Bobby Green of 1933 Group has cornered the market for drinking establishments in Los Angeles with a string of bars including Atwater’s Bigfoot Lodge, Highland Park’s La Cuevita, Culver City’s Oldfield’s Liquor Room, and Silverlake’s Thirsty Crow.
Now Bobby’s about to carve the another notch in his belt of Los Angeles watering holes with the opening of the Deep South inspired “Sassafras” in Hollywood on Vine Street—which at 3000 square feet will be the group’s flagship location.
Tasked with designing the Sassafras logo, I first met with Jim Heimann, who’d acted as AD for several of Bobby’s other projects (and who’s also an editor at Taschen America). Discussing the look that Bobby wanted, it became clear that we needed to move towards a turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th)—and decidedly decorative look,with a sort of organic/plant-like flavor . . . perhaps using decorative borders that felt like vines or roots, to try to get across the feeling of the root-inspired intoxicants that Sassafras will be featuring. Thinking I knew exactly what they wanted, I went through the following roughs, presenting the tighter one to both Bobby and Jim:
The design generally went over OK, except that Bobby wanted the design to become even more specific to the actual sassafras plant. We discussed various ways we could achieve that, and Bobby also provided me with images of roots and of the sassafras plant and flowers. He further explained that the bar will serve root-inspired intoxicants containing both sassafras (from which root beer is made) and sarsaparilla, in addition to barrel-aged cocktails.
So I went back to the drawing board and started over taking into consideration the reference and other comments from the meeting. I then developed the following layout—what I had in mind was to use the ”Brothers” typeface (this font was designed by my friend John Downer) as the basis for the word (except for the cap “S”), so that if we needed to create a straighter, simpler “Sassafras”, it wouldn’t be that much of a problem.
Feeling confident of this direction, I presented it to both Bobby and Jim. With the exception of my needing to add a border back in, it went over well, and I proceeded to flesh the logo out in Illustrator. So here’s where we ended up, both with and without borders:
Sassafras is located at 1233 Vine Street, next door to the historic Villa Elaine. During the 1940s this historic landmark apartment building was home to Man Ray, Orson Welles and Henry Miller (there is a lot of history in this town). Sassafras’ opening will be towards the end of August—so watch this blog for update postings. Hope to see you all there!