ADJ Lighting Brings to Life the Little Tijuana Restaurant, Margarita Bar & Lounge

The management of Little Tijuana in Newark, New Jersey have invested in a significant quantity of ADJ lighting fixtures to enhance the atmosphere throughout the venue. These include LED pars in the indoor restaurant, IP-rated wash fixtures for the patio and rooftop spaces, as well as high impact dancefloor lighting for the after-hours lounge area.

Described on its website as “New Jersey’s favorite Margarita bar and Modern Mexican restaurant”, Little Tijuana is located in the Ironbound area of Newark, just minutes away from New York City. During the daytime and early evening, it serves exquisite Mexican-themed dishes, with a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, before transitioning into a late-night destination offering world-class cocktails, live performances, and dancing to guest DJs. The venue consists of a series of interlinked spaces, each with its own distinctive aesthetic. However, the Mexican theme is prevalent throughout every area, as is quirky décor with lots of details, and the use of ADJ lighting fixtures to enhance the atmosphere, especially after the sun has gone down in the evening.

Local ADJ dealer, Definitive Pro Sound – owned and managed by Peter Bonavato – was responsible for the project, looking after the sale, installation, and integration of all the lighting equipment. Meanwhile, Jon Schwille of Healy Sales, ADJ’s Sales Rep Firm covering New Jersey, not only provided sales support to help the venue’s management select the right fixtures for their specific requirements but also served as the lighting designer for the project. For each area of the venue, Jon suggested fixtures that would provide the required lighting looks and also blend in with the relevant aesthetics. He also served as the lighting programmer, creating a variety of looks for the main lounge area that can be used both earlier in the evening while patrons are chatting over drinks and also later at night when the energy of the music increases and the dancefloor fills.

In the main indoor restaurant area, which features a large bar running down one side with tables on the other, nine of ADJ’s 5PX HEX PEARL LED par fixtures are mounted to the ceiling. These are used to wash the room with vibrant colors and also to illuminate a large mural which serves to anchor the myriad of other smaller pieces of artwork and decorative elements which fill the space. With a luxurious matt white finish, the luminaire is ideal for use in spaces – such as this one – where traditional black fixtures would stand out too prominently. It boasts five 12-watt HEX (RGBAW+UV) color mixing LEDs, which allow for a wide pallete of colors to be achieved. The unit also features a robust metal housing, convenient locking power input/output connections, both 3-pin and 5-pin DMX input and output sockets, a 30-degree beam angle, and a versatile dual hanging bracket.

To the side of the main building is a large patio space covered with a glass awning. This provides an alfresco dining space that is still protected from the elements. The primary feature of its décor is a collection of sombreros which hang from the roof intertwined with an explosion of colorful synthetic flowers and foliage. This provides a dazzling canopy for the diners below, as well as much appreciated shade in the summer months.

Illuminating this cornucopia of blooms and headwear are twelve ADJ 18P HEX IP LED pars. These are mounted to the side of the main building and provide a vibrant wash of color which ensures that even after the sun sets the impressive overhead display is highlighted to its full potential. Since these fixtures are technically located outside, their IP65 rating was a primary reason they were selected for this project, as was the impressive output created by their collection 18 12-Watt HEX color LEDs.

At the rear of the building is an outdoor seating and event space, which incorporates a stage that is used by visiting performers as well as guest DJs at the weekend. Lighting for the stage is provided by a pair of ADJ 32 HEX Panel IP LED wash fixtures alongside a pair of WW Profile HP IP ellipsoidal fixtures from ADJ’s sister company Elation Professional. Featuring 32 x 12-watt HEX color LEDs, the IP65-rated 32 HEX Panel IP generates a potent wash of saturated color to enhance the ambiance of the space while the WW Profile HP IP units ensure that performers on stage are clearly illuminated.

A pair of ADJ’s Encore Burst UV IP fixtures are also used to bathe the space in potent ultraviolet light, which causes white and fluorescent clothing and props to glow vibrantly. These fixtures are essential for creating the right atmosphere for the venue’s popular Día de los Muertos (Day of the Day) themed parties, from which a lot of the artwork throughout the venue draws inspiration. All the lighting fixtures in this area are rigged to a pair of T-bar lighting stands positioned to either side of the central stage area.

At the very top of the building, ‘The Rooftop’ is an outdoor space which offers another bar and the perfect area for socializing on warm summer days. As the sun’s light wanes in the evening, illumination of this space transitions to an arrangement of ADJ’s compact 7P HEX IP LED par fixtures. Featuring an IP65 rating and robust metal construction, these units are ideal for outdoor applications. Each fixture incorporates seven 12-Watt HEX color LEDs and outputs a vibrant punchy swathe of colored light with a 30-degree beam angle.

Six of the units are mounted to the underside of the canopy that shelters the distinctive bar, which features a ‘living wall’ backdrop and striking black marble counters. Four additional fixtures are located in a covered seating area situated at the rear of the space. All ten of the 7P HEX IPs provide richly saturated color washes which fill the whole of The Rooftop, creating a vibrant atmosphere for enjoying late night drinks and conversation.

Inside and downstairs is a dedicated lounge area that is the heart of the venue’s late-night offering. It features a full-on immersive lighting setup comprised exclusively of ADJ and Elation Professional fixtures. At one end of the room stands a dedicated bar and mezzanine seating area, while directly opposite is a wall filled with large LCD screens. The two sides of the space are connected by a continuous line of Elation’s PIXEL BAR IP fixtures, primarily the 2-meter PIXEL BAR 120 IP model, but also some of the smaller 1-meter PIXEL BAR 60 IP and 0.5-meter PIXEL BAR 30 IP variants. These run along the walls, starting by the stairs down from the mezzanine, extending below the LCD screens and continuing along the portions of the far wall that are not filled by a large blacked out window. These fixtures are controlled through ARTNET using the DYLOS pixel mapping system from another of ADJ’s sister companies, Obsidian.

House lighting for the lounge area is provided by six of Elation’s FUZE PENDANT color mixing LED fixtures, while the main lighting rig features four DARTZ 360 and four FUZE SFX moving head luminaires. Color washing and strobe effects for the dancefloor are provided by eight of ADJ’s Jolt 300 multifunction LED panel fixtures. This compact unit features a central strip of 144 x 0.5W white SMD LEDs, surrounded on both sides by 144 x 0.5W RGB SMD LEDs. Each type of LED is divided into three independently controllable zones which allow for the creation of a wide variety of strobe, wash, blinder, and color chase effects. In the Little Tijuana lounge this zone control functionality has been integrated with the DYLOS system to allow animated color patterns to play across both the PIXEL BARs running around the walls and the Jolt 300s in the roof, making for an incredibly immersive experience for those on the dancefloor.

Little Tijuana has five distinctly different spaces, each enhanced through the use of the right lighting fixtures. This has helped the venue develop its reputation not only for good food and drinks but also as a great place to spend a whole evening. Its unique and detailed décor is enhanced by vibrant color washes, its outdoor spaces are given a whole new lease of life after the sun sets and its small but perfectly formed dance area has a truly awe-inspiring lighting rig.

“Lighting is essential in helping to create the right atmosphere to ensure that our clients enjoy their experience here at Little Tijuana,” confirms owner Rafael Perez. “We are very happy with all of our ADJ lighting, which does exactly what we need it to do in each of the unique spaces that make up the venue. Each light does its job well and offered good value for money when we made the investment. I cannot wait to add more ADJ lighting to all of our spaces here to continue to give everyone who comes through our doors a wonderful and one of a kind experience.”