As we head into the most festive of holiday seasons, invitations are being readied and entertaining accoutrements are being assembled. This is the time of the year when “the bar” takes center stage. It may be as simple as The Whim’s library bar cart (below), which makes efficient use of its corner space to present the essential mixings for the owner’s favorite drinks.
But then there is the BAR that is a room unto itself (some may call it a man cave). No surprise, this one belongs to CK Bradley (of retail and e-commerce fame) and husband Joe Bardenheier, whose love of sailing makes this space so quintessentially Newport. Having enjoyed this room as a party guest, I can attest to the success of the details (and offerings) in creating a most memorable and welcoming ambiance.
Your first view of the bar makes it clear that this is the domain of a serious sailor, who also understands what makes a small space successful…like well-considered lighting and seating.
Above the French doors that lead onto the patio, two brass propellers balance the round window that lets more light into the top half of the room.
Joe is a man who is also not shy about introducing just the right amount of color via marine pennants; the first one is Tufts Sailing and the second one is Essex Yacht Club. The third and wittiest pennant, designed by Camilla (and seen in the image above), is for their house, Birdsong.
Details in this bar room intrigue and prompt conversation — from the old 1950s wool burgee of the New York Yacht Club, given to Joe when he first became a member, to the bugle and trumpet, which Camilla plays twice daily for her two young sons…revelry for dinner, taps when it is time to head to bed. The bottle of Shackleton contains a replica of the antique malt Scotch whiskey supplied to the 1907 British Antarctic expedition.
Which is a great lead-in to the working side of this room, with a 1910, 46-stars American flag taking center stage below the figurehead (variations of a mermaid, traditionally positioned on the bow of old sailing ships as they were believed to calm turbulent waters).
Now this is a collection worthy of a man who enjoys entertaining and the finer spirits of life.
Further memorabilia is presented under glass, to be switched out as the mood suits (Christmas cards next to New Yorker cartoons) rather than confusing the carefully considered wall art vignettes.
Mmmm, it’s difficult not to love every inch of this bar, which so represents the playful spirit of its two owners.