By Talbert Toole
Draped with walls of midnight black and luminous globes of light, Saint Leo Lounge opened Thursday night to a robust crowd of LOU community members.
The cocktail lounge—located on the west side of the Square—is the second Oxford establishment of owner Emily Blount. After spending time in New York City, Blount planted her roots in Oxford where she opened Saint Leo in 2016. The restauranteur has already received accolades in the food business being dubbed a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2017, and as of this year, a semifinalist for the “Outstanding Bar Program.” In addition, she is also a 2018 fellow of the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.
Now with a new project on her hands, it can be said Blount has made a name for herself in this small, southern town.
The lounge serves as a gathering spot for cocktails, small plates and dessert. From their classic cocktails to original spirits, it is definitely a spot that will blossom into an Oxford staple.
Keeping an Italian themed menu, the lounge serves a variety of small plates that include arancini balls and charcuterie. Patrons of the new establishment can enjoy a classic cocktail like “The Last Word,” or if you are more adventurous, HottyToddy recommends the “Hot Off The Presses”—jalapeno-infused Blanco tequila, triple sec, bell pepper and lime.
Doors opened at 4 p.m. and the lounge was filled from wall to wall with new customers by 6:30 p.m. Blount said the night had been going exceptionally well.
“I’m happy to see a lot of familiar faces and unfamiliar faces,” she said.
Blount recommends customers to the “Mind Your P’s and Q’s” cocktail—olive oil rinsed gin, juniper-infused dry vermouth.
Whether you are a fan of Italian food or simply looking for a new venue to relax after work, Saint Leo Lounge is certain to be a crowd pleaser to the entire LOU community.