As you glide past the perfectly manicured boxwood topiaries and into the doors of Piccolo, you just might forget that you are still in Auburn, Ala. Perfectly appointed, the newest addition to the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center has all the panache of a big city jazz club, while still incorporating the best of the Plains.
Piccolo is a recent re-invention for the establishment. Gone is the stuffy lounge adjacent to the main dining area of Ariccia, and in its place sits an upscale cocktail lounge, catering to the under-served adult population in Auburn. The over-sized fireplace casts a warm glow, while cozy couches beckon you to sit and stay awhile. Burnt orange overtones fill the room while custom martini glasses sport faint tiger stripes in a subtle homage to all things Auburn. The establishment manages to invoke a metropolitan feel without sacrificing hometown appeal.
The venue is a collaborative effort involving Auburn University students, local contractors and the hotel itself. In fact, multitudes of interior-design students competed to have their rendering of the lounge become reality. In the end, only a single group’s plan was selected.
According to hotel managing director, Hans van der Reijden, “The competition was really quite stiff! The students were all so committed and worked so hard that a winner was hard to pick! Ultimately, we used almost 100 percent that group’s suggestions. We deviated from their plan only slightly in order to achieve our completion date. Aside from that, we followed the student’s concept to a tee.”
Van Der Reijden also relied heavily on local contractor Michael Allen to translate the dream into reality. He enlisted the aid of the Atlanta-based public relations firm Pineapple. Together with the hotel and conference center, they developed a detailed plan to introduce Piccolo to the Plains — and the results have been outstanding. “In just the few weeks that we have been open, the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” confirms Van Der Reijden. “We are very encouraged with the feedback thus far.”
Part of this success is because Piccolo has something sure to please every palette—from jazz-inspired cocktails (think the “Louie Armstrong” or “Billie Holiday”) to budget-friendly small plates such as pint-sized quesadillas, sushi, petite Ruebens, desert shots and mini churros. To further sweeten the deal, all appetizers boast price points less than four dollars. So come in to satisfy your curiosity—we bet you’ll stay for the live jazz, delicious food and hand-shaken cocktails.
Piccolo is open seven days a week and Tuesday-Saturday from four p.m. to 12 a.m. The lounge features live jazz Fridays and Saturdays (with the exception of home-game weekends). To learn more, visit www.whatispiccolo.com.