JoJo’s Beloved, the new cocktail lounge opening Friday, July 23, within food hall Politan Row at Colony Square, is a total vibe, hoping to entice people to step back in time to the age of disco glam with a solid dose of 1980s futurism in its design and drinks.
Hidden behind a door toward the back of the food hall, people travel down a red carpeted, mirrored hallway to enter JoJo’s, a cocktail lounge intentionally designed by New Orleans firm Bell Butler to shut out the world and transport patrons back to the fabled nightlife of the 1970s and early 1980s.
An archaic term of endearment for “beloved”, the “Jo” in the name (derived from “joy”) also draws inspiration from a beloved American athlete of the era, pairs figure skating champion and Ice Capades headliner JoJo Starbuck.
Moody, atmospheric, and mixed with a sort of nostalgic futurism, JoJo’s attempts to bring this fanciful pleasure-seeking era in American nightlife together through design, with dimmed lights, a sleek, pink marble bar, bold reds and brassy golds, and plush burgundy booths meant for lounging.
Seating 13 at its horseshoe-shaped bar, with additional seating for just over 55 people at tables and booths, a vinyl soundtrack sets the tone, pumping out disco and 1980s tunes compiled nightly by the maitre’d and Politan Group beverage director Sophie Burton. The playlists can be found on Spotify, linked on the bar’s website.
Burton worked at bars and restaurants throughout Chicago, including Big Star, Dove’s, and Cindy’s, before moving to New Orleans. Now based there as beverage director for the Politan Group, Burton is no strange to that city’s storied cocktail scene, having worked at bars like Cafe Henri in the Bywater and industry hangout Bar Tonique on the edge of the French Quarter.
For JoJo’s, Burton crafted takes on period cocktails, like the Bluetsy Collins made with blue agave tequila, blue-tinged cordial, and cocktail foam drops topped with Topo Chico or her play on a Midori Sour — the Sagittarius Sour — with Singani 63, Midori, Bianco Bitter, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Fee foam. A weekday martini hour kicks off at 4 p.m., featuring $8 martinis.
“Brown drinks on the rocks next to subway tile have been thoroughly explored at this point, so I’ve chosen to focus on fun, garishly colored drinks that challenge the biases about what can and can’t be fancy or technical,” Burton says.
Like the cocktails, wine at JoJo’s leans hard into the era with by-the glass and bottle chablis, merlots, and sparkling wines.
JoJo’s Beloved and Politan Row food hall are part of a $400 million dollar overhaul of the half-century-old Colony Square complex in the heart of Midtown.
Politan Row, which opened to the public at the end of June, will eventually include 11 locally or independently owned food stalls. Currently, nine stalls are open and serving food, along with a 40-seat central bar aptly named Bar Politan. The bar hosts its own weekday happy hour.
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Martini hour, Tuesday – Friday, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations encouraged. Walk-ins welcome. Text waitlist available.
Colony Square, Politan Row, and JoJo’s Beloved are accessible via both the Arts Center and Midtown MARTA stations, although Arts Center Station is closer.
1197 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. jojosbeloved.com.
Disclaimer: The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.