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Anejo: Restaurant Design At It's Best

The most imperative part of a restaurant's success is obviously its food, and of course, drinks. There is simply nothing better than walking into a spot you haven't tried before and taking a peek at the menu to find so many delicious options and tasty treats.

A dimly lit brick wall at the back of the restaurant decorated with thick white candles on sparse wooden shelves organized at random

Another integral aspect of a restaurant's success is something that not many people notice, especially when it's done right. Yes, I'm talking about the design of the restaurant. Design sets the atmosphere, the tone, and the mood for the diner's experience. It is often a place that people gather to share laughter, love, and genuine conversation – so providing the right atmosphere is absolutely key. There are many components to a successful restaurant design; the right amount of seating options, the right lighting at different times of the day/night, traffic flow for both patrons and staff, and an interesting yet fully-functional bar design. More obvious elements such as wall colour, wall décor, and flooring that will both suit the look, as well as wear and tear that comes along with all of the foot traffic an eat and drink establishment must endure.

As I enter Anejo for the first time, I'm thrilled to notice that this establishment meets all of the requirements for great restaurant design. Because Anejo is a Mexican restaurant, it's important the feel is communicated while still keeping things up to date and in the realm of design that Calgarians appreciate and respond to. This is done beautifully through their mix of raw, contemporary and clean architectural detail. With wooden ceiling beams and integrated recessed pot lighting, exposed brick, and hardwood and tile flooring throughout, the shell of the space was done so simply that it offers itself successfully to the intricate décor that comes along with Mexican tradition.

Calmly lit view from the middle of the restaurant facing out the front through the dining area

Personally, my favourite detail of décor within the space is the black feature wall with a multitude of crosses and rosemary beads done in different materials, colours, and mediums. This touch offers homage to Mexican traditions, while creating a stunning decorative detail. The raw feel of the wood floors and brick walls is complemented by metal details in the accessories found in skulls above the bar, iron shelf supports, and wrought iron coat hangers throughout. These details really add to the "bad ass" feel of the restaurant's skull logo.

Anejo feels very spacious while still offering intimacy, with the option for group seating, and different moods throughout. Near the bar there is an abundance of natural lighting – making it a great space for hanging out and having casual chats with co-workers or friends. Near the entrance of Anejo there is banquette seating featuring black leather and wooden tables. As this space is located farther from the large windows it provides a more intimate feel one would want on a date, or for a quieter more private chit chat. Dividing these two lighting atmospheres is the mid part of the restaurant, which maintains a happy medium between the two moods.

If all of these great aspects of Anejo aren't enough peak your curiosity, then the food will definitely do the trick of getting your mouth watering! From great options of Beef, Pork, and Ahi Tuna tacos, Caesar salad with a Mexican twist, Mexican plates complete with rice and beans, to guacamole that is mixed right at your table, you're bound to find something you love.


Written by guest author Kayla Osborne



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