Interview: Garrett Hu & Peter Lee on New Venture JOBU

By Cristina Ng, July 2, 2019

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Between the two of them, Peter Lee and Garrett Hu have been part of several Shanghai bars and restaurants, covering everything from cocktails to dim sum. Now the two have paired up to convert Lee’s wine bar, Favorita, into a laid-back venue called JOBU. We sat down with them to find out more.

How did the two of you meet each other?
GH: We basically met through mutual friends that live in this neighborhood, which was the starting point for this bar. They all knew Peter because Favorita was on their regular rotation of local bars and restaurants. So it’s the two of us with some additional partners, which brings diverse circles into the bar.  

What circles have been intersecting so far?
GH: The crowd has been fairly international, and we have a lot of activities that draw in people based on interests. We showed Game of Thrones on Mondays. We have darts on Tuesdays and game nights on Thursdays. So you get a couple of groups playing with their friends then interacting with other people. 

PL: We are also hosting Shanghai Mamas coffee mornings [the bar actually opens at 8am] every Thursday. One week we also hosted them for a Wednesday happy hour, and I was so impressed that some of the same people at happy hour came back the next morning for coffee.

Taiwanese braised snacks platter (or luwei pinpan) goes well with boozy drinks. Image by Cristina Ng/That's 

Is being a family-friendly bar the goal?
GH: If you go into our bathroom, you’ll notice the baby changing station. That’s because we want to host neighborhood events where groups come in, and their kids can play safely while their parents have a couple of glasses of wine. We have sidewalk chalk and a bubble machine for parties. I even learned how to make a balloon dog. 

PL: It was actually pretty good! Lots of people associated with the bar, including myself, have young kids. We wanted to address the struggle of finding a place that you can go with your kid during the day. We are all aligned in the same life stage, except Garret. 

Doesn’t Garrett have a dog?
GH: Yeah, I’m a dog dad, so we are also pet-friendly. There are a lot of people that bring their pups here, and we can set up a playpen, so they don’t charge into the street.

“If a regular customer likes a bottle that we don’t have, we will get a bottle of it”

What about evening activities?
PL: We are separating the daytime and nighttime activities, so I wouldn’t say we welcome babies at 11pm. We just want to make the most out of our space. 

How did you decide on the alcohol selection? 
GH: We don’t want to overstock the bar and have started with a selection indicative of different regions and flavor profiles. We want to let it grow organically branching out from our personal preferences. We have a lot of gin, and I have been trying to push mescal in a Negroni or The Last Word, but if a regular customer likes a bottle that we don’t have, we will get a bottle of it.

The spicy fried chicken sandwich is available at lunch time as well. Image by Cristina Ng/That's  

Fish cake roll with cucumber and hummus. Image by Cristina Ng/That's  

What is the average price per cocktail?
PL: It’s between RMB65-75 because we want to encourage people to come often and stay for a long time. 

GH: Our ideal customer comes here after work for a drink or two and then goes home, but they do that several times a week. 

We have been hearing rumors that you have a pretty well-known chef on board? 
GH: Yes, Ling Huang [Pirata, Latin Woo] is designing our menu, and she will be involved in its execution. I told Ling to go nuts. The only requirement for what goes on the menu is that it pairs well with drinks.

PL: This is the first time that she’s created a menu that incorporates her background with Taiwan-style dishes. I think that’s pretty exciting. 

[Cover image courtesy by Simon Huang/That's]

See Listing for JOBU here.

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