Meet Me At The Tav

As the evening sets in, the ambience at the Tav is already lively and people are slowly streaming in. The upbeat music playing in the background certainly sets the mood for a laid-back evening. As I walk in to the pub the generous use of European smoked walnut cannot go unnoticed, emphasizing the rustic theme.

I meet with the owners Christina Rodrigues and Njuguna Mugo who gives us a tour around. I am quite intrigued by the branding at the entrance as the logo is made of cut out barrel pieces with a slight charred finish, the letters in a glowing green hue complementing the dark shade of the wood. Directly opposite is additional sitting area where the tables are actually barrels which also have a charred finish. The seats are simple bar stools which I am informed are made out of eucalyptus wood and have an interesting grazed finish. Whose great hands are behind the great wood craftsmanship you wonder? well I am informed that the furniture is actually made by the same company that is responsible for the design of the space.

The seats are simple bar stools which I am informed are made out of eucalyptus wood

“The name Tav is actually the name of our university bar in Australia.” Says Njuguna. Their original plan was to open a generic restaurant and after in depth research and searching for a suitable space, they got the idea of making things different and decided to open an Irish Pub and eatery. Njuguna informs me that the Irish theme is incorporated in the space and the food and drinks, giving people a full scale Irish experience.

As I am shown around the pub I am curious to know who the designers are and Njuguna informs me that concept to execution was done by Indesign Interiors LTD, a company that comprises of a team of young and high spirited designers who have quite the knack to create spaces with a unique edge.

“We looked around for someone who could give us what we wanted and Indesign team did not fail to deliver” Says Njuguna who is co-owner of the pub. “After taking a look at some of their work we were sold on their capability and immediately knew they were the right people for the job” he adds.

Inside the pub, my eyes keep darting left and right as each area is quite captivating and flows well together. The wooden floor finish which are actually tiles flows well with the rest of the wall cladding.

Right in front of the entrance is the bar counter which if I may say is a unique piece of design. The face is cladded in unfinished pentagon shaped cutout logs highlighted by a glow of green strip lighting from the top and bottom, well depicting shapes and clean lines.

The rough and unfinished palette and a decor style of the pub that the couple describe as rustic and comfortable really allows the art to stand out but there are plenty of statement-making moments with furniture and lighting that play with scale and form. Speaking of lighting, the light fixtures are made of different recycled whiskey bottles that give a warm ambient lighting when lit. Behind the bar counter is an unfinished brick wall where display shelves made of old crates hang, well the wood for the shelves were manipulated to make it look old and may I say Indesign did a great job with it.

To the right not far from the bar counter is a large wall mural of Nairobi and above are the words ‘Dublin to Nairobi”. This is the great work of Bankslave a young and talented graffiti artist. If I may say this was truly icing to the impeccable design cake. “In the entire space the mural is actually my favorite piece. That and the furniture” Says Njuguna.

The volume of the space gives room for mezzanine sitting area where the unfinished brick walls are graced with pictures that tell a story of barrel making processes and old Irish pubs. “we thought that these pictures would work well with the whole Irish theme of the space” says Njuguna.

The furniture in the mezzanine floor is actually different from the outdoor as the seats are long lounge seats upholstered in a red leather fabric that has a crackled detailing giving the seats an aged look and this is more pronounced by the button finish on the back rest and the distressed wood frame at the bottom of the seats. The predominant burgundy hue throughout the pub gives an elegant back drop to the entire space and makes the wooden features more defined.

We head back down stairs and outside where there is additional sitting area. In one far end, there is a bar similar to the one inside the pub and also made of distressed wood. There are more lounge seats outside that are upholstered in a dark rich leather fabric and also have button detailing. With the abundant natural light the dark hue of the furniture looks quite rich and rustic. I am also drawn in by the design of some of the tables which are cut out barrels with a flat European smoked pine top. This are also a product of Indesign Interiors. A bit of nature is incorporated in the space through the use of planters on beautiful white wooden flower boxes.

As we wind down and notice that its getting late, the entire pub comes to life in the evening with a relaxed mood setting by the lighting in the space and the great music. The ambiance set by the design in the entire pub is more breath taking in the evening. The Tav is great evidence of what young designers in Nairobi such as Indesign Interiors are capable of creating given the chance and a depiction that when it comes to design, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The imperfections bring out an old unfinished look of the pub which is clearly spot on and has brought the entire space together to create the good old Irish culture.