When you think of a “typical” Hoboken bar, you probably think of 1-Republik, even if you’ve never been there. The beers on draft (about 60), the televisions (about 40), the sheer size of the place and the crowds that gather there—it’s pretty much the blueprint for a downtown Hoboken bar experience.
Here’s the thing about 1-Republik: It’s a bar of many colors. Sure, head there on a Saturday night and you’ll encounter fierce crowds, a lot of noise, bouncers with just a hint of attitude, and loud music (plus all the other requirements of an evening spent drinking in Hoboken, including but not limited to crying women, fistfights, guys in skintight T-shirts, and folks who think drinking shots is socially acceptable). But show up on Sunday morning and you’ll find a pretty great brunch. Show up on a weekday afternoon and you’ll find a great place for a beer and some lunch. In short, 1-Republik looks and sounds like a loud Hoboken bar, but it’s a stealth eatery, with surprisingly great service, and if you pick your moments a great place to have a quiet drink—if that’s your thing. Want the noise and crowds? Then of course this is also your place.
First of all, 1-Republik’s not kidding around when it comes to the primary reason bars exist: The booze. I can’t say it has a remarkable liquor list, but it has a perfectly solid liquor list. The wine list is good not great. But they more than make up for it with a lot of draft beer. I mean, a lot of draft beer. If you love draft beer, this place should be on your list. Plus, the island bar is huge, or at least it appears to be when the place isn’t completely packed. Come by on a quiet afternoon and have a few pints and you won’t be disappointed.
One thing that has always set 1-Republik apart for me is the service. The staff is friendly and well-trained, and always does their job well. Even when the place is totally packed, you can rely on the staff to make sure you get what you want and feel taken care of.
Here’s the thing: 1-Republik officially describes itself as a sports bar—but also a gastropub. And that’s earned. The menu is, in a word, huge. Surprisingly comprehensive, and I’ve never had a bad meal there. Or a bad snack. Any place you can get tater tots is aces in my book. The Philly cheese steak sliders are great too—but you can also get some real dinner here, including most of your pub grub favorites like a pork chop, or one of my favorites, the Shepherd’s Pie.
What it boils down to is this: 1-Republik is the sort of place you can show up at for lunch with a book, have a few beers, then have some friends stop by for cocktails, have a great dinner, then watch the game with a nightcap—it’s an all-day sort of place. Maybe drinking all day isn’t always the best option, but sometimes it’s the only option, and when that day comes go to 1-Republik, order up some snacks and brews, and settle in. They’ll take care of you.