Good times for bad taste

Hopper is a new restaurant in Soho. It brings South Indian and Sri Lankan tastes to the area. The restaurant is a trip back in time to the 1980s, not India.

The interior is a celebration of all of the 1980s bad taste styles that were thrown out, from the wood paneling to the tiled tables to the orange lighting to the Marcel Breuer chairs (popularized in the 1980s and widely copied to hanging plants and mustard-colored walls. The article is a young London-based design studio. The studio claims that the toddy shops of this region in India are the inspiration for the design. The 1980s influence on the plan is unmistakable.

Hoppers is a revival of the “fern ba,” a style that was popularized by the 1970s and abandoned long ago with the rise of craft cocktails. Stained glass Tiffany lamps and hanging ferns characterized the fern bars of the 1970s and 1980s. The Fern Bar was created to attract women to bars. At the time, this meant that they would focus on creating sweet and novel cocktails. Henry Africa’s in San Francisco opened in 1970 and was the first bar to serve the new style.

Oleanders in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which opened mid-201,5, is the latest tribute to this trend, complete with giant glass lamps and large ferns as well as a typeface reminiscent of “Cheers.” While not a fern-themed bar, the Los Angeles bar Good Times at Davey Wayne’s recalls 1970s suburbanism with its similar color palette.

Food, drink, and design creators have entered a playful, ironic phase in response to the overly labored artisan styles and language popularized by hipsters. The references used by restaurants are also becoming more active, referencing new, uncharted movements and periods.

See our Food and Drink: Trends & Futures and Future 100 reports for more information on the return to irony in visual cultures.

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