With its classic décor and contemporary pizzazz, the Clinton Social Club on the corner of Clinton and Seventh streets in Hoboken is a cozy getaway in the middle of the mile-square city, perfect for a first date or a 50th anniversary celebration.
Owned by Dave Carney, who also owns the popular Madison Bar and Grill on 14th and Washington, the Clinton Social Club offers a true downtown vibe away from the hustle and bustle of Washington Street.
The warm ambiance is set with rich colors, candlelit tables, and musical selections that range from blues and jazz to Springsteen and the Stones – making it at once both a romantic place to enjoy an intimate dinner and a hip spot to enjoy a drink with friends.
The warm ambiance is both a romantic place to enjoy an intimate dinner and a hip spot to enjoy a drink with friends.
Dinner at the Clinton Social Club begins with a plate of warm bread chunks accompanied by olive oil for dipping. Some of the bread pieces are served with sauce, others cheese, others plain – but they’re all delicious.
The tasty bread palette could certainly suffice as the only starter to a meal, but it would be a shame to miss the downright delicious appetizers at Clinton Social Club. The club is known for its nachos, and with good reason. The 7th Street Nachos ($12) feature grilled steak and chicken, black beans, and melted Monterrey jack and cheddar cheeses over tortilla chips made in-house with the traditional sour cream, jalapenos, and guacamole on the side.
Though it sounds like a common and simple combination, there is something special about the nachos that make you want to devour them as a meal on their own.
And the guacamole (mixed with sour cream, which softens the flavor and gives it a delectable texture) was among the best I have ever tasted.
Even my companion, who typically denounces the creamy green goodness, happily gobbled up most of the guacamole before I could even get to it.
For those not into nachos, both vegetarians and meat lovers alike will be equally pleased with the Vegetarian Sampler ($11) which includes an eggplant tapenade, hummus, and chopped Kalamata olives surrounded by plenty of pita chips and veggies for dipping.
The hearty eggplant tapenade is flavorful and chunky and could easily be an appetizer of its own. It’s so good you could eat it with a spoon.
Other appetizing selections to begin your meal include French Onion Soup Dumplings ($12), Artichoke and Goat Cheese Pierogies ($9), and Mussels Provencal ($12). For those into simpler starter fare, there are also staples like Spicy Wings ($8) and Cheese Fries ($7).
The main attraction
The entrees at the Clinton Social Club are a smorgasbord of flavorful options featuring creative twists on conventional favorites, like the Hanger Steak ($22), which is seasoned with an espresso marinade, and a Short Rib Hash ($18).
For our meals, we chose a seafood highlight of the menu, Chilean Sea Bass ($23), and a special for the evening, Cowboy Steak (price varies).
The sea bass was prepared almost too beautifully to eat, but sinking my teeth in was worth it because the taste was just as beautiful.
Tender, buttery with a crisp texture, the fish was fresh and light, served over perfectly prepared basmati rice that floated over a creamy lemony sauce underneath.
And those delicious black beans from the nachos made an encore appearance as a side dish.
The steak special was a true meat-and-potatoes meal created with class. Accompanied by Gorgonzola mashed potatoes and asparagus, it was hearty enough to fill the belly of a hardworking cowboy, or a hungry writer, as it turned out.
The sides were delicious in their own right, but of course it was the steak, smothered in a creamy sauce of mushrooms and Jack Daniels, that was the true star of the dish.
The Clinton Social Club also offers pastas and pizza dishes as well as salads, sandwiches, and sliders for those in the mood for something a little lighter.
Special party and catering menus are also available.
Have your just desserts – and drinks
Our dinner was completed with two desserts that complemented the chilly weather outside perfectly – a Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee ($8) with a smooth, light vanilla flavor, and warm Apple Crisp ($8) served with cinnamon gelato.
And for a dessert of the more grown up variety, the drinks at Clinton Social Club are not to be missed – it is, after all, a social club.
There are a variety of martini concoctions (including some very special “After-Tinis” like the Thin Mint and the Oatmeal Cookie), priced between $12 to $14, and an entire list of drinks based on Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea vodka, dubbed “The Clinton ‘T’ List.”
The restaurant at Clinton Social Club is open for lunch only on the weekends. For dinner, the restaurant is open Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the bar is open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit www.clintonsocial.com or call (201) 239-0063.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at email@example.com.
A weeklong of ‘Social’ events
Every night of the week is a special event at the Clinton Social Club, with a variety of specials that are available at both the bar and in the restaurant. Happy Hour is celebrated Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. each week.
Additionally, “fusions” are half price all night on Monday, and wines are $2 off by the glass and 20 percent off by the bottle all night on Tuesdays.
Customers can enjoy half price sweet tea cocktails throughout the night on Wednesdays and half-price martinis all night on Thursdays.
Sunday is for sports fans, with half-price wings and $4 drafts.
For more information on specials, visit www.clintonsocials.com