Late last year we announced that 93-year-old Joseph Barone, the longtime owner of the beloved Journal Square Pub, had sold the business. At the time, the future owners, Jersey City natives Sebastian and Frank Cupo provided little details about their plans for the neighborhood staple.
“We will incorporate some food with the bar and create a whole new different environment there,” said Cupo at the time. “It’s something that needs to be thought of as we go along, to see what could serve the market right now and plan ahead for later on.”
About two weeks ago, the pub quietly closed for “deep cleaning,” according to a sign posted on the door. The team has done a lot in a short amount of time and now the refreshed concept is ready to debut.
Yesterday, Jersey Digs got a peek inside of what is now called JSQ Lounge to see first hand what the update will bring. The new concept celebrates the bar’s historic past while positioning it for a bright future. It also emphasizes Jersey City. The Cupo’s were born and raised here, and as they describe it, “it’s a Jersey City bar for Jersey City, by Jersey City.”
“We’re not New Yorkers coming in and telling the neighborhood what it needs. We’re from Jersey City and want to create a place welcoming to longtime residents and newcomers alike,” said Cupo.
Beyond the deep cleaning, JSQ Lounge will also reopen featuring an updated design aesthetic. With fresh coats of paint throughout and a focus on vintage decor, locals will feel right at home at this welcoming addition to the neighborhood. Frank and Sebastian Cupo provided vintage photos displayed throughout, showcasing a range of true Jersey City history with photos of both their family and the city itself.
A glittering disco ball hangs from the center of the ceiling, and there’s also a neon wall clock that dates back to the original Tube Bar. The bar is also much brighter now, partly thanks to an array of beautiful vintage light fixtures, Sebastian’s own collection, thoughtfully installed throughout the space.
At the bar, a craft cocktail menu features 10 classic drinks that are refined yet approachable. Twelve draft beer lines will serve as many local breweries as possible and local spirits from Corgi Distillery and Misunderstood Whiskey will be available as well.
The kitchen is not yet open but will debut soon.
The Cupo’s brought in Tory Aunspach who is handling operations, systems implementation, and management training for the new concept. Aunspach is also one of the owners of Hooked, the popular seafood shack in Bergen-Lafayette.
The reopening coincides with Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade that ends in Journal Square. True to the holiday, they will be serving dyed green beers and plenty of Irish whiskeys.
Beyond Sunday, the bar will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. during the week, and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Stay tuned for a full feature on JSQ Lounge soon.
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