The Shannon Hoboken

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April 11, 2012

The Great Outdoors: 10 Tips to Eating/Drinking Outside from Hoboken’s Drunken Polar Bear

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!)

  1. Pick the Place – the first, and most obvious step, is picking where you’re going to enjoy the outdoors.  I thought about making a list, but with bars/restaurants changing their outdoor layout year to year it’s always changing.  Regardless, I estimate there are over 75 places to sit outside.
  2. Time It Right – Bin 14 has 90 minute wait for outside seating at 8pm on a Saturday night?  Shocking!  Many other Hobokenites like you will be flocking to locales with outdoor seating for happy hour and weekend dinners.  Get there early and have a few cocktails first to guarantee a good seat.
  3. Have a Back Up Plan – especially on those nice days there are going to be some long waits on good outdoor seating.  If your plan is to enjoy the outdoors, pick a backup bar nearby in case the wait is too long.
  4. Rooftop Ruckus – there are only two rooftop bars/restaurants in Hoboken (City Bistro & Dubliner) and they are always crowded.  While City Bistro is just a deck with no tables, I have found a great time to sneak up to the Dubliner roof is early evening (5-7pm) where you can probably grab a table.
  5. On the Waterfront – just like the rooftops there are just a few options for waterfront seating on Sinatra drive.  Plan ahead and make a reservation.  And cross your fingers.
  6. Dress the Part – if you’re walking around town your blood is flowing and you’re going to get warm, but when you’re sitting outside eating and drinking it’s going to be cold and a little windy.  Bring an extra coat, sweater, sweatshirt, shawl, etc.  Sunglasses are also a must.
  7. Find a Good Special – tons of bars and restaurants have great happy hour and daytime specials.  Nothing beats enjoying the afternoon outside with a bucket of cold beers or sangria pitchers.
  8. Crammed Quarters – in an ideal world there would be big couches and plush chairs we can sit on outside, but most outdoor seating in a little tighter than normal.  Don’t bring too much with you (bags and stuff) and be flexible about moving around a little bit.
  9. Thar’ She Blows – shocking to nobody in Hoboken, it gets windy from time to time.  Napkins, food, glasses, silverware all gets whisked away from time to time.  Make sure to be ready for the winds.
  10. People Watching – one of my and many outdoor enthusiast’s favorite urban sports.  Besides enjoying the weather and fine food/drink, the best part of sitting outside is taking in all the foot traffic.  Have fun with it!

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

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