Hoboken’s known for its bar scene. Love it or hate it, the bars and the crowds they attract, the energy they imbue the city with and the revenues they bring in are a core part of Hoboken. But Hoboken’s bars are far from a homogeneous bloc, all alike. Every bar in Hoboken has its own personality and atmosphere—and your choice of where to grab a drink tonight also depends on what your goals are. Some bars are great for certain things but not for others, after all, and knowing what your goals for the evening are is the best way to choose where to go. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common goals we all have for our evening forays, and the best bars in Hoboken for …
… The Big Game
Black Bear Bar & Grill. There are bigger places with more TVs, maybe, and there are better menus. But the Black Bear has the perfect balance between size and atmosphere. Where some of the other large sports bars are almost unbelievably uncomfortable when they get packed, the Black Bear manages to remains a fun place to be even when it’s filled to the rafters, and the service is top-notch.
First, what’s your nightlife temperature? If you’re looking for a nightclub, where you get a bit dressy, overpay for cocktails, and have a pro DJ spinning great music all night while a light show dazzles, head over to Birch. With space and resources dedicated to dancing and hospitality, it’s a great spot for a dance-centric kind of evening.
If you’re looking for more of a bar-you-can-dance at vibe, we’d suggest Tally Ho. It’s a great bar, there’s usually dancing (and room for it) so you really can’t go wrong.
… Date Night
A bar is a nice, casual date night choice—not formal enough to warrant changing clothes, the sort of thing you can meet up at after work and just relax into. If that’s your date night vibe, O’Nieal’s is the place. It’s got a great lived-in charm, it’s unpretentious and comfortable, and has a solid bar with a surprisingly great wine list. Plus the food is great and not terribly expensive, and being next to Church Square Park is nice. The end result is a low-key place for people to get to know each other—or reconnect.
Cork City. While The Shepherd and the Knucklehead is a close second, Cork City’s obsessive focus on beer and plenty of it gets them the nod. It’s a simple place, really, once you get past the intimidatingly large selection. Put simply, if you’re into beer, this is your destination in town. Just keep in mind they have no kitchen, so go grab a bite elsewhere before putting on a beer-drinking clinic.
Bin 14. With an ever-changing wine list and knowledgeable bartenders that are always happy to help, Bin 14 is probably the best place to indulge in some wine exploration, and also a place where you can be almost 100% certain of finding a wine to match your very specific palate.
The Stingray Lounge. One of the few spots in town that has a specific focus on cocktails, the folks at the Stingray Lounge sure know how to mix ‛em up. It’s also got a mature, adult vibe to it that pairs nicely with an evening that isn’t about getting drunk fast, but rather about conversation, appreciating mixology, and taking your time.
… A Quiet Chat
The Hoboken Turtle Club. With the caveat that every bar in Hoboken is going to get crowded and loud at some point just about any given evening, The Turtle Club has a great laid-back and quiet atmosphere that encourages conversation. Does it get loud? Sure, you won’t be having any heart-to-hearts on Saturday night after, say, 8pm. But on a lazy afternoon? It’s the ideal spot to sit down with a drink and some friends and hash it out.
… Meeting People
Cooper’s Union. Relaxed, casual, and fun, Cooper’s Union offers a great selection at the bar, good food, and plenty of casual activities. It also usually boasts an eclectic mix of people who are friendly and interesting, making it a no-pressure spot for meeting new people without having to shout until you’re hoarse.
What bars are your go-tos for whatever? Let us know where you go when you have a specific goal in mind!