Oh, it’s good to be back. Last week, the Bar Hopper hopped around the West Coast, lounging under palm trees and drinking too many Sazeracs. What’s that? Oh, it’s a whiskey and absinthe cocktail and it will ruin your life. Anyway, coming back to cold and gloomy Hoboken, I knew I needed a fancy night out to lift my spirits. I headed to the Living Room (no, not my living room).
The fanciest place in Hoboken is the , and that is because everything is lit purple and it smells like lavender. I know, there are other fancy places in town, but I also wanted to pretend I was a rich French tourist, so let’s just go with it, okay?
Upstairs is a bar called the Chandelier Room, where I imagine every Saturday night is a GTL-bonanza, and downstairs is Zylo, where people eat steak. Situated almost in the lobby itself is the Living Room, which I always figured was a bar for people who are looking to get drunk before their fight home. Turns out I was sort of right!
“We get mostly hotel guests, business people, people having meetings,” said bartender Alexis Osborne, who has been working at the bar since its opening almost two years ago.
“Tons of first dates,” she added. “They’re often very awkward.”
While the Living Room’s happy hour is subdued and chill, Osborne said it gets busy on the weekends. There’s no DJ, but the music does get pumped up a bit. When I was there the music sounded mostly like space station lounge tunes from the future, but then there was a remix of that Peter, Bjorn and John “Young Folks” song.
Osborne said that while there isn’t necessarily a dress code, people do get gussied up a bit for a night out at the W.
“Oh yeah, people are coming here to meet someone,” she said. “Someone who will hopefully buy them drinks.”
Their most popular cocktail is the Mango Pomegranate Martini, consisting of Absolut Mango vodka, pomegranate, lemon juice and sugar, for $12. Osborne said her favorite drink was the Bangkok on Hudson ($12), with Skyy Ginger vodka, Malibu, lime, coconut water and green habanero sauce. It sounds like a weird science experiment, but at the same time… delicious?
For happy hour they have selected martini’s for $5, like chocolate and espresso. As far as beer goes, they have Heineken and Amstel for $4, but Osborne admits they are better known for their cocktails than as a beer bar (“We don’t even have drafts,” she said).
If you like to blow money, you can also get bottle service and go lounge around on one of their soft couches adorned with throw pillows. Most bottles are $275, but if you are a ridiculous crazy person who lives in a golden palace made of angel’s tears and endangered elephant tusks, you can get a bottle of Louis XIII de Rémy Martin for $2,500. (That was not a typo!)
If you get hungry after chugging your $2,500 bottle of booze, the Living Room serves some small plates like artisan pizzas for $10, and snacks like meatball sliders for $9, sweet pea risotto croquettes for $10, and oh yes, onion rings for $6.
Anyway, my fellow patrons at the bar were a bunch of suit-and-tie professional guys, a yuppie couple on a date, a dude wearing shorts, and a girl who kept awkwardly checking her phone every three seconds. Oh wait, then a guy showed up. It looked like the two of them were on a blind date. I imagined that he’d bring her a cosmo and then talk about stocks and mergers all night. She’d smile and nod politely, but then her friend would call and she would be all, “Oh gosh, my cat is sick, I have to get back,” and he’d offer to walk her home, but it was okay, she would just cab it back. And then they’d never talk again.
Since this review is already pretty off track, I should also mention that the Living Room also has free wi-fi, which makes it better than Starbucks. Because Starbucks doesn’t serve booze and doesn't smell like lavender.
For a low-key, relaxed bar for young professionals, I will award the Living Room seven out of ten frosty mugs (I mean, chilled martini glasses). For those looking to pound Natty Ice while watching football, you may not enjoy it so much. Points are deducted because it can get a bit pricy if you plan on drinking all night (or sending drinks down the bar). Also, dancing it up while a family from Ohio loads their bags into the nearby elevator might be a little weird. But if you are looking to impress a date or a friend by showing them how sophisticated you are, the Living Room is a perfect bet.