The Clinton Social sprang up on the corner of 7th Street and Clinton Avenue back in 2006, offering a beautifully designed bar and dining area, a great menu, and a deep wine list. For a while it was a fantastic spot for a bite to eat and a few drinks, but the restaurant business is rough. Even if you maintain a very high level of quality and service it’s difficult to keep things going, and The Clinton Social started to look a little winded by the fast pace of Hoboken nightlife.
So, in 2016 when they announced they were shutting down for a few months to renovate and re-invent in a partnership with the team from Jack’s Cabin on Paterson Avenue, it was a surprise, but a welcome one. Jack’s Cabin, after all, had taken one of the most unusual and, frankly, oddball locations in town and turned it into a thriving, comfortable bar. Considering the advantages that the Clinton Social had in terms of location and ambiance, great things were expected.
The Neighborhood Bar
And exceeded. The renovation wasn’t crazy; there’s definitely a new look to the place, but it’s not drastically different—more to bring the interior design into accordance with the Jack’s Cabin location, actually. It’s still the same big, open bar area when you walk in and the more intimate dining area in the back. The design is really comfortable and attractive, with plenty of space even when there’s a crowd.
The food’s good, too. Jack & Co. is an ideal place for having dinner and then effortlessly segueing into drinks; sometimes displacement in the middle of a night out is the kiss of death. You know how it happens: You arrive at a spot with some friends, get comfortable, eat a little dinner, and then you decide to get up and go somewhere else—but everything is crowded, you can’t find a comfortable spot, and the evening peters out in a series of awkward moments and endless walking. Jack & Co. is a place to go when you don’t want to do that—you want to nest a little, build up a little cocktail kingdom where you and yours form an island and stay there.
I love the drinks menu at Jack & Co. It’s not pretentious or overreaching, but it’s solid, starting off with creative cocktails but offering up a good list of draft and bottle beers, whiskeys and other liquors, and a short wine list that’s good for folks who just want a glass or bottle with dinner (if you’re a wine person, you’re better off elsewhere).
They also have a focus on craft and local beers, including the excellent 902 Black IPA, which is crafted by local the heroes at 902 Brewing. Their Black IPA is one of those rare IPAs that doesn’t kick you in the face with its bitter flavor, keeping it lingering in the background the way it should be. IPAs have become sort of like hot wings—there are people who insist the only real way to enjoy them is to crank up the intensity to horrific levels. Just like I don’t want my face to melt when I eat a chicken wing, I don’t want my whole face to pucker up into a black hole of bitterness when I sip an IPA, and 902 gets that.
In short, Jack & Co. is one of the most comfortable places to have a drink in Hoboken. Set back from the noise and bustle of Washington Street, it’s a beautiful, big space with an equal focus on food and drink. You may not have the wildest time ever here, but you’ll walk out refreshed in spirit and body after a night of local brews and conversation. If you haven’t been to 7th and Clinton since the Clinton Social shut down, check it out.