Flying Squirrel named one of the best-designed bars in the nation

Restaurant selected as finalist for major award

The Flying Squirrel is just off Main Street in Southside Chattanooga.
photo The Flying Squirrel is just off Main Street in Southside Chattanooga.

The Flying Squirrel, a Chattanooga-based restaurant and bar built by Max Poppel and Dan Rose, has been selected as a finalist by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects as one of the best-designed cafes and bars in the U.S.

The Flying Squirrel features a glass and wood design that helps erase the transition between being inside and outside, with high ceilings, reused pieces of a 115-year-old barn from McMinnville and huge beams from an old knitting mill.

"Thomas Palmer, the architect, we told him the general concept of what we wanted to do, and he came back with a general sketch that is the skeleton of what we have here today," said Poppel, co-owner of the Squirrel. "We love trying to make the inside the outside, and the outside the inside when the weather is great."

The Flying Squirrel is up for two awards: a juried award that puts it up against cafes and bars from Hollywood, Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as a people's choice award that tallies votes from members of the general public.

Poppel and Rose have seen success with the venture, which is frequently packed with patrons, and hope that its popularity will translate into votes online.

Voting is open now and ends on Thursday, May 28. Winners will be announced at the Dwell on Design awards ceremony on May 30.

"We're psyched to represent Chattanooga," Poppel said. "Most of what we want to tell people is just to get out there and vote."