Soju, the Asian
fusion restaurant that opened a year ago on Atlantic Avenue,
has come out of the closet - as the Dragon Lounge, Brooklyn Heights’s
new upscale, gay-friendly bar.
The expanded space is now decorated with dashing swaths of red
and chocolate, polished wood, hanging lanterns and wraparound
banquettes piled with jaunty cushions.
Owners Diane and Joe DiMeo wanted to get just the right atmosphere.
"Joe did all the major construction," says Diane. "I
made the cushions and pillows. You can feel the homey, warm,
There’s also a garden seating area, weather permitting.
The DiMeos, who are connected to the Gay-Lesbian-Bi-Transsexual
community through family members, felt that there was "a
need of an environment that is not seedy" for gays in the
neighborhood. Three weeks after reopening as Dragon Lounge, the
response has exceeded their expectations.
"I can’t believe how many people are coming in here,"
boasts Joe. "Soju’s food got high ratings," he added,
"but there wasn’t the foot traffic."
"[This stretch of Atlantic Avenue] is known more for the
bars in the vicinity," says Diane. "If you can’t beat
’em, join ’em."
Traces of Soju live on in the form of the house-made spicy peanut
snacks; meanwhile, chef Diane has poured her creativity into
a unique drink menu. Offerings include the almond jelly martini,
a blend of almond liqueur, vodka and almond jelly; the sake mojito,
made with the Japanese rice wine, basil and fresh lime juice;
or the "Zen martini," a concoction of green tea and
Weekly events include happy-hour-all-night on Tuesdays, for students
with ID, and "lady lovers" night on Wednesdays; and
contestants are now being sought for "Dragon Idol,"
an upcoming talent contest the DiMeos are planning. In another
month, they’ll also offer bloody mary brunches on weekends.
Weekend nights feature guest DJs and dancing.
The Dragon Lounge is located at 145 Atlantic Ave. between Clinton
and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights. Well drinks and beer are
$4-$6; specialty cocktails are $8-$10. The lounge is open daily
at 5 pm, with $1-off happy hour till 9 pm. For information about
upcoming events, call (718) 624-7658, or visit www.dragonloungebklyn.com.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010