Clarendon will get a little cooler and sexier on Thursday with the arrival of Pamplona.
Pamplona—named after a city in Spain—is the fourth restaurant from The Social Restaurant Group (others include Provision 14 and The Prospect). Pamplona is, by far, its most detailed to date.
The new 3,600-square-foot colorful space at 3100 Clarendon Blvd. has come a long way since its former life as karaoke bar SoBe. Designed by David Chenault, the ornate restaurant integrates fabrics, furnishings, and metals inspired by edgy fashion icon Alexander McQueen and romantic artist Paul LaCroix.
A running of the bulls theme is everywhere, with wallpaper depicting the Spanish tradition, horn-shaped lighting fixtures, and lots of bull heads. Lace lanterns, black embossed walls, and luxurious booths with flowered patterns and decadent blue drapes round out the space.
Upon entrance, colorful Spanish tiled flooring leads to a nearby long, red bar that resembles a chest of drawers. It purposely matches the hue of sangria, which is a cocktail menu staple.
Lots of thought also goes into the food, as the kitchen is helmed by James Martin (formerly of Restaurant Nora and Michelin-rated establishments). Basque country dishes under his watch include chorizo bocadillos, patatas bravas, serrano ham with olive oil ice cream, horchata flan, and classic pintxos. Patrons can eat from a pop-up chef's counter during certain hours. Starters range from $5-$13, while mains are $21-$28.
Like the Spaniards do, Clarendon customers are encouraged to sip and stay a while; paellas serve two to three and take 45 minutes to make. Variations include vegetarian ($35) and duck ($48).
A second bar also holds about 25 and sits adjacent to the 80-seat dining room. A patio slated for the spring will fit another 54.