sink hiding the restrooms at the end of the lounge space, giving the illusion of a larger, cleaner ambience. The bottle concept stems from the simple and purist need of bottles to house different potions, therefore this theme is seen on the main feature wall across the bar, housing a meticulously calculated wall of varying sized bottles in a mixture of green, blue and clear glass, further adding to the design of the bar’s brand.
The entire right side of the lounge features linear wood planks, which traverse the entire west side of the lounge, beginning at the entrance, continuing to form banquette seating under the bottle feature wall, and folding at the end to create the bottled wall hiding the restroom entrances. This side really wanted to invite guests to sit and lounge, savoring every beautifully presented vegan delicacy.
The main bar, although much simpler than the attention grabbing bottle wall; definitely does not take the back seat. Flanked on the north end by a back-lit laser cut metal wall, which verbally expresses the bar’s unique concept, is easily visible by the many pedestrian commuters and passersby. The south end features a custom made wallpaper, also by studioBIG, which reminds you of the bar’s brand identity, in which two circles meet to create a fusing pattern, very similar to the idea of cocktail ingredients fusing to create an exceptional potion. Above the bartop, are thin fragile test tube chandeliers custom made in Poland, which add the soft finishing touch to the heavier concrete material of the bar and floor. New York City need not be vegan to quickly be seduced by Pocion’s brand of healthy boozing and natural bites.