in the space that housed for thousands of years—OK, eight years to be exact. It’s so new, in fact, that they just had their Grand Opening on Tuesday. But, they’ve had their doors open for about a week now, so I stopped in over the weekend to check the place out while it was still relatively under the radar.
You must know that Busker’s was the unofficial hangout spot for me and my fellow Hoboken journalist buddies. It was across from City Hall, the beer was cheap and the vibe was unpretentious and relaxed. When we learned that , we freaked out.
So I headed to M.O.B. (the name is a reference to the bar Frank Sinatra's father used to own), fully expecting to hate it, give it a rating of zero frosty mugs, scoff and walk away. There’s plenty of changes, that’s for sure: the exterior is painted blue, for one, the bar’s been re-done, there’s modern sconces and hipster wallpaper where faded beer ads and dartboards used to hang. But I can’t lie, it’s a pretty nice re-design. It’s nice, but it sort of feels like it isn’t trying too hard.
I guess they were eager to make a good impression on everyone, because two different waiters came to our table to take our order. My friend and I both got Brooklyn Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale (I love autumn beers, so I will also mentioned that they offered Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest and Magic Hat’s Hex). At $6 it wasn’t a steal, but not much worse than anywhere else in town.
Wines were between $7 and $9, with some sparkling selections for $10. For cheapskates, there was Coors, Stella and Blue Moon on tap. Most of the patrons were the wine-and-cocktail type crowd, all dressed up to go out.
The music started out as 90s rock, with some Snow Patrol and R.E.M., but by 10 p.m. or so had transitioned to stuff like Katy Perry, and Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” (a perennial fave in my book). It was dancey music, but no one was dancing.
M.O.B. offers a limited selection of food for now, mostly bar snacks and sandwiches. My friend and I ordered a little something to munch on, which was comped on the bill, most likely because they just wanted people to try their offerings. (I went incognito as a reviewer, I swear! Or maybe I am getting so famous that people instantly recognize me as Hoboken’s most illustrious nightlife reviewer? No.)
M.O.B.’s owners—still the same guys who ran Busker’s—gave the bar a makeover and a name change because they said they needed a way to stand apart from the competition. I do have to admit that M.O.B. feels like no other bar in town.
Hoboken is full of two polar extremes: the pub-style sports bar, or the uber-upscale techno club. We’re starting to get some new blood in town (and come to mind), but really, any change in the drinking scene around here should be welcomed.
So, although I hate that my local hang is now gone, I must meekly admit that M.O.B., as a new bar, is a pretty nice change of pace. It feels like a nice grown-up bar for the late twentysomethings and thirtysomethings to grab a nice cocktail or a draft beer, without worrying about buttgrabbing and fratboy puke. My humble suggestions would be more craft beer selections and better musical ambiance, but those are definitely things that can be worked on as M.O.B. smooths out their kinks.
In all, I’ll give M.O.B. eight out of ten frosty mugs. They’ve got a good foundation, but time will tell if it really does set itself apart from the rest of Hoboken’s bars, or if it does just become another place for girls in miniskirts and guys with gelled hair to dance to a Lady Gaga remix. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Marty O'Brien's Social Club is located at 94 Bloomfield Street; 201-604-1380.
The Bar Hopper is a sometimes tongue-in-cheek look at Hoboken's abundant bar scene. The views expressed in these reviews are half-sloshed, and do not reflect the overall views of Patch.