Spirited bar patrons at this North East, PA pub made a tradition in the late evening hours of removing a stuffed skunk from its display shelf and passing it around. “Pass the Skunk!” The skunk eventually became a well-worn specimen, and the unofficial sport was retired. But, the quirky fun of this late-night ritual lives on in the establishment’s new name, Skunk & Goat Tavern. (A taxidermy goat head mounted on the bar back was an equal fixture at the place.) So it was, the former Cork 1794 gained the animals’ namesakes, and Skunk & Goat became a platform for the pub’s rebranding and comprehensive interior renovation.

A cut-up layout with architectural columns and walls interrupted traffic flow and deterred from guests ability to enjoy live music. So, a wall was opened and replaced with a striped-back banquette, providing intimate old-world pub seating with open views to the bar and live music. To maximize seating and provide a backdrop for the band, a curtain allows flexibility and brings a theatrical feel to the space.

The space was originally a bank and the owner, Red Letter Hospitality, wanted to retain and leverage the old bank vault as a private dining room where small parties and business groups could convene. By opening this space to the main dining and bar, the vault also became a fascinating focal point that speaks to the building’s past.

Skunk & Goat is charming and slightly irreverent. It’s reminiscent of a traditional pub with a tin drop ceiling and barn wood accents, yet pushes into modern taste with fixtures like groupings of glass-jar inspired hanging lights. Custom decanter wall sconces personalize the space; while brick, wood and metal finishes throughout honor the pub’s architecture and personality.

Brand touches are infused in signage, a marquee sign on the exterior, and custom wallpaper with skunk and goat illustrations at the entrance. We also created branded coasters with punchy one-liners, "“Marking my Territory,” for one. Another includes a Mad Lib that patrons can fill out while they drink and eat. Logo T-shirts carry messaging like “Pass the Skunk,” and “My drinking friends are Wild.” The copy, fonts, look and feel are all in the spirit of the well-loved local pub.

With the new brand and interior launch came the introduction of Skunk & Goat’s Mug Club, a concept that includes logo mugs, mug club cards and a T-shirt. Membership is tied to drink specials and other privileges. The club and new retail component build camaraderie and brand loyalty, and word is catching on about Skunk & Goat because many nights, a line of guests pushes out the front door.

Photography: John Spaulding www.johnspauldingphotography.com

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