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Clark’s Oyster Bar

Austin, Texas

A remodel of the former Portabla restaurant (and an auto repair shop before that), the firm worked closely with the owner to revitalize this 1,400 square foot gem from the inside out.

A refreshed kitchen with all new equipment opens up to the bar and dining area, clustered around a 300-gallon aquarium. The new aquarium was positioned between the lively bar area and the quieter table seating to create a visual barrier between the spaces. The aquarium also helps cut off visual access to the restroom doors and service area walkway at the rear of the narrow building.

The material and color palette—stained wood, polished stone, patterned tile and saturated classic hues—is simple yet rich with subtle nautical cues to reflect the menu. Inside, diners can opt to sit at the marble-topped Oyster Bar, pecan-topped bar looking into the working kitchen, or at a quieter dining table just past the aquarium. Outside, cheerful yellow and white awnings covering the wood deck and standing bar create an air of intimacy.