433) The Shannon Lounge
This is an Irish bar that, if not for its size, looks like it could be somebody’s well appointed basement recreation room. Located right downtown at 106 First Avenue, it has been in business for 50 years and is still owned by members of the same family. I guess that helps to account for its homey atmosphere. One of the owners, Marie, was cleaning up the place after what she said was a wild Saturday night. Kind of wish I had been there. She was most friendly and after she found out that I was taking notes showed me around (an impressively large back room, currently just being used for storage until some “issues” are resolved) and told me a little about the place. It has a large oval bar with a kind of reddish wood top and a paneled front. It has a tiled foot rest and wooden bar chairs with green cushions. A large set of coolers with wooden doors sits in the middle of the bar area. Its top is covered with bottles, a cash register, and a case for cigarettes (you can still smoke in the bars in New Jersey). Light colored wooden paneling goes halfway up the pale yellow walls. There are lots of green Guinness pennants hanging from the ceiling. Guinness, Smithwick’s , and Harp mirrors hang on the walls. They have a dartboard and host dart leagues.
This might very well be the bar I would hang out in if I lived in Hoboken, after I checked out the action on Saturday nights. I had a draft Smithwick’s.
Just down the block at 110 First Avenue, on the Corner of First Avenue and Bloomfield Street, is another Irish pub that has that traditional look about it. It has a pool table in the back. The bar looks like it has a newly finished top and has a brass rail. The bar chairs are wood with pale green vinyl seats. There were three televisions behind the bar and the large one in the middle tinted all flesh blue. Made the baseball game much more interesting. Flanking the Blue Man Group television were blond wood tiered shelves holding bottles. More of the Guinness pennants hung from their ceiling (not as many as at The Shannon Lounge, however) and it had Bass and Harp mirrors hanging from their walls. There was a brick fireplace and brick and dark wood walls. Stained glass lights hung from the ceiling and the bar was lit with recessed spots. The bartendress here was quite pleasant as well and turned out to be a pal of Marie next door. Another comfortable place.
I had a Guinness
An Irish soccer bar at 159 First Avenue. At least eight televisions that I counted with soccer on all of them but one. A large collection of soccer team shirts were displayed on the ceiling behind the bar. There were also soccer team pennants that looked more like fringed scarves. A large Jets banner and a little guy dressed in a kind of Jets uniform were also on display. There was a pool table in a back room. The bar was brown wood with a brass rail and there are wooden bar chairs with brown vinyl seats. The walls are brick with wood paneling that goes half-way up. The ceilings are wood with brass overhead fans. Irish themed pictures are on the wall behind the bar chairs. The floors are old wood except right around the bar where they are tile. There are three different pumping stations on the bar, one a brass tube, one a more ornate brass one, and a ceramic Carlsberg one. A dartboard was also hanging on a wall.
I had a Sam Adam’s White Ale.
436) Busker’s Bar and Grill
On the corner of First Avenue and Bloomfield Street (kitty corner from McSwiggans), and right behind City Hall is this eye-popping Irish bar and grill. There is so much stuff in the place that it looks kind of like an Irish themed gift shop. The interior was designed by O’Sullivan Interiors from Waterford, Ireland so I guess it is an authentic looking upscale Irish pub. The wooden bar is beautiful with a twisted iron bar rail. The cabinets behind the bar is a combination of mirror backed shelves, little drawers, some with brass handles, some with wooden handles. There are what look to be Irish antiques all over the place. Beautiful floor that is a combination of tiles and wood. The lamps over the bar look like opaque cupcakes viewed from the bottom. Glass exhibit cases hold all kinds of neat stuff. The place really is gorgeous and deserves a look if you are in the neighborhood. After a beer at the bar my wife and I had dinner at a table in front of a nice stone fireplace with large candles on the mantle. My lamb shank was delicious but, unfortunately, my wife’s seafood dish, the chef’s special, was lacking. The wine, however, Pepperwood Cabernet, was delicious and reasonably priced. My wife enjoyed it and she usually prefers white wines. The staff was plentiful and very attentive. The hand driers are far and away the most powerful I have ever encountered and actually did the job they were designed to do.
I had a Blue Moon Belgian Ale at the bar before dinner.
After dinner we caught the Path back under the river to Manhattan and then a subway home to Brooklyn. Not a bad day. The bottle of wine with dinner slowed me down a bit but I did hit four which makes 436 for the year and leaves 564 to go. Need 63 more before May 14th so I can celebrate my 500th at The Gate. The frenzy builds.