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Discover The Watson: A Unique Cocktail-forward Restaurant in Vancouver

Erica Colpitts Interior Design creates an intimate and charming atmosphere for celebrating special occasions and typical Tuesdays at this cocktail-forward restaurant in Mount Pleasant.

Photographed by Ema Peter

cocktail-forward restaurant bar vintage meets modern with wood shelving and apothecary drawers, globe pendant lights, black leather barstools, vintage mirrors

The Watson, designed by Erica Colpitts Interior Design, is located on Main Street at the edge of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. The restaurant is situated behind a laneway (alleyway) called Watson Street, which is one of the older laneways in the area and serves as the inspiration for both the name and the subtle Sherlock nods found in its interior design. 

It takes a special kind of imagination to look at a modern warehouse-like building with exposed steel rafters and corrugated metal ceiling and see an old European-style emporium of curiously crafted cocktails, worldly small plates, and refreshing conversation. The Watson is a dynamic, cocktail-forward restaurant in Vancouver’s vibrant Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Inspired by libraries and apothecary shops from Belgium and the Netherlands, the design emits a sense of comfort and belonging.

Vintage European design restaurant with upholstered bench seating and chairs, vintage gold mirrors, hanging plants, black leather barstools

Scale and maximizing space were the two biggest challenges for this project. The main floor footprint of the restaurant is quite small compared to the overall ceiling height so to create a space that always feels happening and alive, Colpitts positioned a long banquette across the front of the restaurant to provide more seating for formal dining.

This is the fourth hospitality project that Erica Colpitts has designed for her brother, Michael Gayman. “He [Gayman] comes to the table with a clear concept for the kind of restaurant or bar he wants to bring to a specific neighborhood, along with a team of staff that I know will set the right tone, play the right music, keep the lights low, and deliver the kind of personal service we want patrons to have,” says Colpitts. “I know the vibe his restaurants will have, and it allows me to create a space as wildly beautiful and unique as I can dream up as a backdrop for the overall experience.”  

LEFT: Detail of the bookcase-like shelving and apothecary drawers that flank the 16’ tall, tiered bar. RIGHT: When it came to scale and interest, artwork and chandeliers were key to ensuring the space felt truly finished and adorned, airy but not cavernous. Rene Botha, a local artist and tattoo artist, was commissioned to create the oversized artwork.

Fully realized by Erica Colpitts Interior Design in 2023, the 2,000-square-foot restaurant has soaring 23’ high ceilings and a mezzanine lounge overlooking the dining space and bar below. Here, scale is a key design factor in creating an intimate experience. The bar is the hero of the entire space. It features a nine-foot-tall mirror shrouded in a backlit bronze arch, antique-filled shelving, a decadently edged quartz bar top, and subtle contemporary pendant lights. Locally commissioned oversized artwork and stunning chandeliers work to balance the space in both drama and scale, and lush plants bring out a hint of a Victorian-era aesthetic. 

View of restarant and bar from above with u-shaped bar, chandeliers, concrete floor, globe pendant lights

A beautiful detail best viewed from the mezzanine is the Hanstone quartz creamy marble bar top finished with a thick ogee edge, which is maintenance-free and hard-wearing. The stone is slightly more grey than the limewashed wall beside the bar, a subtle tonal change that offers a nice complement.  

Offering an intoxicating view of the scene below, the mezzanine lounge is an alluring retreat cloaked in olive green velvet drapes and bathed in low lighting. “We wanted the Lounge to be darker and sexy, a place to sneak away for the evening and not be noticed,” notes Colpitts. Working with a maker in Illinois, she designed and commissioned two custom lighting sconces that cast an almost sinister light in the space. “Warmed up with weathered oak woodwork, creamy marble tables, and brass accents, this is the perfect space to sip cocktails into the wee hours of the night.”

cozy lounge with metal pendant lights, large mirror, wood slat walls, black leather tufted sofa

The lounge design uses a mix of warm, burnished brass with elements of gunmetal and iron paired with a fabulous palette of hard-wearing leather-look upholstery in various colors. 

Overall, The Watson feels striking and impressive while maintaining a sense of warmth, ease, and belonging. It is a place to celebrate a typical Tuesday just as much as a special occasion.


Design: Erica Colpitts Interior Design. Contractor: Pacific Solutions Contracting. Millwork: The Shop at Pacific, Metal Fabricator: 3 Dimensions Ltd.  Artwork: Rene Botha. Floral Arrangements: Bloomier. Artificial Plants: Trims.


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