Hoboken’s a pretty small town that’s getting denser and denser. That means there’s only two ways to go in order to accommodate all the folks priced out of New York who want to live a PATH ride away from the city: Build up, or build out. Zoning can sometimes make building up a little bit of a challenge, and the closer you are the center of the city the harder it is to find someplace to develop.
That leaves the edges of the city, especially the Northwest area near the Viaduct. This area is still a little rough, still sports its share of empty lots, environmental reclamation projects, and old warehouses, but it’s also been slowly coming up in the world, with the most recent sign of its rise the new Anthony Pino restaurant on 15th and Willow, Porter Collins (we covered the launch of the new spot a few months ago). The food, of course, is fantastic (though certainly not cheap), but the secret weapon at Porter Collins is that it’s a great place to grab a drink.
The Scotch Cart for The Win
Admittedly, the area around Porter Collins isn’t so beautiful at the moment. There’s construction to one side, abandoned lots and empty storefronts across the street, and traffic right outside. But the space itself is lovely, and on a quieter summer evening when they have the front doors all the way open, it’s a delightful place to have a cocktail, whether it’s a prelude to a meal there or just a stop on your way to something else.
It’s also a great spot to stop in for a drink after a movie or dinner somewhere else. The space has been designed in a very smart way, with a large gathering area around the main bar when you first walk in, and separate dining areas and a second bar to the side. That means that it doesn’t feel terribly crowded, even if the place is humming at capacity.
Aside from the adult, sophisticated ambiance, the draw is the bartending. There are plenty of other places to get a real cocktail, plenty of places with good-to-great wine lists, even places where you can get a decent dram of whiskey. Porter Collins offers all of that along with skilled bartenders who can not only make whatever you need, but answer your questions. And they have the Scotch Cart (which holds more than Scotch). Want to hear about the whiskies they offer? They will literally wheel the cart over to you, explain their selections, and answer any questions you have—then mix your drink right there for you. If you ever want to feel, you know, grown up and stuff, this is one way to do it.
There are plenty of places to grab a drink in Hoboken. Porter Collins is making a case for itself as a casual-sophisticated spot for grown ups. There’s live music on a regular basis, great food, and spot-on bar procedures. You can’t ask for anything more.