• 4 Speakeasy-Style Cocktail Bars in Jersey City

    You used to have to head into Manhattan to find a great cocktail bar or speakeasy, but schlep on the PATH no more because things are a-changing this side of the river {and for the better}. We’ve rounded up four great Jersey City cocktail bars with swanky speakeasy vibes — right in our backyard – located in down JC! 

    1. DullBoy {364 Grove St, Jersey City}

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    Located just a few blocks from the Grove St PATH, this secretive spot may make you question if you’re at the right place. The sign above the entrance still reads “Park & Sixth” {Park & Sixth has since moved to Newark Ave} with “Dullboy” {almost illegibly} spray-painted over it not to mention the windows are entirely covered with curtains.  Once inside you’ll be greeted by a floor-to-ceiling velvet curtain, move that aside and behind it you will find a dimly lit modern day speakeasy.  The décor lends itself to a literary theme with typewriters, books and torn out pages of famous works covering walls.

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    Dullboy has a “seat yourself” policy {best to get there at reasonable time because it gets crowded quickly}, and you order drinks at the bar.  Seats at the bar are cool, but to appreciate the ambiance, try and grab a spot at one of their mirrored tables adorned with a single votive.  There you can opt to sit on a crushed velvet bench or tufted ottoman {there are details to appreciate everywhere}.  If a vodka soda is what you’re after, this isn’t the place for you. They specialize in handcrafted cocktails, and you can taste the time and effort put into each one.  On the menu are the classics {i.e. Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Gimlet, etc.} but may we suggest you go for something fancy like The Scout, comprised of bourbon, blackberry, lemon, artichoke amaro, & vanilla.  Even for the faint at {Bourbon’s} heart, the Bourbon really takes a backseat to the fresh blackberry and vanilla, sweet and strong!  Cocktails are not the only thing served at Dullboy, as they offer a small but satisfying food menu.  Choose from several types of oysters, small plates {Dullboy fries are amazing!}, or “bigger plates” with the burgers and guanciale mac & cheese being fan favorites.

     2. Miss Wong’s {Basement, 8 Erie Street}

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    Opened earlier in 2016, Miss Wong’s is located in the lower level of Talde in Jersey City {near the Grove Street PATH}, noted as one of JC’s “true” speakeasies as its unmarked and you have to ask a bouncer upstairs for the entrance.

    Once downstairs, you’ll find the interior of Miss Wong’s to be sleek and modern with dark wood paneling with a mixture of brick and concrete. The place really exudes a chill, laid-back vibe — and can sometimes be crowded, depending on the night. When it comes to the cocktails, the bartenders know their stuff — and will even share their wealth of knowledge if it’s not too crowded. They serve food with a small menu and on weekends there’s a DJ spinning beats. A fun/classy feel without being too uptight = great addition to an already noteworthy restaurant near downtown Grove Street, that’s fo sho.

    3. The Archer {176 Newark Ave, Jersey City}

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    When you approach The Archer, you’ll be greeted by an extremely friendly doorman.  He’s there to check your ID and direct you down the entry hallway that has an almost hidden feel.  Once you enter the actual space, you’ll appreciate the vibe right away: a dimly lit hunting lodge take on a speakeasy.  There are wood accents all around, taxidermy-style mounted animal heads, a fireplace, and antler chandeliers hanging above {this hunting theme pairs extremely well with its game-based menu}.  Although The Archer’s food stands out with its gamey {in a good way} plates like spicy elk meatballs, wild boar sloppy joes, bison and boar chili, and bison burger sliders, this is an amazing cocktail bar and that’s what you’ll remember.

    Grab a seat at the bar and get some QT with the talented and attentive bartenders {you should definitely do that if you don’t plan on dining there}.  The cocktail menu is a combination of traditional libations and seasonal creations, and while the current menu still boasts a winter theme, we can’t wait to see what spring has to offer!  You can choose one of their winter classics, house specialties, or winter warmers; {nothing like a hot mulled cider on a cold winter [or spring?!] night}. Or, you may want to order off menu because the bartenders know what they are doing. Tell him what you like, and a few minutes later you’ll get one of the most refreshing Gin-based cocktails you’ve ever had {in my case anyway}.

    4. PS Wine Bar {Inside of Pet Shop JC}

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    The owners of Pet Shop JC are Jersey City locals who collectively wanted to create a low-key space for artists, musicians, and other locals to hang while the other new downtown JC establishments are “focused on attracting the metropolitan crowd.” That being said, their menu is super unique, in that it’s 100% vegetarian {you may remember a past visit here}. The better news, however, is that they recently opened a speakeasy-style wine bar that houses natural European wines produced by small independent farmers and some beers and spirits {+ tapas — vegetarian of course}.

    It’s actually a decently-sized two-room space, but depending on the night can get crowded. The vibe is cozy, intimate, and inviting. A fun addition to an already-unique vegetarian bar!

     

    Have you been to any of these off-the-beaten path spots? What did you think?

     


    Written by:

    Christine is a born-and-raised Jersey Girl who landed in Jersey City several years ago. After a year of living in JC and absolutely loving it, Christine and her husband decided to make it a little more permanent and buy their own little piece of downtown Jersey City. When she isn’t crunching numbers as a merchandise planner in NYC, you can find her strolling down Newark Avenue heading to Barre, running along the waterfront, trolling the awesome JC vintage shops or discovering another great place to grab a bite to eat. If she’s not enjoying all that Jersey City has to offer, you will most likely find her on her couch…watching Bravo.


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