Last week we had the pleasure of popping into 9 Below (which, hidden under the Hibernia Club on Stephen’s Green, is as off the beaten track and as hard to find as Platform 9 and 3/4 in Harry Potter) for a few (almost orgasmic) cocktails and bar nuts so tasty, we’d happily survive on their bar nuts forever more. Now, in the interest of being honest – this bar is not somewhere we’re going to go to lash into the Prosecco after a particularly tough, erm, Tuesday. It’s pricey and not a million miles away from the vibe of the award-winning Connaught Bar in London’s Mayfair (in fact the same guy who used to run that has returned home to take the helm at 9 Below). So you’re not here for a two-for-one-deal or anything of the sort, but for the experience. And oh, what an experience. If you fancy treating yourself to a luxury tipple – maybe before or after a meal – in a beautiful environment, this is where to do it.
The reason we were so intrigued to check it out, of course, was because of the decor. We use this word so much it probably loses all meaning, but this bar is stunning in its simplicity. Exploring the intimate corners of this luxurious establishment – there are four cosy spaces, the cellar, the bar, the drawing room and the lounge, that all lead seamlessly from one to the next – you would easily expect to bump into Mad Men’s Don Draper and his latest lover, engaging in an affair over a duo of Old Fashioneds – but every cocktail here is a bespoke, signature creation.
Here’s what caught our eye in terms of the interiors, and how you can recreate the look (for less) at home.
As luxe fabrics go, velvet is staying put well into 2018 and we suspect it will stick around for much of 2019 as well. If it’s not a petrol blue/green (the bar stools) it’s a millennial pink (think of Sketch London) and 9 Below nails both. It’s not OTT, it’s not gimmicky, it’s sumptuous and effortlessly chic. The secret to 9 Below’s fabric and furniture selection is that it’s mixed. Not everything is the same. Yes they use pink velvet and the teal bar stools as their main feature, but you’ll also find odd pieces that look ‘one of a kind’ that help to elevate the whole look. In this way, it’s Pinterest perfection but you also won’t find anything else like it. If the pink/green velvet causes your heart to flutter, you’ll find something suitably similar on Cult Furniture or MADE.com.
2. Exposed Concrete
The original vaulted ceiling in the bar area has been left exposed and untouched. It’s raw, rough and textured but it balances the luxury of the cherry wood bar, brass accents and plush fabrics elsewhere. It keeps things cool and unpretentious. Concrete is another hot decor trend this year and while you might not have a vaulted ceiling as gorgeous as this at your disposal, you can incorporate concrete accents in with a pendant light, a table lamp, a vase or even a concrete sink. 9 Below’s bar epitomises the idea of the rough with the smooth.
3. Brick effect
In another part of this discrete bar, you’ll find lots of whitewashed brick, again balancing the more luxe elements of the decor. Rough exposed brick, like concrete, is becoming increasingly popular. But if you don’t have original brick walls to ‘expose’, you can always cheat your way to this look with brick cladding or brick-effect tiles. They’re super affordable and if you’re not prepared to do the white-washing yourself, you can easily pick them up already styled in this way. Check out the 3D brick wallpaper option too.
4. Art Deco and mid-century accents
We fell in love with this art deco style lamp, perched on top of a beautiful mid-century side table. The brass details – the lighting, the shelving behind the bar, the piping across the walls – and the warm wood add a cosiness to the space. We also loved the simplicity of the picture lamps in the hallway that cast a subtle warm glow to the unit beneath.
5. Fabulous flooring
When we stopped looking up at the concrete and brick ceilings, we looked down to the beautiful floors. In the bar area you have simple parquet wood flooring which is the easiest way to up the luxe factor in your home. In the bathroom they opted for monochrome tiles that were Gatsby-esque but not OTT. The piece de resistance, however, was the opulent high-pile carpet, on which the pink velvet seating sits pretty. For a carpet like this you need to be brave and prepared to commit. However, you can also take inspiration from this and apply it to your cushions and throws.
6. Devil in the detail
Last but by no means least, we have to draw your attention to the gorgeous swallows on the concrete ceiling. So subtle, so perfect. Swallows are very classy and you can easily find yourself a stencil online and either apply it to your wall with a spray paint or take to it with a brush.