The former in Egleston Square was a dive bar legend: cheap beer enhanced and made bearable (and enjoyable) by an insufferable jukebox selection, X-rated video games, tacky velvet paintings and pool table heroes.
When it closed earlier this year—rat infestations, noise complaints, seedy bathrooms and all—many wondered who would take over the Washington Street space that once hosted raucous drag queen nights and ironic Beyoncé sing-alongs. And puzzled how they’d ever get the stale smoke stank out of the place.
Coco’s Lounge opened its doors this summer. Impressively displaying little remnants of its former tenant, the spiffed-up spot plays up brick-exposed walls with sleek wooden flooring, shiny fixtures and simple (generic) art décor. It’s at once new and familiar. It's immaculately clean. There are eight mammoth HD televisions placed throughout. It’s comfortable. The stale smoke stank is gone.
A kitchen was created for the 75-seat eatery to output a vague quasi-Latin menu. Chorizo skewers, shrimp ceviche and meaty quesadillas spot Coco’s limited lounge menu, but typical American bar grub like wings, fries and burgers are more popular orders. Drink specials like the Alabama Slammer, Mango Daiquiri and Long Island Iced Tea seem more Jersey Shore than Jamaica Plain, but are on par with Coco’s Latin-tropical theme. Beer offerings are mostly domestic, watered-down sangria flows by the pitcher and cheap wine selections are short. But the Latin soundtrack is soothing, and the service is overly hospitable.
Coco’s first-time restaurant owners Leoni Pascasio and Jose Delarosa are optimistic about their investment. “Since we’ve opened, we’ve had lines outside every night,” claims Pascasio. The owners plan to add live jazz and Latin music soon, license pending.
The Latin-themed Coco’s Lounge seems a right fit for Jamaica Plain’s Egleston Square. It’s new, bright and promising. And welcome.
Coco's Lounge, 3171 Washington St., 617-522-7500
Hours: Monday-Saturday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday noon to 1 a.m.
About this column: Kate Mason lives in Jamaica Plain's Stonybrook neighborhood and roasts a mean chicken. Her column runs the second Monday of each month.