Rolo’s in Ridgewood has opened its 12-seat bar for the first time after pivoting during the pandemic and using that space as a market.
Rolo’s, located at 853 Onderdonk Ave., opened in January of this year. The partner and beverage director at Rolo’s, Ben Howell, said like many other businesses during the pandemic, they had to reimagine how they could use their space to make a profit.
“Like so many other restaurants, we pivoted to survive, and, in the process, temporarily turned the bar into a market where we could sell prepared foods, provisions and drinks,” Howell said.
Howell said the pandemic hit the Rolo’s team hard as it did with every business in the hospitality industry, but they feel lucky to have made it through.
“We have suffered through the same struggles — a very small labor pool, seating limitations, ever-changing regulations and a very rainy summer,” Howell said. “Overall, we have been extremely lucky. Our staff is excellent, our customers are amazing, and our community has generally been hugely accepting. We’re finally starting to feel like the neighborhood bar and grill that we set out to be!”
As COVID-19 restrictions in the city relaxed, Rolo’s returned to indoor dining and is now making use of the bar as originally planned. The bar area features high-top tables and red leather banquette seating.
Howell and the head bartender, Tony Milici, crafted their own versions of classic cocktails with a focus on martinis and tiki drinks.
The cocktail menu includes the following:
- The Martini Italian: Made with Amalfi lemon gin, bordiga extra dry and blanc vermouths, and Aperol
- The Zombie: Made with house-made rum blend, cinnamon, grapefruit and lime juice, grenadine and absinthe
- The Spicy Pineapple Margarita: Made with chili-infused Blanco tequila, pineapple, lime juice, agave and salt rim
- The Blood Orange Cobbler: Made with amontillado and manzanilla sherry, Amara Rossa di Sicilia, blood orange and lemon juice
- The Rum Punch: Changes every week, featuring a house rum blend with rotating juices and flavor (off-menu)
Rolo’s bar is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 5 p.m. to midnight, with a happy hour offered until 7 p.m. Happy hour includes house white and red wine for $7, mini martini and rum punch for $7 and a shot and beer for $8.
Dinner is offered both outdoors and indoors on Wednesday through Sunday, from 5 to 10 p.m., and brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.