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AIRPORT BARS:
BRINGING MORE STYLE TO AIRPORTS

A new trend at airports across the country is the emergence of stylish bars that appeal to the fashionable tastes of today's business and leisure travelers. Accustomed to chic hotel bars and the designer uniforms of JetBlue and Song flight attendants, travelers are now finding world-class design at airport bars. New York's LaGuardia Airport and Philadelphia International Airport exemplify the move towards including stylish bars in the overall mix of bars, restaurants and shops at airports.

Paul McGinn, who heads MarketPlace Development, a Boston-Based airport retail developer, attributes this shift in bar and restaurant design to the ongoing emphasis placed by airports on customer service. "Knowing the customer is key", he said. "Airports strive to meet the varying needs of their passengers. While many customers are comfortable in traditional bar settings, other travelers are coming to expect more sophisticated drinking and dining venues." McGinn added that airports are now attracting
experienced bar and restaurant operators who are adept at designing spaces that appeal to customers looking for an alternative to the more traditional bars and restaurants commonly found at airports.

At LaGuardia Airport, two bars and restaurants in the Central Terminal stand out: the Figs restaurant by celebrity chef Todd English - recently awarded "Best Airport Restaurant Design" by Airport Revenue News, and the new Akoya Sushi Bar and Lounge by Philadelphia-based OTG Management.

Figs

Featuring the creations of Todd English, one of America's top chefs and People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People, Figs overlooks LaGuardia's airfield from the Terminal's central three-story atrium. The Figs menu showcases an array of innovative and adventurous pizza, pasta and entrées highlighting English's signature, inventive Mediterranean cuisine.

Todd English has mentioned that Figs is aimed at customers who have enough time to relax before their flight and offers "a pretty hip look, as if the restaurant were in Manhattan." He adds that it is "warm and inviting, more like a lounge."

Figs was designed by noted restaurant designer Peter Niemitz, who has designed Carmine's, Docks Oyster Bar and Virgil's Real BBQ in New York City and who created nine American-themed restaurants for EuroDisney in Paris, France. His design approach for Figs features large scale "furniture" in the form of a long bar and perimeter knee walls in aniline stained maple. Upholstered lounge, high top and traditional dining type seating offer
variety to the traveling guest.

A Japanese, full service Sushi Bar and Lounge, Akoya satisfies the craving so many travelers have for something exotic and different. The Lounge features a full traditional sushi and seafood menu made onsite with only the freshest ingredients. The dramatic bar entices the traveler with vibrant magenta and purple tones, intricate serpentine detailing, and state-of-the-art 42 inch flat-screen, plasma televisions.

At Philadelphia International Airport, two bars debuted less than 10 months ago in the New International Terminal A West. Bolstering the city's reputation for chic restaurant design are
Cibo Bistro & Wine Bar and the Shades of Blue Lounge.

Cibo Bistro & Wine Bar

An upscale Italian Bistro, the Cibo Bistro &Wine Bar serves authentic Italian cuisine and over 32 wines by the glass from around the globe. Patrons seated in the dining area have a clear view of the open "drama kitchen" through an archway of colorful backlit panels. Other design features include a 45-foot long under-lit onyx bar, neon towers and up-lights to illuminate the 20 foot tall back bar. Bright, modern pendant lighting suspended from the 25 foot ceiling finish the celestial feeling of the ambiance.

Shades of Blue Lounge

True to its name, shades of the color blue can be found throughout this hip jazz lounge. From the cobalt blue neon radiating from the bar to the high back, blue hued, plush seating surrounding the lounge area, "Blue" is the place for patrons to sit back, relax and enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz. Its comfy, overstuffed couches and stylish, oversized jazz murals, have
made Blue a favorite among international travelers.

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