I’m a guy who probably spends a bit too much time in liquor stores; where some people view a liquor store as a utilitarian place you can pick up the occasional bottle of wine or six pack of beer, liquors stores are essential places for folks like me. I’m a whiskey guy, so my litmus test for a new liquor store usually involves walking directly to the brown stuff and taking it all in; I like to see a mix of the familiar and boring, personal favorites, stuff I’ve heard of but never tried, and crazy stuff I’ve never heard of. Too much of any category and a sense of foreboding settles on me.
I recently had the opportunity to apply this test to Hoboken’s newest liquor store, Wine Dad’s, located at 1330 Willow Avenue in the Harlow, right next to Trader Joe’s. And I’m happy to report it passed with flying colors—and then some.
The store only “soft opened” last week, so they’re still in the process of filling the shelves and identifying local brewers and distilleries and the like—but what I saw just a week into their soft opening was pretty impressive. They’ve already got a pretty huge selection of spirits, beers both local and crafty and mainstream, wine, and assorted mixers and other stuff. The store is efficiently laid out, using the space to offer as much selection as possible.
Owner Jeff Carroll popped out to say hello; a Hoboken resident, he saw the opportunity at this location next door to the Trader Joe’s because he used to work there. “Before I got into the wine business, I wore a Hawaiian shirt at Trader Joe’s. So when I saw this space, I knew it was a great chance.”
Wine Dad’s intends to offer the major brands and local favorites, but it’s Jeff’s knowledge and experience they hope makes the difference, writing on their website “We use our philosophy of ‛Dad just knows’ to highlight deeper selections: small producers; interesting varieties and regions; well-made wines, beer & spirits that go above & beyond the ordinary; the world-class producers that set the benchmarks. Our philosophy is to leave the jargon and the meaningless number ‛scores’ to others.”
Aside from that deep knowledge and the convenience of the location (and the great range of wines, beers, and spirits), Wine Dad’s intends to be the perfect spot for last minute purchases, offering a fast chilling machine that can chill down a bottle in 5-7 minutes—you don’t even necessarily have to buy the bottle there, just stop in and give it a whirl.
Wine Dad’s is having their official opening this weekend, from Friday June 1st through Sunday June 3rd. They plan to offer tastings and other fun events. If you need a few cold ones or a bottle of some cheer for yourself, or if you just need a new spot to get your alcohol, stop on by and check it out. You can call them at 201-683-7700 for more information.
All I know is that one week into their soft open, Wine Dad’s had more on their shelves than some local liquor stores, and had more interesting stuff than some as well. I have a feeling this might become my new go-to spot for local brews and my favorite whiskey.