No matter where you go, there are always people who want to over-complicate things. For such people, going out for a few beers with some friends can’t be as simple as going out for a few beers with friends—there has to be a crowd, there has to food options, there has to be a gimmick to get them in the door.
In a fascinating contrast, 92 River Street—under new ownership and completely renovated—offers both ends of that spectrum. On the one hand, you have Birch, which we haven’t been to yet but which is getting a lot of heat for their “spiked” milkshakes (and those milkshakes do in fact look pretty incredible, so believe us, it’s on the HoLi Must Do List). On the other hand, right next door is a refreshingly simple, back-to-basics bar: Mike’s Wild Moose Saloon.
This small bar keeps things simple without being too basic. There’s a comfortable, down-home vibe. There’s a big, welcoming bar. There’s a lot of country music in the air, and a lot of beer on tap behind the bar, the people are friendly, and there’s absolutely no hoops to jump through. Come in, say hello, order a beer. Even the bar stools are wonderfully old-school and unpretentious.
Did we say Country? We did. The bar bills itself as “Hoboken’s only tried and true country venue,” although Maxwell’s and House of ‘Que have both dipped their toes into the Country music scene here in town. Mike’s Wild Moose Saloon doubles down on the Country vibe with the decor of the place, designed to look like an old-school roadhouse, and even brings in a Country DJ every week.
On week nights it might be possible to get some line dancing going in this place, which is intimate in scale (meaning, it’s kind of a small bar, but it totally works). On the weekends, forget it, because Mike’s Wild Moose is already gaining a reputation as kind of a crazy place—kind of a “do shots and take dares” kind of place. One glance at its Instagram feed and you’ll see crowds of folks jammed in there, bartenders pouring shots into each other’s mouths, and the sort of raucous vibe people come to Hoboken’s bar scene to find.
In short, without a food menu, a gimmick (unless you consider a classic Country look and sound to be a gimmick), or any other fake lure, Mike’s Wild Moose Saloon is a great place to drink. It sticks to the core mission of a bar: It offers a friendly, comfortable place to listen to some tunes, have a few beers or cocktails, and enjoy time with your friends. It’s that simple, which in these times of bars that try way too hard, is pretty great.