Shelby Speakeasy
Primary Projects + Chris Johnson

A Detroit bar concealed by a coffee shop

For this underground, speakeasy-style bar in Detroit, we used the motifs of early twentieth century banking as a nod to the space’s past as a bank. The teller enclosures are transformed into a tiered, arcade-like backbar for displaying bottles. Throughout the space, the material palette nods to the colors of money: a gold backbar, money green velour banquette seats, and metallic fixtures.

The entry to the bar is concealed behind a fully-operational coffee shop. We selected a warm white palette for the coffee area to create contrast and heighten the drama of the entry into the bar.

The idea of the coffee shop, which we brought to the project, provides the client with a unique offering to attract customers, and an additional eight hours of revenue, daily.

The coffee shop is light & airy...

...while the speakeasy is dark & moody

The backbar is the focal point of the space

The backbar was inspired by early 20th Century bank teller stations

The “money green” velvet banquettes contribute to a cozy vibe outside the vault

The vault is lined with velvet to dampen sound and warm the space

The speakeasy is hidden behind the back wall of the coffee shop

Floor Plan






607 Shelby Street
Detroit, MI 48226


Interior Design
Furniture Selection
Graphic Design


MA Engineering
MEP Engineer

Great Lakes Culinary Designs
Kitchen Consultant

CIR Group
General Contractor

Fillmore Building & Design
Backbar Fabrication  

Pfeiffer Custom Furnishings

Jason Keen + Co,