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Music in a Post-Maxwell’s Hoboken

Whether you thought the new Maxwell’s Tavern was doing right by the legacy of the original, iconic club or was a pale shadow of what was once a legendary venue, the fact is Maxwell’s was a great place to have in Hoboken, and losing our only proper music club stinks. Hoboken’s not the same town that once easily supported a place like Maxwell’s, true enough, but now that Maxwell’s is gone it’s easy to see what a void the old place filled here.

We live just a PATH ride from New York and some of the best music venues in the world, of course, and a short drive or walk into Jersey City opens up some great options like White Eagle Hall, Montgomery Hall, or Moore’s Lounge, all of which host some amazing talent both well-known and otherwise. Nothing wrong with a jaunt into another town for a great show, of course—but that doesn’t really replace what Maxwell’s once offered. The fact is, there isn’t a replacement in Hoboken right now. But there’s still plenty of live music, if you know where to look.

But don’t give up hope entirely—there are a few spots that take their musical acts pretty seriously.

Live from Hoboken, NJ

First off, just about every single bar in Hoboken offers some form of live music. Mainly, this is in the form of open mics and solo performers tucked into a cramped corner of the dining room or bar area, but the one big positive here is that these artists are usually super, super local. These are the folks who live in your town and are trying to make a living—or maybe just a mark—with their music. Even spots like Bin 14 have gotten into the act—literally, you can walk into just about any bar that isn’t going for a nightclub vibe in Hoboken after 9PM on a weekend and find someone playing guitar for the room.

For music that has a bit more of an organized, booked-and-promoted feel, you’ve got a few other choices.

Northern Soul. The recently-relocated bar is on the very edge of Hoboken these days, but their commitment to music remains strong, and they book actual bands for actual gigs. It’s an intimate setting, but if you’ve enjoyed bands at Maxwell’s that can’t possibly deter you.

Willie McBride’s. You might be surprised to learn that McBride’s, the place that lures people in with free limo rides, has a pretty serious music calendar, featuring bands you might have heard of, like The Nerds.

House of ‛Que. It might seem surprising, but the House of ‛Que puts that huge space to good use. Aside from the regular dueling pianos event that happens there consistently, they also book local bands and performers on a regular basis, so it’s well worth keeping their events calendar in mind.

Wicked Wolf. This riverside pub has a lot of music events, though they concentrate heavily on cover bands. Nothing wrong with that, and if you’re looking for live music without having to sort through originals you’ve never heard before, this is going to be your favorite spot for a while.

As noted, though, there’s music everywhere in Hoboken if you look for it. Maxwell’s will be missed, but you don’t have to give up on local music just yet.

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Jeffrey Somers

Staff Writer • Jeff Somers (jeffreysomers.com) is the author of 9 novels including We Are Not Good People (wearenotgoodpeople.com) and the publisher of The Inner Swine (innerswine.com). Jeff may be reach at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter at @jeffreysomers .

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