Hic Sunt Dracones
Personal Project - 2019
Hic Sunt Dracones was begun as a project to design a dark tropical bar that didn't rely heavily on borrowing cultural elements from Polynesian, Melanesian, East Asian, and Caribbean groups. To this end, Hic Sunt Dracones presents a theme centered around the hazards and unknowns of the age of sail. Pirates, ghost ships, curses, storms, and sea serpents come together to create a moody and engaging atmosphere.
Descending down a flight of stairs, guests find themselves in the belly of a wrecked sailing ship. By the dim light of candles and salt-encrusted gas lamps, an ad hoc tavern operates, turning the ships once-cargo into furniture and its equipment to decor. In the air, the fresh smell of the salt sea hangs lightly; just enough to remind guests where they are.
Behind the bar, a ship's pin rail is used as beer taps, and through the "broken" side of the ship, a calm vista of the moonlit sea can be seen. Or at least, it looks calm until disaster strikes as a long-play video loop of various calamities unfolds, from ships raided by pirates, attacked by giant squid, or even a faint ghost ship flying across the night sky. The crash of waves and creaking of the boat can be heard.
Should the guests so choose, they may pass through to sit in the back room or "Grotto" as the denizens have named it, revealing the ship to have run aground in some cavern or rock formation. The bow of the ship protrudes into the grotto, overgrown with the same seaweed that clings to the rocks. Beyond, yet another view of the ocean outside can be seen, this time with a stretch of beach to accompany it. In the corner, a rushing waterfall brings the water just that much closer, providing a hint of misting to those sitting closest.
When the server arrives, the cocktail menu continues the theme, taking the guise of a worn map of the surrounding islands. Each drink is created, in flavor and appearance, to evoke a different danger, and guests are encouraged to chart their course wisely as they navigate their evening's entertainment.