The sign of a really authentic watering hole is no sign of food. That’s what you won’t find at this little neighborhood crowd-pleaser on the west side. But you’ll find tons of ambience, great booze, and great conversation.
Larry Nieroda has been a bartender here since 2003. “To call it a rock-and-roll dive bar is selling it short,” Nieroda says. “It’s more than rock and roll, but I’ll stick with dive bar.”
And that’s a dive bar in the coolest sense. The first time I went in, a youngish co-ed crowd was drinking and chatting while a band was setting up for that night’s performance.
“We have zero food here,” Neiroda says. “We have no basement, no attic, no back room. We’re limited in terms of property.”
But not in terms of good cheer, good sounds, and good vibes.
“It’s a music bar all the time,” Nieroda says. “You can watch sports but not with the sound on. It’s a tiny bar with a great juke box. It’s a great mixed jukebox. We play everything but dance and pop. We play a lot of things, old blues, old records that you aren’t going to hear anywhere else in Hoboken anymore.”
As for the clientele?
“It’s wide as can be,” Nieroda says, “and it’s people who ‘get’ this kind of bar, a divey music bar. It’s kind of all walks of life, all ages. We have people who are 21, and a gentleman in his seventies comes in frequently.”
The bar has weathered Hoboken’s changing demographics. “Hoboken has a lot of young people with a lot of money who show off in bars, and other people are struggling with work and school, and they need something too. We’re the corner bar for the working young man or woman.”
The Ninth Street light rail stop, only a couple of blocks away, has been a boon for business. “That’s worked for us,” Nieroda says. “We’re really in the middle of nowhere without that train.”
The bar, he says, “has a warm feel to it. It’s not corporate people, simply real people, who helped each other through the flood. It’s a real place, part of the community, where you hear about jobs, meet your girlfriend, wife, or husband. It’s almost family. We want it to be like that.”
You might be surprised to hear, as I was, that one night a month, they have a certified mixologist who makes really nice high-end cocktail specialties.
And if you really want to go to DC’s but you’re hungry, not to worry. The bar offers a restaurant-menu book, and you can have pizza or Chinese food delivered.
The bar proudly hosts art openings, though “we cram in live music whenever we can,” Neiroda says.
All are welcome, he says, whether you wear a “suit, a leather jacket, or a priest’s collar, as long as you understand who we are.”—Kate Rounds
505 Eighth St.