Archive of ‘Bars’ category

Super Bowl LI in Jersey City!!


Super Bowl LI takes over America this year on Sunday, February 5th at 6:30pm ET. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons will face off at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.

The ultimate sporting event calls upon us to attend viewing parties everywhere. If you are hosting one, here are some of my game-day recipes, as well as tips for etiquette.

If you’d rather take it to commercial real estate in Jersey City, here is a list of venues hosting the big game, courtesy of haveanight.com.

Facts about Super Bowl 51:

Teams’ stats this season: New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons

Network: FOX (coverage begins at 1pm ET)

Hosts: Joe Buck will be doing play-by-play and Troy Aikman will be doing analysis. Erin Andrews and Chris Myers will be reporting form the sidelines.

Half-Time Show: Lady Gaga

Commercials: $5,02 million for a 30-second spot, an increase of 500% since this gal was a commercial actress

Remember 2014? #throwback

Root for your team (or just against one playing), have fun, stay safe and enjoy.

Do not keep calm; just game on,
JCG

Pet Shop Bar

pet shop bar. nj Jersey City’s newest and coolest Newark Avenue hangout is the Pet Shop Bar (and really was a Pet Shop in its former life).

“We were toying with the idea of renting a couple other places in the area and just keeping their names,” says part-owner and head manager Dave Rappaport.  “We almost rented Beauty Land and were going to call it ‘Beauty Land.'” 99 Cent Dreams and Pharmacy were also in the running, if he and partners Shen Pan and Eric Speck secured those storefronts.

When the three men, who know each other from being longtime Jersey City residents, secured the Pet Shop space, “We would joke about it. Like; ‘Let’s hang lots of animal pictures on the walls,'” which are very much there now, IRL.

“I think the common thread between all of us is we like really good rock ‘n’ roll, cheap beer and dive bars,” says Eric. Although he admits, “We didn’t really make a dive bar—it’s not dive-y—but we still appreciate those things.”

Pet Shop bar is definitely not a hole-in-the-wall, but it is very comfortable and welcoming—a solid neighborhood spot. “Originally we were trying to open a live music venue, but we couldn’t find the right money and the right space at the right time. It’s a shame because this area needs it,” explains Eric. “And then we found this place that had been a completely disgusting pet shop for, like, 40 years and we were like ‘Well, let’s just call it Pet Shop. I can show you a picture of how disgusting it was.” Readers, just take my word for it: pre-renovation pics were not pretty.

Now, however…

Think:

  • A long front, full bar with regular and craft beers on tap that segues into a larger back room with high ceilings, pet portraits and Cool Victorian-esque furniture (many thanks to interior designer Amanda Danesi)
  • Cool lighting, kitsch, unique decor, a vintage cigarette machine, a working photo booth, a jukebox filled with music from local bands (including employees’ bands), and a pinball machine 
  • Outdoor “backyard” space with communal tables (and an outdoor bar to come)

The bar’s logo, an empty bird cage with a bent bar, was designed by Dave Rodriguez. “The birds escaped,” says Shen, explaining that it symbolically represents the three men trapped in their day jobs and deciding to break free and pursue passions of their own.

Opening Pet Shop was a rookie venture [shout-outs for everyone in the community that helped them…pet-shop-shoutout]. As for experience, Shen worked in his parents’ liquor store, Eric used to bartend and book acts for music venues, and Dave is a former math teacher (numbers!). The actual expertise of running and managing a bar arrived with Bar Manager Lindsay Gomeringer, who hails from years of experience, notably at the Brass Rail in Hoboken.

jersey-city-gal_pet-shop-bar

The Charlie Foxtrot cocktail

“We didn’t understand the complexity of all the responsibilities it takes closing down a bar at night,” says Dave. “And making cocktails.” The cocktail list has a reasonably priced variety of bevvies (“We didn’t want a cocktail bar, but we wanted cocktails available,” says Shen), and the beer selection is “kept in the lower numbers,” says Eric, “because sometimes picking a beer can be overwhelming.” At Pet Shop, you’ll find a variety on tap: craft brews like Allagash White , middle men like Sierra Nevada, and basics like Coors Light.

Using the name Pet Shop, though, had some setbacks when it came to the menu. “We were originally thinking of having a barbecue theme, but eating animals? That would be in poor taste,” laughs Dave. So the trio and co. crafted a vegetarian bar menu. What does that mean? In my words, it’s bar food re-imagined. Instead of wings, you get buffalo cauliflower; a “pulled pork” sandwich is jackfruit marinated in BBQ sauce and topped with vegan coleslaw.

The guys auditioned quite a few chefs and were “pretty sold on somebody else” when Eric McGuire came along. “Chef Eric blew us away,” says Shen. “He really changed our minds.”

Eric Speck elaborates: “Every chef came in and did what they do, what they were best at. Eric came in and asked a lot of questions and really challenged himself, trying things that he hadn’t done before. He created his menu to our business plan. We were also sold on him personality-wise; he was cut from the same cloth. He understands the rock ‘n’ roll vibe. He fits our scene. It was a natural choice.”

In a few weeks, Pet Shop will open up its downstairs biodynamic wine bar, named P.S. (a play on “post-script” and an extension of Pet Shop). “At first I thought ‘natural wine’ was just a thing you say to charge an extra few dollars,” laughs Shen, “but once Chris Leo (wine importer and sommelier) educates you…”

Eric chimes in: “The rules of production for biodynamic wines are super strict, more so than just organic wines, which can still have tons of chemicals and all sorts of additives.” The grapes in Pet Shop’s wines come from co-op vineyards in Italy and Spain. “The wine tastes fantastic, and you don’t get hangovers,” says Eric. Dave and Shen look at him in disbelief. “What?!” says Eric.  “I tested it. The wine is better for you.” Downstairs will be seating-room only to encourage conversation.

Shen says Pet Shop Bar aims to be a Jersey City staple. “We want this place to be around for at least 20 years.”

Adds Eric, “We’re really excited. I feel like we’ve accomplished our mission and we have a really good bar. It’s kind of…cool. Yes, I said it. The Pet Shop Bar is kind of cool.”

Bottoms up,
JCG

Surf City: Movies On The Beach

Surf City movies

As if the popularity of Jersey City didn’t expand our summer movies program enough, mega beach bar Surf City has started their own “Movies on the Beach” program to celebrate the last three weeks of the summer season. Enjoy these cult classics the next three Wednesdays!

August 17: Taxi Driver

August 24: Blade Runner

August 31: Men in Black

Get cozy in the sand!
JCG

Surf City Opens Tonight Jersey City!

Surf City

Jersey City’s waterfront beach megabar reopens for the season tonight, Friday May 13th.

Soak up views of Manhattan and Liberty Island, indoor and al fresco waterfront dining and drinking, and a sandy beach with fire pits perfect for getting cozy.

There is a revamped food and drink menu, and 25 craft beers that will rotate throughout the season.

Read my full, comprehensive review of Surf City here.

 

Chill on,
JCG

 

Wyland Performing at The Citizen 3/26

Wyland the band Jersey City Gal The CitizenNew Jersey-based band Wyland is performing at The Citizen (332 Second Street) this Saturday 3/26 at 7pm to celebrate the release of their new EP In A Sea of Things Unsaid. Supporting acts include Hey Anna, Bounders, and Cold Weather Company, and the cover is a mere $10.

Wyland was founded in New Jersey, and this will be their first concert here after arriving home from SXSW. I caught up with Ryan Sloan to get the low-down on the band and the sound. Back in 2014, Ryan had written songs using his piano and guitar but knew the types of instrumental sound he needed to make the music come alive. He first posted an ad on craigslist to find a guitarist.

Click below to continue reading…

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Super Bowl 50 in Jersey City!

superbowl50Super Bowl 50 (the NFL is suspending Roman Numerals for this year’s big game) overtakes America this year on Sunday, February 7th at 6:30pm ET. The Carolina Panthers and The Denver Broncos  will face off at Levi’s Stadium (home of the San Francisco 49ers) in Santa Clara, California.

The ultimate sporting event calls upon us to attend viewing parties everywhere. If you are hosting one, here are some of my game-day recipes, as well as tips for etiquette.

If you’d rather take it to commercial real estate in Jersey City, here is a list of venues hosting the big game, courtesy of nj.com.

Facts about Super Bowl 50:

Network: CBS (coverage begins at 11am ET)

Hosts: Jim Nantz will be doing play-by-play; Phil Simms will be doing analysis

Half-Time Show: Coldplay, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars

Commercials: $5 million for a 30-second spot, an increase of 500% since this girl was a commercial actress

Teams’ stats this season: Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos (know a few things about them from volunteering in 2014)

Game day eats: My recipes

And Cam Newton is super hot beyond being a great quarterback, just sayin’

Do not keep calm; just game on,
JCG

Comfort Food for Cloudy Days

cozystormOh the overcast sky, the chilly nip in the air, the fear of imminent Hurricane Joaquin…

All reminds us that Fall is well under way in Jersey City, which means that right now, your body craves snuggly comfort foods.

Thank goodness Jersey City has an endless supply of places to satisfy that need.

Click on the below links for my reviews of restaurants/cafes that cater to comfort on every level.

Sam A.M. Cafe

More Cafes

Skinner’s Loft

Park & Sixth

Laico’s

Union Republic

9th and Coles

Pizza Masters

Iron Monkey

Jersey Girls Village Food Tour Spots

GP’s

Abbey’s Pub

Rizzo’s Pizza and Bakery

There are so many awesome restaurants in Jersey City. I’ve covered plenty more than these on my (this) site, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare/Swarm and for the Jersey City Independent’s magazine and website.

These are just picks for our impending weather.

And, if disaster strikes you and not me, do stop by and do refuel here as many did during Sandy.

Be well and warm on,
JCG

America’s Got Talent Auditions!

NEW_JERSEY_SQUARE

America’s Got Talent, NBC’s #1 summer show, is coming to New York City on November 14, 2015 for auditions for its 11th Season!

Got a special talent? AGT accepts talent of all kinds and there are no age restrictions.

If you can’t make it out to the auditions, you may submit a video audition online.

For more information, visit http://www.americasgottalentauditions.com

Auditions will be held at:
Queens College (CUNY)
65-30 Kissena Blvd
Queens, NY
Please do not contact the venue.

Show me what you got!
JCG
 

 

Surf City: Jersey City’s Beach

Surf CityJersey City always guarantees good summer outdoor drinking at Surf City. You have the sand, the water, the sky—and the breathtaking view of Manhattan and Liberty Island.

I always look forward to tucking my feet in the sand, sipping on one of their signature bucket cocktails and admiring the boats as I ascertain whether any yacht owners would be willing to take me for a ride on the Hudson.

Since SC comes from the owners of the awesome Zeppelin Hall Beer Garden, there are 25 craft beers on tap. I usually go with Purple Haze at the BG, but SC’s Captain Lawrence Sunblock quenched my thirst perfectly on the hot day I went two weeks ago.

If you’re not into beer, which I’m often not, go for one of the Monster buckets (split it with a friend as they are strong and $18 and Do Not Drive!) I like the Green Monster, but there are four varieties to choose from and each can be made with either vodka or tequila and you can mostly mix and match the other ingredients (inside tip).

Like the BG, SC has communal tables and you walk up to the counter to order your food (though I found out on slower days, the waiters and waitresses will come to you). The wait is typical for a place of this size on a busy night, sometimes 35-40 minutes.

I had the wings, cheeseburger and fries—all are up to par. The Key West Mix salad is my favorite thing so far. While I want to try all of their seafood options (mussels, clams, lobster & shrimp roll, mahi-mahi—you name it), the food is a bit pricey, especially when you compare it to Zeppelin Hall’s menu—which is the natural thought process for patrons who’ve migrated here to test the waters. And let’s consider the fact that you are serving yourself. This year a raw bar is serving fresh seafood daily including jumbo shrimp, clams on the half shell and crab claws, which is more wallet-friendly if you only want a litle taste of the sea.

Surf City can accomodate 3500 patrons per night: It has plenty of indoor and outdoor communal seating and boasts six bars and four dining decks plus the sandy beach with lounge chairs, and If it gets chilly when the sun sets, move near one of the fire pits—so nice.

Getting there is easy: The light rail (Hudson-Bergen) and PATH (Grove) are nearby, and there is free parking in their huge lot at 1 Liberty Harbor (Marin Blvd.)

All in all, it’s a great place to chill and absorb awesome views and the calm that comes with sand and water—with all of your best friends.

Some of my summer pics below:

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Marion Walker Band @ Lucky 7’s Tavern 6/12

marion-walkerReno/Seattle psych-rock trio Marion Walker are coming through town June 12 for a show at Lucky 7’s Tavern (322 2nd St.) at 8:30pm.

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