By Eric Paulsen Special to Published Jul 19, 2004 at 5:42 AM

{image1} Do you think of Downtown or perhaps the East Side when you picture a martini lounge? Careful, those old stereotypes are beginning to blur.

A stone's throw from the zoo, in the new Giuseppe's building whose design is a nice departure from the typical suburban strip, sits Jojo's Martini Lounge. Located at the corner of Bluemound Road at Highway 100 in Wauwatosa, Jojo's (418 N. Mayfair Road) is a welcome addition to Milwaukee's burgeoning martini bar scene. It's particularly welcome for West Side and suburban residents wishing for something shaken, not stirred.

Part of Jojo's appeal is the variety. If it ends in "-tini", they make it. The menu offers 87 martini varieties, beyond the standard house Jojo Martini (Pearl Vodka and dry vermouth). It can also be for a Key Lime Pie-tini.

Combination possibilities tend to multiply like rabbits listening to Barry White; more than 550 combinations are possible at Jojo's. To form the proper base of the martini, Jojo's has 31 different kinds of vodka, including the black vodka used for the "Amytini" (black vodka, triple sec, and cranberry and lime juice), named after one of the bartenders. All the bartenders have a martini named for them, so ask your server about theirs.

While not a big place, Jojo's sets the tone right. It's cozy yet open; noisy enough to remind you you're out on the town, yet quiet enough for normal conversation. The theatrical lighting highlights an awesome skyline painting on one wall, and along another is a long line of martini glasses that seems to go on forever. Music focuses on light jazz during the day, with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aretha Franklin and current groups rotating in at night.

You can stay updated on sporting events by gazing up at the two plasma televisions, but don't confuse the place with a sports bar; the art of fine drinking and conversation rules here. The high ceiling coupled with the artwork gives an impression that Jojo's is bigger than it really is; it doesn't take a large crowd to fill the place, but on several Friday and Saturday night visits there was no wait, either.

Owners Jojo and Tony Fugarino have added unique and personal touches throughout. Chocolate martinis feature Godiva chocolate and stirrer sticks for selected martinis are tipped with homemade mint chocolate. There's a custom 10-foot tall stainless steel martini glass hovering above the entrance. The artwork on the walls is custom, and extra bar stock is in full view along the back wall.

While martinis go as high as $11.50, the average price is $8-$9. If your companion(s) prefer other beverages, Jojo's stocks a decent selection of beer and wine. Being a martini bar, neither a beer tap nor soda gun can be found. Soda for mixed drinks comes straight from the can, and beer flows only from bottles.

While olives and pretzels are the only foods on tap, the convenience of having Giuseppe's in the same building means you can order from their menu and have the food brought to your table. Giuseppe's full menu is available until 10 p.m., with pizza available until 1 a.m.

Jojo's is fast becoming a favorite of the personnel at the new Aurora Health Care facility on Mayfair Road, as well as West Siders. Then again, at only 10 minutes west of downtown the place isn't inconvenient for East Siders and downtown folk, either.

Jojo's Martini Lounge, 418 N. Mayfair Road (414-475-5656), is available for private parties, with catering from Giuseppe's. It is open from 3 p.m. until bar time.

Eric Paulsen Special to
Eric Paulsen is a Milwaukee native but also grew up in Chicago, Detroit and Dallas, which means he’s never lived in a decent climate. Paulsen works as the Communications Officer for the Greater Milwaukee Committee, serves as a writer and contributor for commercials and a national TV show and pops up on 103.7 Kiss FM on weekends, doing his share of overplaying Top 40 hits. Previously, he was a business partner and director in a start-up online research company that began in 1998 and reached the Inc. 500 list by 2005. He was an early contributing writer for, dating back to 1999. He got his MBA from UW-Milwaukee in 2007 and also holds a BS in Consumer Science (a degree he can’t explain, either) from UW-Madison and thus cheers on the Badgers with reckless abandon. Eric is a graduate of the Future Milwaukee Leadership Program and participates in many community-minded events and initiatives, invited or not. When he’s not working, Paulsen enjoys running, road trips and practicing for a future career as a beer connoisseur.