The Shelby & Coffee Down Under
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

Can you see the TVs we integrated into the back bar? No? Good, that was the point! (Photo: Rebecca Simonov)

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

From the vault to the lounge. The banquettes’ color is meant to evoke the color of money (Photo: Rebecca Simonov)

A last minute koala graphic we designed for Coffee Down Under to dress up that existing pipe has become an Instagram sensation (Photo: Tarun Kajeepeta)

Floor Plan


Tarun Kajeepeta






607 Shelby Street
Detroit, MI 48226


Interior Design
Furniture Selection
Environmental Graphics 


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,

Related Work