240 9th Avenue
Designer: Berman Horn Studio
Txikito brings Basque-country charm to a dreary strip of 9th Avenue near 25th Street. Designed and built on a tight budget in a challenging space, the architects, Maria Berman and Brad Horn of Berman Horn Studio, have nonetheless imbued it with appealing warmth and character. Walls and ceiling are clad with reclaimed 19th-century barn wood from New Haven, while custom-designed brass lamps complement the worn texture of the wood. “We wanted to add something historical without it being historicist,” Berman explained. Garage doors slide above the dropped wooden ceiling, leaving the storefront fully open, exposing custom-made tables and chairs from Ikea. Limestone wall panels create a horizontal datum where the eyes (and elbows) can rest, while the bar performs many space-defining functions at once: At its widest it serves as countertop, then nearly disappears into the wall as it encircles the space, only to pop out above the tables as a wine shelf. The electric blue rear wall and vibrant red accents reflect Basque architectural traditions, while helping to enliven the space, which—along with the Spanish wine—celebrates the tapas bar as a central social construct of Basque culture.