Whiskey Tasting at Clam Broth House
This week I took myself on a world tour of whiskeys at this Hoboken landmark.
Fair warning, this review of Clam Broth House will probably be terrible. I don’t even have a witty opening paragraph here. I rolled up to the bar to drink some whiskey, and it was great, and the whole place was very nice and blah blah blah.
It’s been a long week.
So, the Clam Broth House is a super old place established 1899. It was bought by Danny and Jolene Tattoli in 2003, and after a bunch of hurdles, opened again in 2010. The first time I visited was to check out a comedy show in the basement, which was a lot of fun. I told myself that I should probably stop by this place again.
Fast forward a few months, and I’m at Clam Broth House because I’ve heard great things about their extensive whiskey menu. Now, to me, gin tastes barfy, vodka makes me sad, tequila is just bad news and rum is strictly a fun summer drink. But year round (and especially during cold weather!), whiskey is my drink of choice. It’s warm and strong and makes me feel like a grizzled old man – every young girl’s dream.
I had warned my friend that we were not here to drink light beers, or watered-down mixed drinks. No, I told him to hydrate well beforehand, because we are here to get whiskeydrunk, which is the best/worst kind of drunk. It’s the kind of drunk where you text all of your ex-boyfriends, and you think you would look really pretty if you just bleach your entire head blonde. It’s the type of drunk that makes you think Internet dating is a good idea, and also sleeping until noon and ordering everything at Dunkin’ Donuts.
Anyway. Clam Broth House is a really nice and classy restaurant, with $40 steaks and stuff. Apparently in the ye olden days it was a rough ‘n tumble place with shells all over the floor and a no-ladies-allowed rule. Today it’s all dark wood, wall sconces and crisp white tablecloths. The bar upstairs is nice for grabbing a drink after work, plus there is also the basement bar, for private events or dance parties or whatever. It’s not exactly a hotspot or anything, but it’s close to the PATH, and before the opening of Havana Lounge next door, your only cocktail options in that immediate area were… what… Lana Lounge?
So the bar wasn’t exactly popping off when my friend and I showed up, though dinner service was in full effect in the dining room. Luckily, we had the bartender’s full attention. I started with the Compass Box Oak Cross ($9) because, well, I had never heard of it before.
“I can really taste the oak cask flavor,” I said to my friend.
“No you can’t,” he replied, shaking his head.
I had imposed a two-drink limit on myself, especially since we were drinking straight whiskey here, and I didn’t want my notes to just turn into “sdhfjfj gkkkk ajklllllllll” or simply drawings of cats. So next I decided to try something I wouldn’t find so easily somewhere else – Yamakazi 12 Year ($10), a Japanese whiskey. It was different than I was used to, with a slight honey taste, or something like that.
Anyway, one day when I am a baller, I will try the Macallan 25 Year ($90 for a two-ounce pour), but if you’re boozing on a budget, Clam Broth has whiskey’s starting at $7. Don’t like whiskey? Okay, well they have a full wine list, a couple of draft options and cocktails. Did I write down any of their names or prices? No, of course not, I was too busy drinking. I told you this would be a terrible review.
In all, Clam Broth House is a beautiful establishment with a ton of history. The dining room is usually bustling, though the bar doesn’t seem to ever get too packed. This is nice if you’re looking for a quiet place to grab a drink and read a book, though it’s no fun if you’re hanging out and trying to be social. I loved their whiskey selection (and the fact that the bartender never tried to push the $20 glasses on us, even though we mostly closed our eyes and pointed at the menu to choose). In all, let’s say it’s a seven frosty mug place. Besides the obvious history, there wasn’t too much else that stood out about Clam Broth that set it apart from other nice places in town, like the Brass Rail or Turtle Club. Check it out if you’re around, and definitely try some whiskey.
Clam Broth House, 36-42 Newark Street; (201) 656-1111 originalclambrothhouse.com