ROOTED IN RETRO VIBES, THIS SCI-FI INSPIRED BUSHWICK BAR PROVIDES MORE THAN JUST CRAFT COCKTAILS
BY AMANDA McCOY • PHOTOS BY JON GORDON
This unmarked front door, off an industrial drag in Bushwick, might parallel a time portal for some—throwing bar patrons back a few decades to the glory days of science-fiction cinema and vinyl records.
And that’s the idea. Jupiter Disco, the brainchild of seasoned mixologists Al Sotack and Maks Pazuniak, pulls inspiration from iconic sci-fi fantasies like Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Alien, with odes to the films sprinkled throughout. Neon lighting and analog tech set the mood, while a classic DJ booth and state-of-the art sound system provide the beat. Think Star Wars’ Mos Eisley Cantina-meets 21st-century style fluidity.
The duo met through their trade back in the late aughts—and similar tastes in movies, books, and music helped form a fast friendship. Both had ties to modern cocktail culture, with resumes touting noteworthy nameplates like the Franklin in Philadelphia (Sotack) and Maison Premiere (Pazuniak), and eventually the pair began tossing around the idea of opening their own space.
“We both love music. It’s part of the reason why we became friends, and as this idea began evolving, we wanted to move away from this sort of sit-down cocktail bar towards something a little more casual, raucous, and fun,” added Pazuniak.
In late 2016, that vision came to fruition off Flushing Avenue.
The setup isn’t large by any means— a typical blueprint for a Brooklyn cocktail joint, with bench seating along the bar and a few aqua and dark wooden booths. The custom sound system, however, is powerful enough for a space many times this size; mission accomplished for the proprietors, as they are audiophiles as much as mixologists.
The owners originally planned on bringing in DJs Thursday through Saturdays, but quickly decided to make live music a nightly venture. They focus mostly on the local scene, with a genre-agnostic attitude that brings in all kinds of sounds, from chill and whimsical to darkwave and gothic.
But the disco is only one-half of the equation, as patrons come for the craft libations as much as the jams. There are no printed menus on-site; instead, two monochrome monitors scroll the cocktail and beer list in neon green, giving anyone who owned a computer in the ’80s pangs of nostalgia. Designed mainly for aesthetics, the monitor menus give the bartenders the ancillary benefit of changing the offerings nightly if they want (and often do).
“It’s a visual chalkboard. It keeps things fluid, if you will,” said Sotack of the menus (his favorite design element of the space). We can change it behind the bar as we want; it lets our beverage program be whatever we need each day.”
The cocktail list, like the nightly music, is ever changing. Tequila and bourbon are popular bases, with bitters, honey, and fresh fruit making regular appearances. The Salt + Ash is a fan favorite, blending tequila and mezcal with lapsang souchong, lemon, vermouth, maraschino, angostura and grapefruit bitters. For the beer lovers, a rotating tap list keeps four brews on draught, mostly locally sourced. Hot empanadas are available until they run out, and tunes continue to whisk bar-goers away well into the early morning hours.
1237 Flushing Avenue / jupiterdisco.com