Rare Society's third location channels the glitz of Vegas through a modern, localized lens curated by GTC Design.

Hospitality Design | by Will Speros
September 20, 2022
Photos by Matt Furman

image.png 1.02 MB

Trust Restaurant Group has unveiled its third Rare Society steakhouse in California. Crafted by San Diego-based studio GTC Design, the 166-seat Santa Barbara location draws inspiration from the retro ambiance of steakhouses along the Las Vegas Strip and reinterprets these themes through a modern, localized lens.

“We found ourselves wanting to incorporate the historic past of the city, weaving in the Spanish motifs we found all over downtown. We also looked across the street to the train station, and the idea of transport and travel,” says GTC president Nuwan Ranasinghe. “These two points offered a juxtaposition to the original design, while still adhering to the vision of the restaurant brand.”

Train travel informs several aspects of the project, including the U-shaped peninsula bar, which is clad with black quartz and topped with golden-domed table lights reminiscent of a station hall. Inspired by Victorian train carriages, central booths line the dining room with an ornate flourish that extends to the ceiling, while a semi-private dining space channels the nearby train station with tufted leather booths, curved gold ceiling tiles, and curved doorways. The marble inlays of each table also serve as opulent focal points alongside live edge wood surfaces in the booths. Brass trim and a mix of matte and glossy black tiles infuse a familiar sense of steakhouse glitz as well.

“The goal in designing Rare Society Santa Barbara was to provide a different and unique feel to the space that contrasted the traditional Central Coast beach town aesthetic,” adds GTC BIM manager and designer Vaughn Smith. “We wanted to create a space that felt warm and welcoming, approachable to all, but that also was luxurious and elevated. You can come in dressed up or straight from the beach and feel at home here.”