Whether you prefer Bond or Dean, The James Room has enough style and charm to make anyone swoon.
Missy and Kristin Koefed adjust unexpected wall art
If you want to visit the restaurant version of “work hard, play harder,” step into The James Room. At the front, a sophisticated European-flavored cafe beckons the work-from-home types and weekend brunch crowds with expertly brewed coffee and comfortable seating. Push through the double-hinged doors on either side of the coffee counter, though, and you’ll find a world of lavish Hollywood parties and tasteful Bond Villains.
Robert Downey Jr. offers a wry smile from The James Room throw pillows.
Located in the rapidly developing SPX Alley, The James Room is a place where a cocktail that looks like molten gold is more than just a gimmick; it’s actually a good cocktail. There’s substance to the style here. Missy and Kristin Koefed, the couple at the helm of The James Room, happen to be the creators of 18.21 Bitters, so they know their way around a beverage program.
The James Room’s interiors feature nods to James Bond and James Dean, along with other notables who bear the name James. But when it comes to cocktails, one in particular sets the gold standard. “It’s called the Countess, and it’s easily our most photographed cocktail,” says Kristin, who heads food and beverage at the restaurant. With a vodka base and a slightly floral finish of elderflower liqueur, jasmine and grapefruit shrub, lillet blanc and 1821 Chamomile bitters, The Countess is topped with gold dust that creates a reflective sheen on its surface. Served in a copper coupe glass, the effect is almost like a bronze statue of a cocktail. Consider it a monument to fun and frivolity.
Cocktails are as ornamental as they are tasty.
That commitment to good times goes beyond pouring gorgeous cocktails. On Thursday nights, The James Room hosts a DJ to keep the mood lively. It’s an ambiance that says: “The party here never stops.”
Of course, there’s always somebody who has to ruin the fun and, to combat any party poopers, the Koefods have made a much-buzzed-about set of rules for The James Room. Most of the rules are common sense—things you wish didn’t need to be explicitly stated in this day and age, like, “Don’t stand on the furniture,” and, “Keep your shoes on.” Other rules give away just how much of a scene The James Room has already become: It asks customers not to photograph actors or ask for autographs. But, at the end of the day, the rules are simple and can be distilled into one short phrase: “Basically, just don’t be an ass****,” says Kristin. We’ll drink to that.
Comfortable tufted leather banquettes divide the room, while velvet chairs swivel for better conversation with neighbors.
Photography by: Photos courtesy of: Henri Hollis