Concrete Bartop Enhances Upscale Tavern

Project submitted by Steve Silberman, Absolute ConcreteWorks, Seattle, Wash.
By Anne Balogh,

For the new Ram Restaurant & Brewery in Federal Way, Wash., no ordinary bartop would do. The popular family-owned restaurant chain, which specializes in hand-crafted beers and great food at affordable prices, strives for an atmosphere with more sophistication than the typical tavern. That touch of class is being conveyed at the Federal Way location by an elegant 50-foot-long concrete bartop embellished with tumbled white marble.

“The client was looking for a viable alternative to other slab materials that are attractive but have become somewhat pedestrian,” says Steve Silberman of Absolute ConcreteWorks (ACW), which specializes in making precast concrete elements that use sustainable and reclaimed or recycled materials. “The architect chose concrete for the eco-friendly attributes, organic look and boundless design versatility of a material that begins in a liquid form.

The bartop was made using ACW's SoundCrete glass-fiber-reinforced concrete mix, which reduced the weight and allowed the slab to be cast in 10-foot sections to minimize seams. Cast at a 1-inch thickness with a 3-inch drop lip, each section weighs about 13 pounds per square foot .

The concrete was integrally colored a carbon gray to enhance randomly placed white marble aggregate, which was exposed by a sanded finish. The surface was then sealed with a water-based poly-acrylic sealer and protected with a food-grade beeswax.

The molds for the bartop were CNC-generated according to computer-aided design drawings to ensure that all the pieces would fit together onsite without the need for modification. After assembly, the seams were tightly sealed with silicone.

Materials used:
GFRC mix: SoundCrete, Absolute ConcrereteWorks
Integral pigment: Davis Colors, Light Gray Carbon
Admixtures (alkali-resistant glass fibers and acrylic polymer additive): Nippon Electric Glass America
Aggregate: Recycled tumbled marble, Coverall Stone, Seattle
Sealer: HydroGuard
Beeswax finish: Buddy Rhodes Concrete Products

Concrete Contractor

Steve Silberman
Absolute ConcreteWorks LLC, Seattle, Wash.


Tom Hobson
Specialty Wood Manufacturing, Tacoma, Wash.


Keith Smith
Smith Co. LLC, Seattle

General Contractor

Wilcox Construction, Edmonds, Wash.

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