As the first of several Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-designed Blue Bottle cafés on the east coast, this new 1,500-square-foot Georgetown location repurposes an early 1900s light industrial structure into a simple, elegant, modern café. Situated alongside the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at the end of a brick paved street, the modest masonry structure sits adjacent to a footbridge over the canal. The café opens up onto this serene site with a large folding glass window that references the old garage bay opening and directly connects the café to the surrounding historic Old Georgetown neighborhood.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson organized the café around distinct moments that honor the existing masonry building and reinforce the views to the surrounding landscape. Perimeter seating offers views of the canal, and a large folding glass window at the old car bay entrance acts as a seating bar from the interior and a standing bar at the exterior, pushing the vibrancy of the café out toward the street. The cast-in-place concrete ceiling was exposed to reveal the repetitive concrete roof beams which were simply cleaned and painted; this element, along with a polished existing concrete slab, provides a texture and patina that complements the finely detailed ash millwork.
A key element of the design is an elegant wooden surround that highlights the intimate performance and ritual of coffee making. Millwork details, built-in seating, and thoughtful furniture selection create an environment that celebrates the art of Blue Bottle's craft.