Resort Style Comfort With Bromic
San Diego arguably boasts the most perfect climate in the U.S. That said, there’s always room for improvement, right? That is exactly the thinking that went into the construction of new Decoy Bar at the Lakehouse Hotel & Resort in San Marcos, California.
When the restaurant/bar was being constructed, the goal was to keep the open-air bar portion of the facility open 12-months a year. While San Diego’s weather is ideal, it isn’t always perfect for sitting dockside with a cocktail when evening temperatures can drop into the 50s. The challenge, therefore, was improve upon perfection by warming the dining area up a tad in a venue that is all about the open air and unobstructed views of the landscape.
The Lakehouse Hotel & Resort, a property of the Eat. Drink. Sleep. Corporation based in San Diego, has been under construction in one form or another since 2011 as it continually adds more amenities for its guests. However, it was in a little more than a year ago when the company tore down an existing barbecue restaurant on the property to make way for an all-new restaurant on Lake San Marcos. In fact, the new Decoy Restaurant and Dockside Bar, which opened in 2016, are literally on the Lake San Marcos. Half of the building, approximately 5500 square feet of the 13,000 square foot facility, is cantilevered over the 65-acre manmade lake.
The previous building, too, was constructed over the lake in the 1960s. However, dry rot and time had taken its toll, so aside from some walls and the lake supports, the entire restaurant was torn down to create the new eatery, which was expanded by 2000 square feet. Upstairs, is the Decoy Restaurant, an upscale dining venue, while downstairs is the Decoy Dockside, an open-air bar. “When you walk off the parking lot, it is like you are walking into the first floor, yet you are dockside and you’re hovering above the lake,” says Brett Miller, CEO of the Decoy Restaurant project with Eat. Drink. Sleep.
That feeling of hovering over the lake was something the company wanted to maintain at all costs. On the other hand, they knew they needed heaters of some sort but they wanted them to be unobtrusive; they wanted them to blend in and not block the views of Lake San Marcos and the San Marcos Foothills in the distance.
Eat. Sleep. Drink. retained Kent Coston of Coston Architects Incorporated of La Mesa, Calif., to design the building but relied upon its own staff for all the design elements. So, they embarked on a search for aesthetically pleasing outdoor heaters that would handle the job. They did some research online, but ironically, they stumbled across exactly what they wanted when they happened to visit a San Diego Burger Lounge, one of many in a chain of West Coast-based restaurants, and found the type of heater they wanted in use there. “We had never seen them before and they looked really cool,” remembers Miller of the find.
The heaters they found were the Bromic Group’s Tungsten Smart Heat™ Gas heaters, high performance heaters that can be mounted to the ceiling or wall that offer wind resistance, directional heat and a direct ignition. “The key selling point was the actual product design. We looked at other heaters that put out the same amount of heat, but the actual piece of equipment was larger than we liked,” adds Miller. “When the Bromic representative came down, we were sold on them. He helped us create a really good layout and, looking back, we’re glad we got enough heaters, 18 in all, so we have really good coverage,” Miller explains.
Miller says the installation process couldn’t have been easier. “They went in, installed them, turned them on and they worked,” he states. The heaters were plumbed for natural gas, which has been a big saver of time and money in the short time they’ve been in operation. “We were utilizing natural gas on another project with propane tanks and it is so nice to have them plumbed directly. We’re not out there changing propane tanks all the time. It is seamless,” Miller explains, noting that they have spent about $1200/month on propane tanks at other locations “and this has to be half that cost, plus the labor to change the tanks is gone. So as far as we’re concerned they are super efficient.”
The result is 18 Bromic Tungsten Smart Heat™ gas heaters installed around the perimeter of the Decoy Dockside Bar. “They are installed so that when you are downstairs, what you are looking at is the foothills of San Marcus and the lake. It is all exposed without a heater in sight.”
They soon discovered another benefit of the heaters. “We also really like that they can be controlled remotely,” says Miller, noting that they have nine remotes, with each remote controlling two heaters. They had the remotes mounted on a clipboard in the office so that the manager can come in, pick it up and turn on each one very easily. In the meantime, if one party is cool, we can just turn on the heaters near them and leave the rest off. It works just great.”
More importantly, the executives at Eat. Drink. Sleep. can claim they were able to improve on San Diego’s perfect climate. “The only time we do close the Dockside Bar is when it is raining. I can warm you up but I can’t take away the dampness. On a 55-degree night or a chilly morning, it is wonderful there.” In short, the Dockside doesn’t have a lot of downtime.
“They look neat and fit in our location really nice. They put out a ton of heat and use remote control and they are doing really well. They make us look good. We’re really happy with the way they turned out and I don’t think we would have done anything differently.”
What have customers been saying about the heaters? “Absolutely nothing!” says Miller, which is the best thing. “I haven’t heard anybody say anything, which means they working. They are quiet, too. Once they are lit, there is no sound.
“When they want it warm, we turn it on. No one is leaving because it is cold and that’s all I need to hear.”