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Where to Drink Right Now: Dino & Harry’s

All class.
All class.

If you’re a long-time Hoboken resident, you probably still mistakenly refer to Dino & Harry’s steakhouse on 14th Street as Frankie & Johnnies, the name it operated under until 2006. The gorgeous corner restaurant still gleams like a Victorian jewel at night, filled with light and people and laughter—and, of course, their delicious steaks.

You might not think of Dino & Harry’s as a place to drink—it’s the sort of place you go for a celebratory meal or a working dinner, not someplace to down a few glasses. Or is it? Fact: Dino & Harry’s has a huge, comfortable, gorgeous bar. Fact: They serve alcohol for grown-ups—no cheap domestic pints and Jäger shots. Fact: Sometimes you need to get away from the kids, the sports fan scrums, and the free chicken wings and drink like an adult.

When you’re ready to drink like an adult, you have a few great choices in this town. And Dino & Harry’s is among the best.

The bar area.
The bar area.

Drink Like a Grown Up

Every bar has its place. Sometimes you want to do some shots, drink some sloppy pints, and end your evening singing along to the jukebox. Sometimes you want to watch a game with a crowd and spill beer all over yourself every time you jump up in excitement. Sometimes you want to dance, or have a contemplative glass of wine, or drink vodka shots until all of your ideas seem brilliant.

Sometimes, though, you want to have a Scotch, or a cocktail, or a glass of wine. Sometimes you want piano music. Sometimes you want to have a reason to put on decent clothes and imbibe a little while speaking in a normal tone of voice. And when that time comes, you could do a lot worse than Dino & Harry’s, whose bar area is very cool.

Did we mention great service, too?
Did we mention great service, too?

First of all, it’s big and roomy. Even when there’s a crowd you’ll find plenty of space to hang out. It’s also a great room—between the old-school wood trim and the mirrors, the glittering lights and the rest of the decor, it’s a visually stimulating, comfortable vibe. Finally, it’s definitely an adult space. You don’t necessarily have to get dressed up in any sense, but you also won’t find a gang of dudebros in hoodies.

And, of course, cocktails, which sounds a lot more sophisticated than a bucket of beers, doesn’t it? They do have beer, of course, though I wouldn’t come to Dinos specifically for the suds. They have a good wine list that isn’t too overwhelming while providing a good range of palates, and their whiskey and liquor supply is similar—not the deepest in the world (or in Hoboken), but thoughtfully curated. Plus, the pours tend towards the deeper end, which is vitally important if you’re going to spend your evening damaging your liver.

The Ambiance

Dino & Harry’s has an old-school ambiance that sets it apart; the space was originally a longshoremans bar, after all. While there are other nice, upscale, adult places to have a drink in Hoboken, no other spot has Dino & Harry’s “old school cool” vibe. The word saloon comes to mind; even though you’re drinking a nice Scotch or glass of good red wine while listening to a piano playing softly over the buzz of conversation, you get the sense that fifty years ago a bunch of Hobokenites were doing more or less the same thing, right on the very tile floor you’re currently standing on.

Of course, be warned: With the delicious smell of steaks and seafood in the air, and watching folks tuck into their dinners at the bar and the surrounding tables, getting out of Dinos without ordering dinner is quite the feat of willpower.

dinos4

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Jeffrey Somers

Staff Writer • Jeff Somers (jeffreysomers.com) is the author of 9 novels including We Are Not Good People (wearenotgoodpeople.com) and the publisher of The Inner Swine (innerswine.com). Jeff may be reach at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter at @jeffreysomers .

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