Who owns this joint?
JT’s Social Bar is a partnership between JJ Turk & Thomas Carrigan. But none of it would be possible without the backing of Donna “Mama T” Turk and the whole Turk family. Those that know her understand the kind of person she is…
As far as the name, we wanted to name it after JJ, Big John Turk and Thomas.
Tell us about how the JT’s came to be. What’s your schtick and what’s the inspiration that started the wheels turning?
Thomas Carrigan ran the Sapphire Lounge, located in heart of Siam Orchid Cocoa Beach, for six-plus years, though working at Siam for a total of eight and a half years. The lounge is located near the pool which often misled hotel guests into assuming he and the establishment were part of the hotel. Thomas, aware of this, was further inspired to provide excellent customer service to both the hotel guests and local visitors, alike. He partnered in hosting dozens of parties with JJ Turk (proprietor of the hotel) ensuring every single one was always home run. Being so familiar with the property, it made sense to create a partnership together, thus making “Timeout Sports Bar” a no-brainer.
As far as a “schtick”, we strive to be a lively, engaging environment that caters to both the hotel guests and the locals. Our pricing is super competitive. We’ve built a great staff and we crafted a bar that’s pretty damn cool to drink at.
What are some of the unique features of your newly renovated creation?
We remodeled just about every inch of the bar. From the flooring to the ultra-comfortable bar chairs to the 34 brand new 4K flat screen TVs; we wanted to give the bar that “WOW” factor. We also wanted our guests to have access to some coastal, fresh air. The outdoor patio is absolutely gorgeous! The wood paneling, with the custom made benches and over 60 feet of bar rails, is incredibly inviting for the guests. We live in Florida and people like to drink outside. It made sense to maximize our outdoor space. All of the custom stained and epoxy work is a really unique feature here in Cocoa Beach.
What are some of the fun amenities guests can expect to find here?
When you walk in, you’ll notice right away the custom built metal fabricated sign up the stairs. We rebuilt a custom polish epoxy bar top. We did little things like add stainless steel cup holders in the men’s bathroom. The back room was redesigned for custom, private parties. Our outside patio really provided a WOW factor with an unbelievable art job by artist Kole Trent. The wood work that we did is next-level! We’ve also got some of the coldest beers in Cocoa Beach, and come football season, you won’t find a better spot to watch the games!
Because we are in the heart of Cocoa Beach, we’ve installed a 11-person bike rack that can cater to the Cocoa Isles community and surrounding neighborhoods. For anybody looking to come into one of the cleanest, ice-cold AC’d, well-built bars in Cocoa Beach then JT’s is it!
Aside from a convenient hotel rental (should patrons find the need for a bed and extended stay) and a dope new location, tell us about some of the sweet eats and cool cocktails your customers will enjoy?
I’ll be the first to say that our wings are some of the best in town. Wings rule the land and we hit a home run with them. We’re also very proud of our flatbread pizzas. Topped with just the right amount of mozzarella cheese, and baked to a nice, golden crisp, our flatbreads have proven to be a big hit too. If you’re feeling dangerous, give the Buffalo Chicken Flatbread a try, it’s absolutely to die for.
The beauty of our drinks is we tried to pay homage to both historical and local luminaries that are directly tied into JT’s. We have a drink named after JJ’s father, The Big John; we wouldn’t be here without him. We also have a drink named after one of the best human beings you’ll ever meet, Kentucky Mike Radulovich. The Kentucky Mike is a Jack & Coke with a generous pour of Jack. We also have a drink named after the Mercury 7, the astronauts that built this hotel in the 60s. Our martinis are very popular here. Nothing like a crisp Cosmopolitan with freshly squeezed lime juice.
How do you expect JT’s Social Bar to integrate with Cocoa Beach’s lifestyle?
There’s a three decade built in audience with JT’s Social Bar. You wouldn’t find a busier bar in Cocoa Beach during that span. This bar has always been a go-to spot with both the locals and hotel guests. Our biggest goal is to provide 5-star service without charging 5-star pricing. And since we’ve opened up, the locals have come back by the droves. People are always looking for a cool place to hang out. With our pool tables, our huge TV collection, upgraded seating, padded chairs and tables, and expansive patio – they’ve found it.
Describe some of the challenges you’ve faced in rehabilitating this well-loved space?
We wanted to come up with a concept that was both fresh and timeless at the same time. When JJ came up with the flooring and then beadboard design for the bar, that’s where it really started to come together. We now had a foundation to build on. Before that, it was really trying to come up with a design theme that locals and tourists really appreciated.
We, the locals, promise not to keep this spot a secret. How would you suggest we tell visitors about this fine establishment?
We wanted to build an establishment that provides tremendous value to visitors. Consistency is key. When you walk through these doors, you’re going to be greeted with a smile and we will do everything we can to provide our guests with a good time. With football season around the corner, we want this to be the go-to spot to watch all the games. From college to the NFL, we will have it all.
We know JJ has his hands in the powerboat racing industry, tell us about it.
JT’s Social Bar is a big part of the sports scene in Cocoa Beach. Owner, JJ Turk, has had Cocoa Beach’s only offshore powerboat race team for five years now. The “No Vacancy” boat powered by JT’s Social Bar captured 1st Place in the Class 5 race in Thunder on Cocoa Beach in May, and recently captured 1st Place in the 35th Annual Sarasota Grand Prix race in July. It’s exciting to be able to tie in our bar with the offshore powerboat racing industry. Leading into the pool room is our Hall of Champions that showcased all of our colleagues and friends that have won World Championships. “No Vacancy” won a World Championship in Englewood, FL in 2017, so to be a part of that is an honor. It’s a huge tie-in to the Florida sports culture.
What does the future hold for JT’s?
It would be incredible if we were able to branch out. We all have to start somewhere and Cocoa Beach is where we are laying our roots down first. Maybe one day, you can grab a drink at JT’s in Tampa or Orlando or Miami. But for now, our biggest goal is to turn JT’s Social Bar into the best bar we can be here in Cocoa Beach.