A word from JoJo Restaurant and Bar
Back in the golden era of jazz, musicians such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong found comfort in DC. Because of the strong Black community that lived around and owned businesses along the U Street Corridor, the neighborhood became an attraction for many renowned and rising musicians of that early 1900s. Similar to the later Renaissance in Harlem, the richness of the Black Community in the area nurtured these artists and their then-new art form.
Yet, before there was a “Harlem” there was “U Street.” And while Harlem eventually laid claim to Jazz, she was nurtured in her infancy on “U Street.” True to the Spirit of U Street, JoJo Restaurant and Bar works hard to provide the ambiance and sound that blends the nostalgia of the early 1920s with a contemporary flair. Flavorful cuisine and nightly live music set the tone, and provide the adventure seeker with a refreshing escape from the mundane and monotonous. At JoJo, we invite you to shut out the world and its cares.
JoJo Restaurant and Bar is easy to spot–just look for the beautiful banner out front. Inside, small lit candles adorn the tables. Crowds of people who have braved the steamy Washington D.C. air all day settle in for a relaxing evening. As night descends upon the U Street Corridor, locals and visitors alike come to JoJo’s, anticipating live jazz music as the first sweet strains reach the sidewalk and street beyond.
JoJo offers an elegant venue to take in the music. It feels like an upscale restaurant, without the fancy dress code. There are two levels at JoJo’s, both have adequate seating–the tables, chairs, and barstools are beautifully carved mahogany–and both feature a full bar. The downstairs is more intimate; this is where the true ambiance of JoJo is most realized, too. Soulful, global music plays inside before the live entertainment begins. Never too loud, but always there to keep the energy flowing, it is a modern sound, driven and impulsive.
Photographs by Gideon Kifle showcase jazz performance on the exposed brick walls throughout the restaurant and a notable print of local great Keter Betts is included in the impressive group of shots. Chef and owner Ben Kibour provide food that is simple but delicious; all dishes are reasonably priced. Most of all, whether you come to JoJo to eat or drink or just to hang out for the night, you will find a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. Those who enjoy summer in the city, come for great food, cold drinks, and live music–it’s always good to find a place that respects and reveres jazz.