In addition to its 11 food stalls, central bar, and private dining area with a photo booth, Colony Square’s new food hall, Politan Row, has one more trick up its proverbial sleeve. A hidden bar and lounge called JoJo’s Beloved is now open in the back left corner of the space. Led by Politan Row beverage director Sophie Burton, it serves ‘70s-and-’80s-inspired cocktails in a neon-lit environment with space for 62 people.
“Will [Donaldson, Politan Row founder], wanted to put in a secret bar, but I didn’t want to do another speakeasy or hyper-masculine space,” Burton says. “We’re interpreting ‘70s and ‘80s cocktails that are out of fashion because they are too sugary with fresh ingredients. It’s putting the modern mixology cocktail-balancing attitude on club classics.”
One example is the Private Life Drama drink, named after the Grace Jones song “Private Life.” Burton says she wanted to update a Pink Squirrel (an old-school, cream-based, dessert-like cocktail), so she turned it into a foam. She uses that foam atop rum Old Fashioneds. “That way, you get this strong, aromatic depth of flavor with familiar kisses of coconut, walnut, and chocolate,” she explains.
On the 10-cocktail menu, others include the Bluetsy Collins with Weber Blue Agave Tequila, slightly-spicy blue cordial, cocktail foam drops, and Topo Chico; and the Sagittarius Sour, a play on a Midori Sour with Singani 63, Midori, Bianco Bitter, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Fee Foam. There’s also a special called Set Up 75 that includes half a bottle of house champagne and a premixed solution of cognac, lemon, and sugar for $75. “It’s so you [and two companions] can make your own baller French 75,” Burton says.
She warns the drinks at JoJo’s are strong, so if you haven’t eaten, you may want to order beer or wine. Expect craft beer innovators Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada, as well as Coors Banquet, served in its ‘70s-style bottle. The wine list focuses on bubbles, plus wineries who debuted in the early ‘80s, such as Mount Eden, Schug, and Pride Mountain.
The drinks at JoJo’s match the vibe and decor. With cathedral-like high ceilings, 25-foot-tall red curtains, and a pink marble bar, understated is not on the agenda. Pink booths feature neon lighting, there’s a 10-seat pink communal table, and the Human League and Evelyn Champange King play on vinyl. Burton describes the aesthetic as “disco meets neo-futurist.”
Drinkers check in with a host—just follow the red carpet down the mirrored hallway from Politan Row. There’s no cover charge, but reservations are highly recommended.
“I’m really excited to share this with Midtown,” Burton says. “After being in the house for so long [because of the pandemic], I wanted joyful, loving, energetic space.”