Joo Restaurant and Bar aims to perpetuate the Korean tradition of bonding over shared food and drinks. Aptly named Joo ("alchohol" in Korean), the establishment by the husband-and-wife team of Jamie and Kristin Lim goes the extra mile with home-brewed makgeolli (Korean rice wine), and interiors that seem to belong to a trendy club, instead of a dining spot.
Conceptualised by the couple and their designer friend, Kenneth Tan, the plan was to have a "minimalist yet cosy, modern yet rustic" space that puts customers at ease while they eat, drink and be merry.
That vision was executed by The Design Ministy, which turned the interiors of the three-storey shophouse into a talking point – even the pinewood found on the restaurant's stools and tables were imported from Korea! Guests are treated to a casual setting on the ground floor where the open bar serves up Joo's signature makgeolli, soju mojitos, beer and cold-pressed juices On the upper floors, black chesterfield dining booths, as well as industrial chairs and lighting, are set up for group dining.
The second floor also features an amusing yet informative wall that illustrates Korean drinking etiquettes, such as never filling your own glass, and always receiving a drink refill with your right hand. The owners can attest to Koreans being pretty serious about these rules – whenever they try to pour themselves a cup when drinking with their Korean staff, at least three pairs of hands will reach out to stop them!