People tend to be more honest in social settings, so when Sue Kruskopf’s Minneapolis ad agency needed more space, she opted to forgo a conference room and create a bar instead.

“We always say ‘Where does all the truth happen? It’s not at the meeting; it’s after the meeting,’” she said.

Of course, Kruskopf & Co.’s Truth Bar isn’t really a public drinking establishment. There’s no liquor license — and no front door. Although the space can be seen from the sidewalk, someone needs to be let in a “storage door” off the lobby of the Flour Exchange Building to find the cozy foyer complete with wood paneling and a crackling, digital fireplace.

A little farther, behind a massive, marble bar top, sit wine glasses etched with the names of clients, a company tradition. Red leather chairs surround small tables. A “BS jar” is propped up in the corner for when industry jargon is accidentally used.

With the space renovation, completed in December, the agency is on trend as far as office design. Fast Company and Inc. magazines both report lounge space, natural light and a mix of textures as essentials in designing new space. Private booths and innovative meeting spaces are also on the list. One New York City firm has an amphitheater style meeting room; another has small meeting rooms designed as mini greenhouses with seating.

The goal of the Kruskopf space was to create a comfortable environment, said agency President Dean Huff.

“They’ll look around and they say, ‘I’m amazed at how much you made it look like a bar,’” he said.

The room has signs of history. The woodwork throughout was salvaged from an old English library in Buffalo, Minn. The bar stools came from the Monte Carlo, a Minneapolis landmark. The rustic chandeliers and betting coins in the floor (marking the firing line for the darts board) were harvested from the Tropicana casino in Las Vegas.

The room was designed to function as a co-working space and a conference room for the 30-person Kruskopf firm, whose main offices are upstairs in the same building. There is hidden functionality such as a dry eraser board behind a wall of curtains and a projector screen that drops behind the bar — another office design trend.

Kruskopf & Co. has done work for clients such as 3M, HealthPartners and No Name Steaks. In the past two years, the firm’s revenue has increased by 50 percent. The thinking behind the Truth Bar fits into the firm’s mantra of finding the truth about a brand, Huff said.

“The one simple truth, this has been part of our DNA for a long time,” Huff said.

The meeting room renovation was part of the terms of a new long-term lease that the firm renegotiated last year, Huff said.

Kruskopf said she hopes that the Truth Bar can become more of an event space that clients and select other organizations can use to host dialogues.

 

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