It’s getting warmer and summer is right around the corner. We’ve slowly inched up the thermometer to shorts and hoodie weather (the best time of year). Living in Hoboken, warmer weather brings us beautiful tree-lined streets, waterfront walkways, plenty of parks and outdoor seating any many bars and restaurants. After many years in Hoboken, I’ve amassed some best practices to dinning and drinking outside in Hoboken. I’m sure I will miss a thing or two so please add to it in the comments below.
(Editorial note: unlike other local blogs, I promise not to launch into a low carb induced childish diatribe on why the city doesn’t let bars/restaurants open outdoor seating before April 1st. Normally, it’s very cold between Dec 1st and April 1st so it’s not worth the pixels. And it’s spring – be happy!)
In no way is this a comprehensive list, but here a few good places to sit outside by area:
- Uptown – City Bisto, Pilsener Haus, Bin 14, Liberty Bar, Madison
- Midtown – Elysian, Turtle Club, Mikie Squared, Stacks, East LA, Far Side, O’ Sullivans
- Downtown – Brass Rail, McSwiggans, 1 Republik, Texas Arizona, Marty O’Briens, Dubliner, 4L’s
- Waterfront – 340 Grill, Quays, Trinity, Wicked Wolf
Where’s your favorite bar/restaurant to each outside? Any other tips?
The Drunken Polar Bear
Address: 1314 Washington Street, Hoboken (near SW corner of 14th)
Vino, grape juice, classy time, Jesus juice – whatever you call wine, it’s no shock that it’s a popular spirit of choice for many Hobokenites. Now this may come as a surprise to you readers, but wine is not my first alcohol choice. Or second. Or fourth. I am a beer, scotch, whiskey and gin man. It may be a walking male stereotype, but I like it. However, impending adulthood, social situations and my girlfriend have dictated that I drink wine occasionally at dinner and fancy places. Even so, it was with some reluctance that I agreed to review Bin 14. Snowflake, my girlfriend, loves wine so much so that she is actually collecting corks for a cork board (witty huh?). So after some well placed suggestions I finally agreed to go.
Bin 14 is a popular place and we were going to eat, and we tried to get reservations in the 7:30ish range, but the only times we could get were 6 or 9:30. Hanging on to my youth at age 27, there was no way I was going in with the early bird crowd so we took the 9:30 reservation. We were just a few minutes late (misjudged the walking time), but got there and were seated right away. We were given the choice of seating, but chose the patio (5-6 tables) since it was a nice night.
Before sitting down I did a little tour of the interior of Bin 14. It’s not very large – 15 tables and a bar with 15ish stools – but it doesn’t feel cramped. Seating was mostly tables of 2 with a few larger ones for groups. In the wall behind the bar are racks and racks of wine bottles. Overall, the atmosphere and design of Bin 14 is very elegant and “lives up to expectations” as Snowflake told me. Even with a penchant for dive bars, I can say I was impressed with the look and feel for Bin 14.
Excellent Service and Wine Selection
With great trepidation I sat down and opened up the wine menu, which is quite robust and well organized. Upon asking our waiter I was told there were 80+ wines offered and 50+ came by the glass – certainly a large selection. Before ordering food, it was time for my first glass of wine. In what was a recurring theme of the evening, the service and staff is absolutely outstanding. Who I assumed to be the manager (wasn’t dressed like waiters) actually came out to take our first drink order and instead of rushing to get the order actually spoke with us for a couple of minutes about wine selections and made some great recommendations – a great change of pace from most restaurants/bars. In another impressing move our first glasses of wine were actually poured from the bottle in front of us to show us the label and ensure we were getting what was ordered.
Adventurous & Fun Menu
Having my wine nerves calmed somewhat I opened up the menu to find an adventurous selection of food. There are a lot of interesting combinations and dishes, but what I liked about the menu was that it wasn’t over priced and it offered a lot of smaller dishes you could pick on for a snack or order a bunch for a meal. We started with the sweet potato fries with chipotle and cinnamon, meatballs and beef tartare, truffles, parmesan and quail egg bruschetta (pictured). The fries had a fun taste to them and the meatballs had a perfect hint of garlic. I especially enjoyed the beef tartare bruschetta when Snowflake was not a fan of the egg on top, pushing it my way. We split a pizza with Prosciutto di Parma, fig, ricotta for dinner with a second round of wine.
Great Spot in Hoboken
Overall, Bin 14 was a great and relaxing experience. The food was adventurous, but very tasty. The wine selection is robust and you really get the feel of being in a wine cellar at Bin 14. Even with the fun menu, I would say the service at Bin 14 is its true highlight. Throughout our entire visit, we were treated politely, not rushed and the wait staff spent the time to talk to us and make appropriate wine recommendations. Bin 14 isn’t a typical bar down by the PATH since you need to be seating at a table or bar, but definitely worth checking out and indulging your pallet for a change or as a great date night spot.
You could pick the next bar to review! Post suggestions in the comment section below.
The Drunken Polar Bear.
Bring friends or come alone. It’s a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon while sipping wines and enjoying delicious foods while meeting fellow Hobokenites in town.
$35 per person plus tax & gratuity, which includes THREE wine pours plus a spread of appetizers included.
RSVP Required! Last time we filled to capacity and had a waiting list!
YOU MUST RSVP TO TIFFSHEN2@AOL.COM. Replying on Facebook will not guarantee you a spot at our tasting.
Come an experience a taste of BIN 14, located on Washington Street, between13th and 14th, closer to Madisons.
Don’t miss this one!
It’s the new year and you finally scored a date with the cutie you have been eyeing for months — now you just have to find a place to go.
Don’t worry, we got you covered. Pick up the phone right now and call this number for a reservation: (201) 963-WINE.
This is the direct line to Bin 14, Hoboken’s first and only wine bar located on the upper end of Washington Street near 14th. Under the guidance of Chef-Owner Anthony Pino — also chef and owner of The Dining Room at Anthony David’s — this little place sets the bar high with its savory menu and, as expected, an extensive wine list. When we asked the bartender what was good, she looked us dead in the eye and said, “Everything.” And we believed her.
The menu is tapas style so you can order as little or as much as you like and all is perfect for sharing with your date, giving you the opportunity to get close. Various cheeses, cured meats, and salads make for great starters, but do not leave without trying a few of the different types of bruschetta, each served on a small slice of toasted Italian bread. Note: The wild mushroom, pecorino and truffle is phenomenal.
Also offered on the menu are sharing plates with petite portions. Some of the standouts are the fried risotto with fontina served with salsa verde and the grilled octopus, andouille, cannellini, and cauliflower. Pizzas are personal-sized, order the traditional margherita style or get creative with lobster complemented with garlic, spinach, and mascarpone cheese.
Mezza entrees, or half portions, include grilled hanger steak with chili fries, pan-roasted Chilean sea bass with creamy polenta and romesco, and potato gnocchi with oxtail ragout and red onion gastrique. Nightly specials are also available.
The wine list features more than 100 wines, but is easy to navigate with headings such as: Light and Crisp White, White Rich and Full, Red Light and Fruity, and Red Rich and Structured. And with 2-ounce pours, it is easy to try as many as you like. Once you find the right match for your palette, opt for a 6-ounce pour or a bottle.
The interior has the feel of being in your own private wine vault. One side of the narrow room has wine bottles as high as the ceiling. Wooden tables with crisp place settings are neatly aligned against an exposed brick wall on the opposing side. An added bonus is the staff, which is cheerful, friendly and accommodating.
Seatings are available on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9:30 p.m., with a late night menu available until 1:30 a.m. The rest of the week is not restricted to seatings, but reservations are strongly recommended. The kitchen closes at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with a late night menu available from 10 to 11 p.m. The wine bar is also open for lunch during week and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Wine enthusiasts are welcome to try for a seat at the bar on any night, but good luck, with this food-and-wine pairing, you may also find yourself on the waiting list.
1314 Washington Street
(201) 963-WINE (9463)