In the middle of summer when it’s late and you want to go out but can’t bear the idea of your regular haunt, try Jo Jo Restaurant and Bar on U Street near 14th Street in Washington, D.C.
You’ll get a little of a whole lot, along with great cocktails and decent food.
On Friday nights, Just Us Band and Show takes the “stage” and rocks the place. The six-part cover band plays three sets of Marvin Gaye, Ben E. King, Michael Jackson, Barry White and many, many more classic artists. Lead vocalist “Little Robert” sings from the bottom of his belly with bitter distortion and sweet charm, wooing the audience into the music right along with him.
Between sets the house plays a mix of dance music and if you get there early enough to get a table or a seat at the bar, you just might be able to watch a little of the game.
Speaking of that, the one great drawback to Jo Jo’s is the space itself. Tastefully decorated with vintage photographs of jazz musicians on exposed brick, the tiny galley gets packed quickly and it gets pretty hard to enjoy anything. Thankfully, you can reserve a table at the club’s website.
There’s a top level, mainly used for dining. It’s a bit quieter, to be sure, but also a lot less cultured. Might be a great start to the evening if you want a bit to eat and some space to have a glass of wine in peace.
Sure enough, though, you’re going to hear the characteristic mangled music of jazz piping through the place and you’ll end up ogling Little Robert as he croons to the crowd.
Jo Jo Restaurant and Bar, 1518 U Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 202- 319-9350. Hours: Tuesday through Thursday: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday through Thursday: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Prices range from under $10 to more than $20.