We’re introducing you to our Best Real Estate Projects of the Year. This is the top bar/restaurant project.
The 12,000-square-foot basement of Flatstick Pub features a nine-hole golf miniature course and an expansive bar. Flatstick Pub is located in Downtown Commons just steps away from Golden 1 Center. Photo by Vir Moore
When Kyle Nelms walked into the dark, windowless and empty basement, it immediately reminded him of something. “It kind of looked like a scene out of ‘Saw,’” he said. “It was pretty bleak.” Or, to think of it another way, it was a blank canvas, said Nelms, a project engineer with DesCor Builders who was charged with helping transform the space into a lively bar, restaurant and miniature golf course dubbed Flatstick Pub, based on a concept from Seattle. Brandon Robinson and his wife Jennifer co-own the two-story, 14,000-square-foot space at 630 K St., located just steps away from Golden 1 Center. The couple invested about $3 million to develop the former craft brewery tasting room into Flatstick Pub, complete with a private speakeasy hidden behind a trophy case. Brendan Koon, principal at Vitae Architecture, said that on one hand the high-profile site is great, as it’s surrounded by lots of retail and foot traffic, but that also made it difficult to get workers and machinery into the building. From the K Street entrance, guests step into a landing, where behind a two-way mirror that doubles as a trophy case is the 2,000-square-foot speakeasy dubbed The Trophy Club. Koon collaborated on the speakeasy’s design with the Robinsons, who wanted a “1920s golf resort meets Hollywood” theme, he said. “The décor feels like it’s a century old,” Koon said. “There’s a certain grandeur combined with glamour.” Design touches include vintage wall coverings in emerald green, white and beige, along with custom club chairs and high-end brass and leather finishes. There are also big photographs adorning the walls of celebrities playing golf, including Katherine Hepburn and Chevy Chase. “It’s like stepping back in time,” Koon said. “We just had fun with it.” While plenty of time and effort went into the upstairs, the bulk of work was focused on the 12,000-square-foot basement. “You don’t really know what you’re going to get until you start uncovering walls and floors,” Koon said. What they discovered was a giant slab of concrete with multiple levels of rebar, including some sections that were 7 feet thick. Nelms with DesCor said they spent about two months using heavy machinery to cut 400 linear feet of plumbing trenches. “The underground plumbing called for a lot of coordination with Brendan and the structural engineer,” Nelms said. “No one had really done it before, and there was not a lot space to bring equipment down into the basement. It was tough.” While the upstairs feels vintage and classic, the downstairs is modern, urban and industrial. There’s a big, 42-tap bar made with a structural steel countertop and reclaimed wood, over which hangs a custom drop ceiling cloud, which helps absorb sound. Dozens of lounge areas with tables and chairs surround the nine-hole miniature golf course. The big, open space also has a small kitchen that serves pub fare, lots of TVs, work from local artists and duffleboard, a bar game combining shuffleboard and golf.
“This project was a real collaboration between the architect, contractor and owners,” Koon said. “We put our heads together and figured out how to get over some hurdles. It’s a very cool project and a fun, creative space, but the big success happened behind the scenes.”
Work on Flatstick Pub started in April 2019 and wrapped up in October, about five months before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Co-owner Brandon Robinson said they’ve been closed since March 16. “We plan on reopening as soon as we can have bar games and food inside,” he said. Flatstick received a $25,000 no-interest loan in April from the city of Sacramento’s economic relief fund to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Robinson said Flatstick also received a $350,000 loan under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Still, the company had to lay off its approximately 40 employees. “We will be back,” Robinson said. “My main priority is bringing my employees back to work.” Fast Facts Flatstick Pub Details: A two-story,14,000-square-foot bar and restaurant with a private speakeasy and nine-hole miniature golf course. Cost: $3 million Completed: Q4 2019 Developer: Brandon and Jennifer Robinson General contractor: DesCor Builders Architect: Vitae Architecture Link to Article: 2020 Best Real Estate Projects: Flatstick Pub By Sam Boykin  – Managing editor, Sacramento Business Journal Sep 18, 2020, 1:26pm PDT Updated Sep 21, 2020, 9:17am PD