I spent eight years in the City of Hoboken while attending law school and practicing law in New York City, and I went out after school or work just about every single night. Hoboken boasts an outstanding nightlife with a wide variety of restaurants and bars. If you live in Hoboken for eight years, you’ll have the opportunity to try them all. But if you’re only visiting Hoboken or just now moving to Hoboken, you’ll need someone to guide you through Hoboken’s best nightlife. And I’m here to do just that.
If you’re entering Hoboken by train, or by PATH from Manhattan, Jersey City or Newark, you’ll want to hit a bar as soon as you step out of the station. No problem. Some of Hoboken’s best nightlife is waiting just across the street. If it’s early in the day and between the months of May and September, grab a table at Texas-Arizona. Sitting outisde, sipping a beer or slugging down a scotch, you’ll have a great view of Manhattan and of the young girls and guys just getting home from work in the City. When the sun goes down, on weekends Texas-Arizona packs the house, drawing people in with a seemingly endless list of beers from around the world and a hip DJ or live music. You can also grab a bite to eat here, though I wouldn’t try to get too fancy. The burger’s fine but the steak’s not all that great. Or go with something Southwestern, which is sort of their theme. Of course, in Hoboken, nightlife involves bar hopping, so finish your drink and head back outside. The night’s only just begun.
If you step outside and to the left, you’ll run right into Hobson’s Choice. Grab a pint, or dare I say a Mind Eraser? But do not eat here. If you must, grab some wings or mozz sticks, but don’t go any fancier than that. The food’s not good at all. The electronic juke box plays some really good tunes and during the summer months, the walls open to the outside, making patrons feel alive. Stay here until it gets crowded, then head across the street. There’s plenty of Hoboken nightlife waiting for you.
Green Rock Tap and Grill does indeed have decent pub food. Everything on the menu is pretty damn good, and if you’re arriving after six, you’ll want to come back again for Happy Hour to take advantage of their great beer specials. Green Rock draws an attractive crowd, but the bar can get packed late at night, making it difficult to get a drink, which is the bar hopper’s worst nightmare (aside from getting arrested for public urination). If it’s packed, grab this guide to Hoboken nightlife and head next door.
If you like jazz and blues, then Scotland Yard is for you. Even if you don’t, this is the one bar in Hoboken where you’ll get that old-fashioned pub feel. Live music just about every night and an endless list of beers makes this a spot where you’ll find plenty of “regulars” and meet new friends. While the Yard often draws young people, if you’re older, this is one of the bars in Hoboken where you won’t feel out of place. If you just moved to Hoboken and don’t know anyone, stop at Scotland Yard and introduce yourself. Pretty soon, everyone will know your name.
Okay, let’s leave the PATH area and start heading uptown. First stop is McSwiggan’s. Be warned: This bar can suck. It’s really hit or miss and you’ll know as soon as you step inside. Have a drink even if the joint is empty. Your night can only get better from there. When the bar is jumping, make some selections at the juke box or ask the DJ to play your favorite tune.
Across from McSwiggans is Buskers. The food is great but pricey, and the bar fills up at night, making Buskers one of the few places in Hoboken where you can eat dinner and stay all night. Dress is a little less casual; the patrons are there to impress. You may find some pretentious yuppies or you might just have a good time. Depends largely on what you’re looking for. My favorite is the Mozzerella Balls.
Head up Bloomfield Street to Duffy’s. Duffy’s is my all-around favorite bar in Hoboken. The bartenders are so friendly and the pub boasts a great atmosphere. Play darts or watch a game. Or just belly up to the bar and drink your woes away. There’s no food served at Duffy’s, so grab a slice of pizza or two before you arrive. You might just stay until closing time.
If Duffy’s can’t contain you, head back to Washington Street and over to the Black Bear. If you haven’t eaten yet, get a table, because the food is really good. Check their schedule for Wings and Beer night. The specials alone are worth the trip. If there’s a line outside, however, skip the Black Bear, because inside it’ll take you twenty minutes just to get a drink. If you are there when it’s crowded and you want to stay, I recommend going double-fisted. This bar has two floors and refers to itself as a sports bar, but it’s really just a decent restaurant and pick-up joint. It can sometimes feel like a frat party, which may be just what you’re looking for. Or it may not. Be warned: The DJ can play some very annoying music, going from hip hop to Britney Spears to reggae to Justin Timberlake. If he’s doing that, I’d advise you to get the [bleep] out. And fast.
After leaving Black Bear, jump in a cab. Head uptown to 14th Street and our last set of bars. If you like Buskers, stop at The Madison. A little pretentious on some nights (“Take your hat off or you’re not coming in”), The Madison gets its fair share of good-looking people. Drinks and dinners are a bit pricey, but it’s a good place to bring a first date. The music’s good, but it can get too crowded to move.
Down the street is Liberty Bar. Liberty Bar is the best place in Hoboken to watch the big game. It’s also not a bad weekend spot, and the food is surprisingly pretty good. The music can be awful, but the large round bar in the center of the place provides optimum viewing pleasure.
Okay, now for my favorite places to avoid. At the top of the list of Hoboken’s worst nightlife is City Bistro. This bar thinks it’s in New York City, but it’s not. It does boast a great roof deck with fabulous views, but you may not want to hang around the people lounging on it. If you like 80s guidos, then you may like City Bistro. If not, skip it. By the way, the food is over-priced and terrible.
The bar at 10th and Willow is too cool to have a name. Or so the owner thinks. The drinks are overpriced, the food isn’t worth the fees, and you often have to pay a ridiculous cover price to get in. Stay away.
Nightlife in Hoboken can be an enjoyable experience if you know where to go. I hope this helps! Have a great time. Oh, and don’t drink and drive. Not only do you risk lives, there are often roadblocks set up to stop people leaving Hoboken to see if they’ve been drinking. You don’t want to end a great night at the bars sobbing behind a different kind of bars.