At Saint Leo Lounge, you’ll be able to order Aperol Spritz Pops, specialty cocktails, and small bites like arancini and grilled hot wings.

By Bridget Hallinan
Updated March 26, 2019
Credit: Photo by Erin Austen Abbott.

The beloved Oxford, Mississippi Italian restaurant, Saint Leo, is about to open a cocktail bar a few doors down the street. Called Saint Leo Lounge, the new venue debuts this Thursday, March 28, and it’s the second concept from owner Emily Blount, a 2018 fellow of the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. Since its opening, Saint Leo has received many high-profile accolades, including being named a JBF semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2017 and most recently, semifinalist for the “Outstanding Bar Program”—so the the decision to open a cocktail lounge seems like a solid choice.

Joe Stinchcomb will serve as the bar director, while chef Dan Latham collaborated with Blount on the food menu—both are members of the original Saint Leo’s team. The lounge will offer “artisanal cocktails and elevated bar bites," per a release, on the historic Oxford Square. In addition to classic cocktails, guests will be able to order five specialty cocktails (two of which will be on tap), plus beer and wine. There’s also going to be boozy popsicles—think Prosecco Pops (a Saint Leo signature) and Aperol Spritz Pops—as well as a “rotating house punch” by Stinchcomb. Food-wise, expect shareable dishes and appetizers like charcuterie party platters, grilled hot wings, and mozzarella- and pesto-stuffed arancini—plus, a pistachio ice cream sundae to finish it all. If you can gather up a large party, you'll also get bar cart bottle service.

The space itself is 4,000 square feet, and centered around a hexagonal bar—up to 170 guests total can be seated. The lounge is also available for private events, and there’s an “illuminated dance floor with over 15 disco balls,” in case you feel like letting loose.

While there’s still two days until Saint Leo Lounge opens its doors, make sure you check out the original restaurant in the meantime—roasted mushroom and gremolata pizza with a Prosecco pop, anyone?