for Montclair Local

Some eye-catching signage for a new restaurant with a more modern feel is on the way for the Montclair Social Club, slated to open in the spring. At the Feb. 15 meeting of the Montclair Historic Preservation Committee, members reviewed several variances that would allow for bigger and bolder restaurant signage. The application began in December.

The Montclair Social Club will be located at 499 Bloomfield Ave. on the site of the former Rascal’s Comedy Club and is owned by Jason Miller. Designer Amanda Sharp, of Garrett Singer Architecture & Design, based in Englewood, presented renderings during the meeting to show the look of the facade and signage design. Committee members previously approved the storefront aesthetic, but now discussed the various signage plans with the overall design, including a trash enclosure.

Among the variances were changes to the front facade of the building, and includes mounted plaque signage with a brushed brass, laser cut logo with pin mounts and halo-lit illumination. The size of the sign will be 24 inches in height by 36 inches in width with warm LED lighting.

“The overall square footage is a little bit larger than what is in the code, but we feel it’s more proportionate to the building that we are maintaining,” she said, adding menu boards will be posted on both sides of the sign.

Also proposed is incorporating the already existing marquee with the name of the restaurant, lit with variable illumination. According to Sharp, the sign would have an overall approximate size of about 7 to 8 feet on each side. It will be a blackened metal sign, replacing the brass motif. The decorative edge will be eliminated and replaced with a thin, blackened element to cover any damage that comes with the removal of the edge.

“We feel it ties in with whatever other finishes are going on in the town, some of the more industrial-type, more modern aesthetic,” Sharp explained.

Sharp said that Miller was looking to use the existing brackets, and to powder coat them with a finish so it blends in with the signage. She added that other theaters in town such as the Claridge and the Bellevue historically have utilized similar signage on their marquees.

“Both examples show they used historic signage with open channels that have face lettering, with exposed bulb lighting,” she explained.

The marquee will also be utilized as an events board promoting upcoming private and public events at the restaurant. The marquee was approved by the township in 2005, Sharp said.

“I’d like to refer to us as a restaurant with a live, entertainment component,” Miller explained, emphasizing it would be a dining and social experience.

Sharp stressed that although the business is first and foremost a restaurant, the appearance of a theater space with a marquee will enhance the live-music component planned for inside.

“Rather than just having a flat marquee that doesn’t really bring any attention to itself, we thought of focusing on the entrance and having a historical sign that connotes theater,” she said. “A place that someone would want to go and spend their time. It was really about taking a look at the other historical theaters in Montclair and seeing what they used to be and bringing that aspect back. We like the marquee aspect, so we’re looking to enhance the marquee, rather than let it fade into the background.”

Sharp assured committee members the marquee would have a warm, glowing light and not be a “flashy-type style.”

“We’re not looking to bring anything to distract, but we would like to enhance the marquee of the restaurant,” she further added.

Plans call for a sign on the rear facade of the building’s entry, comprised of painted lettering in dark teal. There would be no illumination on the sign itself. A small trash enclosure area is planned as well.

“It’s not a main entrance, but definitely an entrance for guests,” she said.

Committee members are recommending that the planning board members approve the variances at the upcoming meeting.