SHAKING SIGNATURE COCKTAILS TO THE PULSATING BEATS THAT POUR FROM AMERICAN DREAM’S RECENTLY DEBUTED DREAM BAR, THIS SPIRITED BARTENDER MARRIES MUSIC AND MIXOLOGY WITH MOXIE
BY GILDA ROGERS • PHOTOS BY TOM ZAPCIC
Now that the DreamWorks Water Park is open in American Dream, vacationers are flocking to New Jersey for far more than its renowned beaches and boardwalks. Touted as the largest indoor water park on the entire continent of North America, it is one of the main attractions at the mega-destination that resides in the heart of the New Jersey Meadowlands. Riding this wave of excitement is Dream Bar, located on the second level of Court A, offering stunning panoramic views of Garden Staten sunsets.
Here, the lively bar’s lead mixologist, Jorge Mejia, thrives on the up-tempo energy that makes what he does so much fun. “There’s something different every day,” said Mejia. “It’s not repetitive. There are concerts, or maybe a 1,200-person event at the waterpark.” The entertainment complex, which opened in 2019, offers a wide variety of shopping, dining, and attractions, including the Big Snow indoor ski facility and skating rink, Nickelodeon Universe, Legoland, and Angry Birds Mini Golf, among others.
The recently debuted Dream Bar is an entity of M.A.D. Management, which Mejia has worked with for the last three years. He helped open their other establish-ments, including the Highwood Restaurant in Weehawken that showcases the New York skyline, and House of Que in Hoboken, which also has a location in the American Dream Mall.
Nurturing a passion for house music, Mejia draws inspiration for his libations from the thumping beats associated with late-night club culture, a creative liberty he said M.A.D. Management has always supported. “I was always into music,” said Mejia, a Hillside resident. “I need to hear it when I am creating menus.” When crafting his cocktail lineup, Mejia plays with flavors and textures using offbeat ingredients like clarified milk punch and bitters. (Milk punch is a European cocktail concept that blends five elements: spirit, sweetener, citrus, milk, and spices.) “It’s about the drink having balance; that’s what makes it taste awesome,” said the mixologist.
The Infused and Confused cocktail, a popular request, is what Mejia described as an “in-between season drink consisting of cinnamon and coconut fl avors enhanced by Superior Bacardi Rum.” Butterfl y pea fl ower turns the drinking experience into a show, causing the cocktail to change colors before your eyes as it reacts to the acidity of the lemon. Mejia’s experience in the hospital-ity industry led to a stint at the W Hotel, where he was enamored with its “beauty and elegance.” From there, he joined the Skopo Hospitality Group, owners of the Barrow House Restaurant in Clifton and the Franklin Social in Jersey City. “I worked there during COVID, and it’s a very creative group,” said Mejia, who felt creatively charged while there. “I am always in the house music scene. I thrive on the energy, on the visuals that go along with it and the way people respond to the music.” At Dream Bar and other M.A.D. locations, he has found the best of both worlds.
The energetic Mejia travels to New York City to work art shows, too. When blending art, music, and mixology, he said, “Th e outcome is magical.” Th is mixologist’s professional journey is encapsulated in the Wise Choice, a specialty cocktail on the Dream Bar menu that, according to Mejia, is “out there in your face” with flavor, stacked with smoked pineapples, spiced honey, and Teremana Reposado Tequila.
Dream Bar American Dream Mall / 1 American Way / East Rutherford / dreambarnj.com