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The 24-Hour Design Solution Behind Arvada's New Street Patio

On Friday, June 12th, in an unprecedented move, Olde Town Arvada closed its streets in order to reopen its store and restaurant fronts. This pivot equipped their business owners with extended patios to allow for more seating, social distancing, and the best opportunity to generate as much business as safely as possible. In order for this to work, before they became one of the first downtowns to do this, they needed partitions to maximize the space and keep patrons socially distanced. Their timeframe for this innovative solution? Just fourteen days.

This was the moment that we, Black Hound Design Company, were introduced to the plan of reopening Olde Town Arvada.

Within just 24 hours, we designed the new drink rail-partition hybrid and two weeks later, our team was sitting on these extended patios celebrating happy hour.

Here’s how we made it happen and why we would be thrilled to do something similar for you.

The Inspiration

One of the key challenges of reopening restaurants in Olde Town Arvada (and across the U.S.) is that businesses must limit their capacity to allow at least six feet of space between tables. However, that’s easier said than done... especially for restaurants that lack an outdoor space, or depend on filling each seat to make ends meet.

“For us, it wasn't just enough that we were just going to shut down the streets. We really wanted to be able to activate the space and support our businesses,” Joe Hengstler, the executive director of BID said. In 2014, the Business Improvement District was formed between the business and property owners of Olde Town and The City of Arvada with the mission to preserve, promote and enhance the vibrancy of Olde Town. Its purpose couldn't have been more clear with their request and immediate action to facilitate this transition.

“I think everybody knew that their capacities were going to be limited from the restaurant and bar standpoint. So what we've really, really wanted to do was give every business in Olde Town an opportunity to be as successful as possible.”

While other downtowns in the area are looking to do something similar, Olde Town Arvada led the way with the help of our team at Black Hound Design. “We knew that if we were going to get this done in a hurry, the key to it was to go local and support a local business,” said Hengstler.

The Design Challenge

Arvada is our home, solution-driven design is our game, and upon receiving the request, we evaluated all facets of what Olde Town Arvada needed.

Figuring out the puzzle is what we do. BID’s design ask included designing, building, delivering and setting up rail-partitions that not only allowed for proper social distancing, but also met the unique parameters of Arvada's streets- and had some curb appeal as well.

We needed a product that would be movable, durable and aesthetically on point to capture Olde Town Arvada's unique charm.

“People come to Olde Town because of the aesthetics. So we knew that if we were going to work with Black Hound Design, we were going to get something that was going to look good,” Hengstler said.

By the time BID received permission from the city to shut down the streets and all of the businesses bought into the idea of extended patios, they were looking at that two week turnaround time, which included both sourcing materials and building. And by the time the materials arrived, we had 24 hours to build.

If the team missed any deadlines, the true cost would have been painfully felt by both Olde Town’s businesses and residents. We weren’t going to let that happen, and soon, we had a working, functioning, sleek, street-ready barrier to bring to Olde Town.

The Final Product

The team created this free standing, modular drink rail-partition that can fit into almost any space and - of course - looks rad.

The drink rail-partition features fencing on the bottom made of powder-coated black galvanized steel and a shelf on top made of a dark, rich sapele mahogany. Both materials are perfect for outdoor use, thanks to their overall ability to withstand all types of weather and general durability.

Creating an atmosphere and on-brand visual identity is typically a top priority and marketing tool for restaurant owners when attracting customers. Yet customization and brand building may have fallen away recently as businesses navigate the more logistical hurdles of simply trying to stay open during the pandemic. To restore a small sense of normalcy, the rails have two posts made of powder-coated black steel on either end that can hold up flickering string lights or banners. This added design element creates coziness and curb appeal, and allows for a sense of warmth in the “new normal.”

All together, these drink rails retail for $1,200 and can be set up rather quickly, without any tools required. In Olde Town, the team was able to put together 12 restaurant patios within just two hours. The drink rails are also deconstructable for easy storage.

Without the sapele mahogany shelf, the fence panel and post costs $55 per 8-foot section.

How to Get One For Your Business

For owners interested in getting their own custom drink rail-partitions, we’re here to design what you need. Email us at to get your process started today.

We realize your business may be in the midst of navigating these changes or preparing for new ones. No matter what is going on, our process is custom, flexible, and solution-driven. No one should have to figure it all out on their own. We’re ready to tackle your design challenge and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Other Drink Rails and Partitions Available Now

Earlier this year, we released individual drink rails and movable partition walls you can purchase online. Our drink rails feature a sturdy metal base and beautiful alder wood top that extends 82 inches long and 21 inches deep. You can either affix them to the ground with screws or keep them mobile using a plate on the bottom for added sturdiness. These drink rails are very popular in Denver and can be spotted as locations like Improper City. Nationally, our drink rails have a happy home in the San Francisco Giants stadium.

Black Hound also designed a patent-pending movable partition wall that can be used to create safer spaces in restaurants, hotels and other public areas. The lightweight, yet stable partitions are clear for total visibility, although they can be customized with logos and other graphics upon request. They’re also easy to move around, thanks to wheels affixed to the bottom. The partitions come in a few heights and sizes for tables, bars and more.

Both options are able to help transform public areas into safer, yet welcoming and attractive spaces so businesses and their customers can get back to sharing a meal and more — a much longed for sense of normalcy.

Thank You to Olde Town Arvada

Black Hound Design Company would like to thank Olde Town Arvada and its Business Improvement District for inviting us to be a part of the solution. We’d also like to thank the businesses for their cooperation and for supporting our design. It was a pleasure working all together on a solution that supported both the businesses and the customers. We can’t wait to have more nights on the street patio this summer.

Learn More About Olde Town Arvada and Restaurant Innovation

About BHDC

Black Hound Design Company is a custom furniture, millwork and metal fabrication workshop in Colorado, serving Arvada, Denver, Boulder, Aurora and all along the Front Range. Our custom furniture can also be found in Aspen, Breckenridge, Grand County and the entire Rocky Mountain area. We love working with national clients, too, with our creative fabrication in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and more. We are passionate about creating handcrafted furniture, millwork, fabrication and FF&E for homes, restaurants, hotels, retail and more.

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