A Bozeman Brewery Taps Into a Scandinavian Aesthetic
Clean lines and colors inspired by Norway's coast are abundant at Nordic Brew Works
When Matt Paine decided to create a brew pub in Bozeman, Montana, a town already saturated with them, he threw out the standard way of thinking about this popular drinking-and-dining experience. He wasn’t interested in dark beer, dark interiors and industrial design.
“We were missing a place for people who wanted something completely different,” says Paine, who runs a real estate development and investment company. “Beers lighter in alcohol and style, like pilsners and lighter lagers. And we wanted the same thing with the interior. I’m a big fan of Scandinavian design and simplicity. I like clean lines, brighter colors, an optimistic feel with a lot of natural light.”
They named the taproom and restaurant at the Market at Ferguson Farm, on Bozeman’s west side, Nordic Brew Works because Paine reasoned that Bozeman isn’t that much lower in latitude than Scandinavia. And the type of activities enjoyed in both places—skiing and hockey in winter, fishing in the summer—give them more things in common.
From the lounge areas with modern furnishings on each side of a see-through fireplace near the entrance to a dreamy blue-and-white mural that covers the wall alongside a staircase leading from the main bar and restaurant to an upstairs dining loft, the space invites guests to explore and linger. Envi Interior Design Studio of Bozeman did both architecture and the interior of the restaurant and bar, which has become popular for its wood-fired oven pizza, grass-fed burgers, wine and cock- tails, as well as its beer, crafted next door at Polar Brewing.
Envi’s founder and principal Susie Hoffman, who has designed other brew pubs and restaurants, was inspired by photography of the Lofoten Islands off the coast of Norway, particularly the rich blues of the ocean, the red fishing cabins that dot the shoreline, clouds and snow.
These elements were the springboard for the deep blue of the walls and metal trim, the white Caesarstone bar top and marble table tops, plus the red accents on dining chairs and the beer tap handles. Scandinavian-inspired furnishings and lighting followed suit, including iconic white bubble lights from George Nelson.
Warming up the space is the maple floor, reclaimed from the Rialto Theater in Bozeman, and maple treads on the distinctive laser-cut steel staircase. “The steel can be raw and exposed, but elegant,” says Pete Costanti of MFGR Designs, a Bozeman multidisciplinary design firm that crafted the staircase as well as shelving, metalwork, stools and even menu holders for the project. “It’s a clean, modern, re-thought space,” Costanti says of Nordic. “Like the design for the floating shelves at the bar. It’s all about being light and delicate.”
Paine says Nordic Brew Works has helped cement the Market at Ferguson Farm as a shopping and entertainment hub. “People tell us they now have a place to swing by on their way home from work or after fishing the Gallatin all day. Or they’ll ride their bike, fill up a growler and go home to watch a movie.”