Brooklyn-based GRT Architects have infused a sense of warmth and brightness into the West Village dining scene with their latest project, San Sabino. Nestled within a historic wedge-shaped building on Greenwich Avenue, this restaurant exudes a sunny, vibrant atmosphere, thanks to its buttery yellow interiors. GRT Architects collaborated once again with chefs Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, who also helm the neighboring Don Angie restaurant. Despite their proximity, San Sabino and Don Angie offer distinct culinary and aesthetic experiences, each with its own unique charm.

Restoring and Revitalizing Historic Facades

The building housing San Sabino and Don Angie originally comprised a trio of retail spaces with quaint storefronts. GRT Architects undertook the meticulous task of restoring the facades, uncovering windows, and returning the historic corner to its former glory. Underneath layers of paint and filler, they discovered the original storefronts clad in copper sheets, which had developed a charming verdigris and patina over time. The restored facade, now painted a pale grey, stands in striking contrast to the warm, sunny interiors of San Sabino.

Seamless Integration of Spaces

Inside San Sabino, GRT Architects aimed to create a cohesive yet distinct space that would cater to both casual bar-goers and diners. A thick brick wall that originally divided the space was partially removed to visually connect the bar area with the main dining zone. However, a stainless steel ribbon above the bar serves as a subtle divider, wrapping around to connect both spaces and adding a touch of modern elegance. Custom polished brass sconces are affixed at intervals along the undulating surface, enhancing the visual continuity.

Playful and Sophisticated Interiors

The interior design of San Sabino is a testament to GRT Architects’ ability to blend playfulness with sophistication. Low-slung ribbed banquettes, covered in warm caramel-hued leather, line the perimeter of the dining area. These cozy seating options are complemented by a mirrored side wall, with light boxes installed between the reflective panels to create intimate dining moments. The dining room features a mottled grey stone floor, patterned with smaller, glossy yellow circles and squares, which playfully riff on the classic carreaux d’octagones pattern.

Behind the bar, handmade yellow tiles add a splash of color, while padded and upholstered ceilings help with acoustics, ensuring a comfortable dining experience. The use of warm yellow tones, contrasted with cool metal accents, creates a vibrant yet inviting ambiance that shifts dramatically from day to night. During the day, the restaurant exudes a bright, sunny mood, while at night, the sophisticated lighting scheme transforms the space into a more intimate and refined dining environment.

Enhancing the Dining Experience

GRT Architects paid close attention to the details that enhance the overall dining experience at San Sabino. The bar features a shapely solid pewter rail, with stainless steel nosings set into the bar die, adding a touch of luxury. Custom polished brass sconces and light boxes not only provide necessary lighting but also contribute to the restaurant’s distinctive aesthetic. The dining room’s walls are adorned with a winking vermiculated print, while the bar area boasts a luxe woven jacquard pattern, both adding texture and visual interest to the space.

A Dynamic Culinary and Design Duo

San Sabino’s design complements the culinary offerings of chefs Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, known for their innovative takes on Southern Italian cuisine. The vibrant color scheme and thoughtful design elements reflect the playful yet sophisticated nature of the dishes served. This synergy between design and cuisine ensures that diners at San Sabino enjoy a holistic and immersive experience.


San Sabino is a shining example of how thoughtful design can elevate the dining experience. GRT Architects have successfully created a space that is both playful and sophisticated, with a vibrant color palette and modern design elements that cater to a diverse clientele. The seamless integration of the bar and dining areas, combined with the careful restoration of the historic facade, makes San Sabino a standout destination in New York’s West Village. Whether visiting for a casual drink or a full dining experience, patrons are sure to be charmed by the sunny ambiance and innovative design of this unique restaurant.

Photography: Nicole Franzen and Alice Gao


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