19 October 2018

So Friendlyable

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has always been a park that celebrated the past. Everything from the golden era of Hollywood, across film, television, and music, to aesthetics that definitely felt like another place and time, guests have always had a sense that they’ve stepped away from the present day and age. While the park has been undergoing massive refurbishments that will change this thematic experience, there are still new corners to explore that live up to ideals of yesterday and, in some instance, use the parks as the timeline they venture back down. Baseline Tap House is one such entity.

Baseline Tap House is part of the Grand Avenue expansion of the park and utilizes spaces that once were home to the Writer’s Stop and the Streets of America. In this incarnation, the area took on the vibe of a corner of California that has been revitalized and is once again welcoming in locals and visitors alike. In Baseline Tap House’s case, this means transforming the former warehouse that housed a one-family print shop, Figueroa Printing Company, into an exposed brick and beam bar with a number of taps and small plates to quench the thirst of patrons. Between type set letters, machinery, crates, and artwork on the walls, it is easy to suss out what the corner shop used to be utilized for.

The artwork in particular has a story to tell. Posters dating back to Disneyland’s earliest days can be found adorning the walls. What is particularly interesting about the artwork is that is shows the process of multiple color printing and how it had to be applied layer by layer. Posters featuring Fantasyland’s Storybook Land recreate each step of the beloved Monstro-centric design. Similarly, the 1960s “So Friendlyable!” ad work can be seen shaping up over an even longer period of time.

If you’re wondering why there are so many Disneyland marketing materials being created, or rather recreated, at Baseline Tap House, the answer lies in the shop’s backstory. We’ve already established that we’re in California, but it may be more helpful to know that Grand Avenue is actually supposed to be set specifically in the town of Burbank, home to the Walt Disney Studios and about 35 miles away from Anaheim and Disneyland. As the story goes, the Figueroa Printing Company, owned and operated by a single couple, who had a wonderful relationship with the Studio and printed much of the early designs.

Grand Avenue lives up to the tradition of showcasing the past, in this instance setting the land in the world of today, but with respect to what came before. You can see this plainly in Baseline Tap House’s nods to the Writer’s Stop, to the design history of Disney theme parks, and even in the architecture present in the restaurant. Sometimes looking back can be subtle and require us to squint a bit to see it, in the example provided by Baseline, however, all we have to do is soak up the ambiance.

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