Hospitality – Habana Cafe


The owner of this Cuban café in downtown Roanoke planned to use his newly rented space to offer a dine-in experience and also a hip alternative for Roanoke’s nightlife. He hired CIRCLE to design the space with a versatile floor plan to maximize seating and define clear paths for servers, while also creating space for live musicians and a dance floor when tables are moved.

The additional challenges were to camouflage the bathrooms and, since the owner is also a tile sub-contractor, to use tile as much as possible. All this needed to be accomplished while showcasing Cuban culture through the design and décor.

We revised the floor plan to create four zones – kitchen, bar, dining/dancing, and restrooms. The dining and dancing area has fixed banquet seating that remains when the space is emptied of tables and chairs. To avoid wasting space with a hallway to the restrooms, they instead face the bar area with the doors disguised by a hand-painted mural of Trinidad’s Spanish Colonial Plaza Mayor.

With the space made more functional, we then focused on creating a relaxing vibe with warm reds, yellows, and browns, images of palm trees, and glints of shimmering glass tile visible from outside and across the downtown square. The bar stools, converted from glossy wood congas, have chrome metal accents that add a layer of sparkling intrigue, luring customers in just to gawk.