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The Coolest Restaurant Wallpaper in the Country

Julia Bainbridge

Sometimes you want to be cloaked in clean, tonal—abstemious, even—decor. And sometimes you want Jackson Pollack splatters of color and texture. This story is for those latter times. 

Without further ado, let’s get all Scalamandre up in here. Below are 15 of the coolest wallpaper jobs in restaurants right now. 

The Brixton in San Francisco, California:

The Coolest Restaurant Wallpaper in the Country

Shepard Fairey, he of the famous Obama “Hope” poster, designed this. For those who might not know Fairey outside of his street art, he is also a RISD grad whose work appears in collections at the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among others.

Glasserie in Brooklyn, New York:

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With their Brooklyn-based design company Flat Vernacular, husband-and-wife-team Brian Kaspr and Payton Turner specialize in original hand-drawn, hand-printed, and bespoke wallpapers. (Turner also does sticker installations; Lena Dunham is a happy customer.) They call this one “Trapezoid in Day,” and Turner says it’s one of her all-time favorite patterns. “It’s textural and hand-drawn, but clean and contemporary.”

Hillside Farmacy in Austin, Texas:

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This is Austin-based designer Mickie Spencer’s second restaurant project. The first was East Side Showroom, and she’s a co-owner of both. 

El Rey in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

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El Rey is a “That 70s Show” dream world of linoleum and vintage wallpaper. Designed by Jessica Kimberly, the restaurant features tile-like paper along the booths, metallic checkers inside the arches, and acid green kaleidoscopic patterns by the front door.

Angel Face in Portland, Oregon:

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Opened just last month by the owners of Luce, this new bar in PDX features wallpaper hand painted by local artist Michael Paulus. There are just about 500 flowers on it.

Indochine in New York City:

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Indochine, the ’80s-era hotspot (Warhol and Basquiat used to hang there) that launched a million selfies, is still sure to land you a celebrity sighting. A rep told us that the Palm Beachy paper in the lounge has been there “for 30 years and no one is sure where it originally came from.” The banana leaves in the dining room were spray-painted onto the walls, so it’s not exactly wallpaper, but we wanted to show them to you anyway. 

The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

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Many people contributed to the Bachelor Farmer’s amazing walls! Julia Rothman, a Brooklyn-based RISD grad, created the lounge paper (middle) for Hygge & West, a Minneapolis-based wallpaper company. The wallpaper in the restaurant (top) and the fuzzy walls in the private dining room (bottom) were put together by designer Janet Gridley, a longtime Minnesotan now living and working out of Dallas, Texas. 

Pinewood Social in Nashville, Tennessee:

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Local interior designer Landy Gardner selected these vintage blue herons for Pinewood Social’s private dining rooms.

Superba Snack Bar in Los Angeles, California:

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One interior wall of this oh-so-Venice indoor/outdoor space features a three-dimensional raked-stucco finish, while the other is blanketed in a repeating pattern of holding hands. L.A. firm Design, Bitches is responsible for both it and for our favorite company name ever.

The Catbird Seat in Nashville, Tennessee:

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Landy Gardner, who also worked on Pinewood Social (above), is behind the Catbird Seat’s whimsical decor, including this second-floor hallway metallic magenta wallpaper, which leads guests to a stark, minimalist dining room.

Al Di La in Charleston, South Carolina:

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Owner Gillian Kohn recently revamped this Italian restaurant, giving it some Art Deco love courtesy of JLV Creative.

The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia:

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Oh, the Greenbrier. Home to honeymooning WASPs and design fanatics alike, almost every room of this storied resort is spackled in something loud and…loud, all courtesy of iconic American interiors maven Dorothy Draper. Poke around the site to see what we mean. 

Empire Slice House in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:

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More wallpapers than wallpaper, Empire has covered its four sides with posters donated by patrons. "Anything will do," was the criteria posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page. So, if you swing through OKC, throw something up there.

The Sexton in Seattle, Washington:

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Because of its subtlety, we had a hard time getting good photos of the Sexton’s ivory-on-white wallpaper. You can see here the damask pattern, and here, when the light hits, it reveals its textural elements.

Fenton Fire Hall in Fenton, Michigan:

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Ann Stevenson preserved a former fire hall to open her restaurant, and she’s put bold wallpaper in the bar, in the bathrooms—everywhere, really.