Stiff cup o' joe

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The patio umbrellas will soon close on street-corner bistros, but there's nothing better than a warm cup of coffee to help people savor the last days of open-air lounging. At MoJoe Lounge's tree-lined patio in German Village, patrons can sip Cup O' Joe java or kick things up a notch with one of the bar's many coffee-tinged cocktails.

"We get people caffeinated in the morning and inebriated at night," joked Jeremy Hite, coffee shop and bar general manager.

MoJoe Lounge joined the Cup O' Joe next to the Book Loft less than a year ago. Like its low-key neighbors, the German Village bar emanates a relaxed, friendly vibe. Inside MoJoe, music plays softly over conversations from thirtysomethings nestled at the arched bar and in nearby cafe-style seating. Creamy yellow walls are broken up by black-and-white photos, flat-panel TVs and a fireplace.

The warmly lit, intimate setting tends to draw more of a crowd for presidential debates than pigskin keep-away. In fact, the last debate stirred a friendly, neighborhood back-and-forth among the bar's many caffeinated drinkers, Hite said.

As in the adjoining coffee shop, percolating sips abound at MoJoe. Patrons will find Cup O' Joe's signature coffees transformed into whipped-cream-topped martinis, like The Turtle ($6) or the Black Forest Latte ($6.50), a creamy cocoa sip with raspberry flair.

The bar's hearty cocktail lists includes old standbys next to imaginative standouts. Fresh greens make the Strawberry Basil Martini ($8) and Bloody Mary ($7) must-haves, but try the Root Beer Float Martini ($7) for a change of pace.

In addition to a handful of high-end liquors, the lounge offers a fine variety of draft beer including Sam Adams Oktoberfest ($4.50) and the two-for-one-favorite Dead Irishman ($5) - half Guinness and half Dead Guy Ale. Don't order it too loudly, though.

Happy hour brings a celebratory after-work crowd to the bar, and a light, bistro-style menu only emboldens lazy loungers. Made-from-scratch pizzas, soups and sandwiches dominate, though the fare recently received a face-lift. "Like the coffees we feature, it's more equatorial," Hite said.

Additions like the Cuban Club Panini ($9) and Mojoe Fish Tacos ($11) give the menu some flavorful depth. Mojoe Lounge's Sunday brunch buffet ($12) begins with made-to-order omelets and ends with mimosas and, not surprisingly, coffee.