The Coco Club

When Julius Caesar conquered Gaul he used Greek to correspond with his generals and Rome.  Some barbarians might speak Latin, only the wealthiest of Romans would have been tutored in Greek.  When marching on the capital itself, writing in Greek to his compatriots would be ineffective so he created code –– The Caesar Cipher –– among the earliest recorded cryptographic modes of communication.  Shifting the alphabet so it started on the letter “D”, Caesar’s transmissions were effective enough to defeat Pompey at Pharsalus and end the Roman Republic. 

Secrets can be sexy.  There is a primal satisfaction in knowing things that others don’t.  A fuck you, if I may, for that private piece of knowledge –– however trivial it might be.  And guess what, I know something y’all don’t. 

There is a legit speakeasy in Connecticut.  No, not a bar that is being housed in a former Prohibition speakeasy location –– but a hidden cocktail lounge whose coordinates are confidential.

The modern speakeasy is a far cry from its predecessor.  No longer is there the danger of being arrested for drinking booze, yet a thrill remains in imbibing in an unmarked, semi-private venue.  The allure of these establishments extends beyond secrecy though, as speakeasies have become exceptional hosts to extraordinary cocktails.

In the Coco Club, Connecticut finally has a cocktail bar that can stand-up to its big city counterparts.  Among the reason we’ve seen an explosion in Craft Beer is the unlocking of creativity in that industry.  On a small scale, brewers can go wild and take risks on recipes and styles that wouldn’t sell in the broader market.  Cocktail lounges whose sole focus are cocktails open up those same possibilities.

Great restaurants often have good cocktails, but there is an extra layer of sophistication, detail, and originality when the entirety of the operation is set towards one goal.  A good restaurant won’t close if they have average drinks, a cocktail bar will fold quickly if their concoctions aren’t magnificent. 

And here is where the Coco Club crushes.  Their drinks are innovative and true.  Their menu shifts and their ingredients –– alcohol and otherwise –– are expansive.  Whatever you want, they have, and by putting a bit of trust in the bartender, its likely that you’ll be introduced to drinks and spirits you’ve never experienced, but will love nonetheless.

The interior has a Miami in the sixties feel to it.  Think Hunter S. Thompson’s “Rum Diary” for  reference.  Sofas and white arm chairs scatter the two rooms, with a distinctive pink neon light in the back.  Each room has its own character, either are ideal to sit back and relax.  

Their cocktails have a tropical flare too –– the place is definitely trying to capture the soul of a long, hot Carribean night.  In my last visit, the official menu had ten drinks and five of them were unabashedly equatorial.  Forget the conventional tiki nonsense though.  Their cocktails take tropical flavors, pair them with nontraditional ingredients, which lends a refined twist to drinks you thought you knew.  Take their “Cocomo” as an example. Fundamentally, it’s a Pina Colada –– yet add peanut orgeat to the mix and the drink’s composition totally shifts.  The peanut somehow pairs well with the coconut, pineapple, and lime, while also cutting the sweetness of the drink by a margin.  It was awesome.  That said, they crush all of the classics too, so don’t be shy in ordering what you love too.

Yet to get all of this you have to crack the code.  I know the code and its more difficult to unlock than Caesar’s Cipher.  Deal with it.  Find the location, break the code, and be a cool kid.  When sipping otherworldly cocktails in a disclosed location, its impossible to not feel fucking hip.  Good luck.