Where to Drink Right Now: 10th & Willow

Aug 3, 2015 12:00 AM

For those of us who have lived in Hoboken for a while, 935 Willow Avenue has seen a lot of chapters. For a while it was a sports bar with couches in the back and free wings every Sunday. Then it was a nightclub-style place with long lines of people outside every night. The ownership hasn’t changed, but for a while they seemed to be experimenting with different approaches.

The most recent incarnation, called simply 10th & Willow Bar and Grill, has been pretty steady for a few years now. It’s a familiar approach to a bar and restaurant: Spacious bar with some seating up front, a more intimate and formal dining room in the back (and a second bar). During the day it’s bright and boisterous, at night it gets candlelit and intimate for dinner and then becomes a humming nightspot for the locals. Overall, 10th & Willow has become a great place a few blocks away from Washington Street craziness to grab a drink and a bite to eat.

Friendly Day Drinking

10th & Willow has become one of my favorite places to grab a drink on a Sunday afternoon. The front bar is bright and cheerful, the bartenders and staff are always friendly (but not too friendly) and attentive, and they have a good if not inspired range of draft beers (and, of course, a fully-stocked bar for those of us who take our Day Drinking a little more seriously). It’s never too crowded or too loud, but it’s also never abandoned and empty.

Great for Dinner

At the same time I love to go to 10th & Willow for dinner from time to time; while the front bar can be a bit crowded and loud, you can always head back to the secondary bar, which is usually open at night, or grab a table. The back bar is small and sometimes they’ll have to send to the front to get something for you, but it’s a quieter spot to have a drink and chat, and you can always order food at either bar.

And the menu is actually quite good. The Buffalo Calamari is a favorite, and the pizzas are really good. The bar snacks are great, but you might be surprised that the entrées are great as well. Basically, what I love about 10th & Willow is that it’s a place where you can go for a beer and a snack and if you decide you’re ready for dinner, you can just transition and have a great meal.

I hope 10th & Willow keeps this pattern for a while. The old couches were fun, but I much prefer the ambiance that it has now, and for the moment it’s one of my favorite places to drink right now.

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