The Juju: Now Not Nearly Bad Enough in Belltown
Long ago, Juju was located on 11th Avenue and Pine Street, where it was called the Bad Juju Lounge. Through the lens of memory, at least, the place had a legitimately dark soul, a hodgepodge seaminess that fit its name; it definitely had a large live snake that resided depressively in a glass enclosure among the liquor bottles. That space, after a spell as yet another upscale cocktail lounge (or two?), became Purr, a pretty and popular gay bar with karaoke, tacos, and a svelte cartoon kitty cat wearing a jeweled collar as its logo/spirit animal.
The Bad Juju, meanwhile, moved a few blocks away to inhabit a preexisting bar that didn't even have a name, merely being the remora on the south side of the club Neumo's (and apparently under the same ownership). En route, the word "Lounge" was lost. By way of Bad Juju'ing up the Space Formerly Known as the Other Bar at Neumo's, lurid blown-glass flames were installed along the top of the bar back, and a large chandelier (or two?) made out of beer bottles was installed overhead.
No one knows the reason for what happened next: The flames and the beer-bottle chandelier(s?) were removed, the space was lightly reconfigured, and there it was (Moe Bar) and wasn't (the Bad Juju). Moe Bar's salient features: mirrory wallpaper, an excellent happy hour, and a crowd that shifts shape depending on the show next door.
When the Bad Juju reappeared a few months ago in Belltown—where an oft-closed yet inexplicably long-lived Jamaican restaurant had been, between the estimable Lava Lounge and redoubtable Shorty's—it had lost the "Bad." The new Juju logo involves a skull and reads "FOUNDED 1999/SEATTLE." Inside, it's goth/New Orleans in only the most oblique way: four smallish crystal-teardrop chandeliers competing with two largish flat-screen televisions for airspace supremacy; artwork depicting an abstract bat, king, and heart; the return of the blown-glass flames; wallpaper arabesquing with a ghost-faint design. The photo booth by the bathroom is brand-new and called FACE PLACE ("Get the Picture!"); its exterior mirror, ostensibly for pre-picture primping, is at crotch level. Pizza from Via Tribunali is served. Atmosphere is communicated mainly by votive candle. If the woman at work who wears mostly black invited you over to the condo she shares with her investment-banker husband, it would be like this: dark in a cosmetic way, with you wishing she had, say, a velvet-lined case of human teeth mounted on the wall.
The new Juju's back deck, however, is tenementy and perfect, with weird grates, chicken-wire enclosures, vents of uncertain purpose, and a partially obstructed view of the dog/crack park on the other side of the alley. The stairs you can't get to—"NO TRESPASSING" in a scary hand-lettered font—are the best thing about the place.
Juju, 2224 Second Ave, 728-4053.