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Re: Local Watering Holes
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Enjoyed the post. Sorry to ask but how is the safety factor in parking near Moores on Monticello? In passing by a few months ago, I didnt feel comfy and sadly didn't stop in. We live in staten island and enjoy being in JC at least once a week (but not familiar enough w/ monticello area). thanks!

Posted on: 2013/9/27 2:27
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Re: Local Watering Holes
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Minor correction-New Park sells hot dogs only during baseball season! The sell a Best Provisions (made in Newark) all beef natural casing dog.

Posted on: 2013/9/26 22:34
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By Joe D'Allegro

Are you looking for a cheap night out? Fond of beer? JCI sent reporter Joe D?Allegro across Jersey City to give us the run down on a few neighborhood bars. The finite nature of his liver prevents this from being a complete list, but below are some of the places he recommends.

Astor Bar & Grill ? 725 Montgomery Street, 201 333 9595, Facebook Page

This McGinley Square institution is fairly large, has plenty of open space, and parking for about a half dozen cars in the front. This is an old man-style dive bar, and it?s more than a bit worn looking both inside and out, but everything is clean and orderly, and service is quick. Plus, it?s easy to strike up conversation with fellow patrons and the friendly staff.

Astor is one of the city?s least expensive bars and just $2.50 will get you a Miller Light or Coors Light draft, or pony up $4.50 for a Guinness draft. Astor serves lunch weekdays until 3 p.m., and on Monday, Thursday and Friday nights. Menu items include a chili dog for $2.75, $8.95 for a grilled chicken over salad, and $7.95 for a turkey club with fries. Their pizza is well received, and you can get a small personal pie for $6. Whether or not food is available depends on if Debbie, the cook/bartender, is working. She?s lovely, makes an effort to chat up patrons, and has two handsome, but barky, dogs.

Astor isn?t much to look at ? there are four substantial tables for diners, as well as a long beige laminate bar. Other than that, a large artificial Christmas tree towards the back passes for d?cor.

The Corkscrew Bar & Grill ? 61 Congress Street, 201 239 0087, thecorkscrewjc.com (pictured above)

This place on Congress Street, near the elevator to Hoboken, packs a lot of bar awesomeness into a small package. It has more than 40 beers available ? including $4 drafts of Victory Hop Devil ale, $2 drafts of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and (on a recent Friday) Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Corkscrew also has a plethora of inventive mixed drinks such Dirty Jersey Water ? a combination of Southern Comfort, Jameson, ginger ale and lime juice.

The bar has a pool table, a smattering of tables, and nine televisions of various size. It accepts credit cards and an ATM is also available on the premises. You can get a meticulously prepared 8-ounce Angus beef burger on a toasted roll for only $6. Other food items, such as a personal pizza, are similarly affordable. Plus, the grill is open until 12:30-1 a.m., so you can grab a late meal.

Though small, the bar has high ceilings, and an open, airy feel. There?s a small porch off the side for smokers. On a recent Friday, the place was packed with 20- to 40-somethings from the neighborhood, and everyone seemed to be having fun.

Golden Cicada awaits customers early on a Sunday afternoon

Golden Cicada Tavern ? 195 Grand Street, 201 432 0048 (pictured left)

A nice, comfortable, neighborhood spot, Golden Cicada sits on the edge of Paulus Hook, a couple of blocks east of Jersey City Medical Center on Grand Street. The bar offers Budweiser draft for $3, and Stella Artois bottles for $5. If you?re feeling flush, you can splurge on rum and Coke or a can of Guinness for the sum of $6. Owner Cheng ?Terry? Tan offers up a limited food menu, including handmade dumplings for $4.50, noodle soup for $5, or shrimp plates for $10.99. He knows his way around the kitchen, and you get a good deal for the money.

Two big televisions grace Golden Cicada?s interior, from which you can catch the game or play Nintendo Wii (currently being repaired). The bar also hosts karaoke on weekdays. This place has a lot of character.

Physically, though, it?s quite small, with just a 10-seat wood and laminate bar, a couple of tables, and some standing room. Tan hopes to eventually raze his existing one-floor structure and put up a seven-floor building with housing and retail space. For the foreseeable future though, this is a great spot.

Henry?s Wok ? 354 West Side Avenue, 201 332 5581

On the corner of Grant Avenue and West Side, just off the campus of Jersey City University sits this highly unique bar/restaurant hybrid ? a small, dark, lounge joined lengthwise to a comparatively well-lit Chinese restaurant. Despite being in operation since 1988, very little attempt has been made to join the two parts of the business aesthetically, and there?s something cool about that.

In the drinking area, you?ll find a 20-foot wooden bar and three small tables. The counter to order Chinese food is along the back wall and sees steady take-out business. The menu is huge, and most meals are less than $10. The bar doesn?t have a tap, but is fairly well stocked and affordable. You can get a bottle of Budweiser for $3, rum and Coke for $3.50, Corona and Heineken for $4, or a can of Guinness for $4.75. Feeling like splurging? The most expensive drink is R?my Martin for $7.

If you order food, you can eat it in the bar. Conversely, if you don?t mind the atmosphere and lack of d?cor, you could probably drink in the restaurant area.

Jack Miller?s Pub ? 293 Academy Street, 201 656 9811, Facebook Page

This is a hole in the wall, but not without its charms. One of only a handful of bars in the Journal Square neighborhood, Jack Miller?s opened in the early 1970s and looks like it hasn?t been renovated much since. Long, but narrow, and with a low ceiling, this ground-floor place could be a little claustrophobic if it were hosting a crowd. An orange laminate bar runs from front to back, and a couple of tables are off to the side. It?s a no-frills sort of place. About a dozen beers are on tap, including Coors Light for $3.50, and Amstel Light for $4. You can get a rum and Coke for $4. Neither food nor draft beer are on the menu. D?cor is limited to sport memorabilia (Jack Miller was a local boxing promoter in life) and a giant American flag on the wall. There?s a small courtyard out back.

A handful of older gentlemen were at the bar during a recent weekday visit, and spent the night watching hockey and a Johnny Carson bio. Service was fast, friendly, and professional. This place is worth a visit if you?re in the area.

Moore?s Lounge ? 189 Monticello Street, 201 332 4309, Facebook Page

This large but low-key spot is great if you like live jazz. It hosts free jam sessions every Friday night. In addition, the Winard Harper Jazz Band performs there monthly for a small cover, and greats such as trumpet player Philip Harper (Winard?s brother) and guitarist Russell Malone will sometimes stop by. One recent Friday around 10 p.m. an upright bass player shared the stage with a guitarist and keyboard player while multiple trumpet, saxophone and trombone players milled about, waiting to perform. About 35 people ranging from octogenarians to college-aged jazz fans caught the show.

Drinkers may rue the lack of draft beers, but you can get a Guinness for $5, a Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA for $4, or a strong gin and tonic for $3.50. Moore?s doesn?t regularly serve food, but a fish fry is on offer every Friday evening.

Besides jazz, Moore?s also hosts the Uptown Crew open mic every fourth Thursday of the month, welcoming a broad range of musical, spoken word and comedy performers. DJs spin every Saturday night.

Moore?s main bar area is dominated by a long red laminate bar, but also has tables and a hodge-podge of seating. There?s a pool table behind the performance area, clean bathrooms and a tiny yard out back.

New Park Tavern ? 575 West Side Avenue, 201 434 9253, Facebook Page

This spot off south side of Lincoln Park is one of Jersey City?s top bars, according to the readers of the Jersey City Bar Guide, and is locally famous for its thick, juicy burgers ($5 plain, or $7.50 with fries). Most domestic drafts are available for $3, or you can go a little higher up the beer food-chain to snag a Blue Moon for $4.50. If you?re hungry, but aren?t in the mood for a burger, try the hot dogs or corned beef. They do not accept credit cards.

Park Tavern is a large bar and has a sizeable covered outdoor space out back. It also has a small parking lot off to the side ? useful as it?s fairly distant from any rail lines. It?s easy to miss the bar from the outside, as it lacks adequate (or really any) signage or large windows, but inside you?ll find a convivial, somewhat lodge-like feel. Mercy, the short-lived dramedy that ran on ABC in the 2009/2010 season used to film interior shots here (and used Lucky 7 for exterior shots). The juke box is decent enough, with Shane McGowan and Bob Dylan sharing space with Vampire Weekend and Blind Melon ? and you get three plays for a dollar. For distraction, you?ll find lots of televisions, darts, and Missile Command video games.

The bar draws a steady stream of area folk, and has enough space to avoid feeling crowded. It?s awesome.

Rolon's Bar with a smattering of daytime customersRolon?s Bar ? 242 Bay Street, 201 333 9866, Facebook Page (pictured right)

This downtown institution is more commonly known as Keyhole, for the distinctive shape of its windows. The building dates from 1860 and has gone through various incarnations in 152 years, so why exactly it has keyhole-shaped windows has been lost to time. Ray Rolon opened the bar in 1965 on nearby Montgomery Street in 1965 and moved it to his current location, in 1971. He runs it with his son Chris, a former aquatic toxicologist.

This is a good place to if you want to imbibe in bulk ? the most expensive items they serve are Hennessy cognac and Chivas Scotch whisky ? and those are only $5 a shot. All other drinks are $3 or less. Rolon?s takes minimalism seriously ? there?s no draft beer options, no pool table, darts, or video games, no food, you can only pay in cash, it has exactly one television, and guests of the men?s room have no sit-down toilet or lock to muddle their experience.

What it does have is a friendly vibe, a large oval-shaped bar and (on most nights) a substantial crowd of Hispanic men and hipsters.

The bar played host to a wildly popular open mike called The Waterbug Hotel for a few years in the oughts, and sometimes musicians still rehearse in the basement. Though barely a block from the trendy Barcade, Rolan?s presents a vastly different drinking experience.

Terry Monaghan?s on Friday eveningTerry Monaghan?s ? 225 Hutton Street, 201 653 9111 (pictured left)

Occupying the quiet corner of Hutton and Sanford Place in the Heights, Terry Monaghan?s is a charming place to grab a drink. It has ornate tin ceilings and walls and is flooded with light from windows along its north and east walls. It resembles a quaint coffee shop more than a bar. It?s small, but the high-ish ceilings and windows ensure it doesn?t feel cramped. Beyond elbow room, it has a pool table, and service was at nearly the speed of thought during two recent visits.

Terry Monaghan?s doesn?t serve food, but has a decent, basic selection of draft and bottled beers, including Guinness, Yuengling, Coors Light and Magners Irish Cider. You can get a rum and Coke for $5. Packaged goods include a six-pack of Budweiser nips for a reasonable $7.50. It does not take credit cards.

The bar is tucked away in a nice residential neighborhood a block off Kennedy Boulevard. If you have to drive, plan on spending a couple of minutes looking for parking. This one of the best bars in town, and offers a relaxed alternative to the more boisterous Corkscrew a few blocks away.

Posted on: 2013/9/26 19:48
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