Bringing life to the historical Joseph W. Podmore Building, Podmore has a distinct English flair that complements the historically and architecturally significant structure. With a brunch by day, cocktail by night concept, the space effortlessly transforms from a bright and airy lunch spot to a moody and ambient bar. A sophisticated oasis for downtown Honolulu, Podmore is deeply rooted in the building’s storied past while offering an escape from the business-oriented downtown with its extraordinary list of cocktails from a culinary lens. Designed to support one of the State’s most celebrated chefs, every aspect of the space celebrates Podmore’s emphasis on craft, as evident in the making of both food and cocktails.
At two stories, the Joseph W. Podmore Building was built in 1902 in the Richardsonian Romanesque-style and is one of the few surviving cut-stone buildings constructed out of native lava rock. Initially an office building for notable tenants such as Honolulu Advertiser and the original Honolulu DHL Office, the Podmore Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Podmore makes use of a sequence of large windows along Merchant and Alakea Street to establish a connection to the street and frame intimate seating areas. Built in and loose furniture are arranged to conform to the existing building fenestration layout while maximizing the seat count. Leveraging the shared heritage of the chef and Joseph W. Podmore, English nuances such as rich, dark colors, brass accents, and detailed moldings/ trims enliven the interior. Curves, organic forms, and brighter reflective finishes, lighten the saturated interior palette and differentiate the seated spaces, lounge, nook, booths, corner, counter, encouraging guests to request a different spot for every visit. The lounge, towards the back of the restaurant, has a lower ceiling that creates an intimate space that feels distinct from the general dining area while concealing additional storage for the owners behind a wisteria mural. Storage spaces were also incorporated within the curved booth seating and sides of the bar counter to further add efficiency for the owners. To give Podmore an illusion of grandeur, the design team re-worked the structure reinforcement and the HVAC layout to maximize ceiling height, minimize visual obstruction, and made use of large pattern flooring. By retrofitting the Podmore Building, the new concept restaurant/bar strives to be mindful of preserving the building’s historic past while transplanting guests from their everyday experience.