I love a good neighborhood bar. When I’m sick and tired of waking up at the same time, to take the same train to the same place to work the same job, I need a place to go where I can commiserate with the same miserable people. It provides relief from your daily grind, it’s like therapy without actually addressing your problems. It cannot be too nice and it can’t be a total dive. If it’s too nice, you’re being subconsciously reminded of all the nice things you don’t have, and will probably never have, because you’re a big piece of shit. If its too divey, you’re saturated in the ambiance of a lower caste, one you will never escape, because you’re a big piece of shit. Or maybe its just me?
Anywho, neighborhood bars have a spectrum that ranges from “that’s where Daryl got stabbed” all the way to “you should really try the Ahi Tuna”. As I get older I find myself leaving behind the BG’s
of the world and gravitate toward places like O’Leary’s
, partially because I value having a face unblemished by buck 50’s, but also because I’ve become spoiled and want more out of my neighborhood bar.
I rate neighborhood bars based on a 1 to 5 star scale. For each that applies to the bar, they get a star.
1) Unpretentious staff
2) A cheap path to getting drunk
3) Good food
4) Outdoor options
5) Nobody was stabbed here recently
In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about a few of these neighborhood bars because Jersey City actually has a pretty good stock of them – something that makes me smile. Today, I want to evangelize one of my new favorites: Lo-Fi.
Lo-Fi is Lo-Cated on Palisades in the Heights. Its the same spot that once housed The Trolley Car, a good neighborhood bar turned bad neighborhood bar best known for this amazing bathroom
. Like Kopi Luwak
, the prized cat-digested Indonesian coffee bean, Lo-Fi made something great out of a stinky pile of shit. I don’t want to bash them too much because they did have an outdoor patio, frequently had drink specials, and offered the increasingly rare Sunday Ticket. Finding a bar with Sunday Ticket in Jersey City is like trying to find a Palm Civet, the endangered Indonesian cat that magically shits coffee beans.
Fuck me, do I love Lo-Fi. But to remain totally impartial, I’m going to breakdown Lo-Fi against the totally not bullshit and well-thought criteria I listed above. Lets see how they score.
Every time I go to Lo Fi I expect to have my order met with condescension and judgement. Maybe its because of the deliberately minimalist decor or the amount of beards behind the bar that gets my inner participation trophy all triggered, but to my pleasant surprise that has yet to happen. I’ve asked questions about their cocktails and have received thoughtful responses. I asked these motherfuckers to hold my cakes for a birthday party and they held my cakes. WTF else do you want from a bar? One star awarded.
A Cheap Path to Getting Drunk
Sometimes you just want to tie on, there’s no shame in this. When you hear the call of the wild you are compelled to respond, such are the laws of nature. Unfortunately the amount of quality places where you can drink yourself stupid and walk out with less than an $80 tab shrinks every day. Like Corgi
, Lo Fi has a pretty solid rotation of cocktails all for $12. Unlike Corgi, these are worth the price point. These won’t blow your balls off, but its worth the price of admission. I like the Roman Holiday, which is like a Negroni made for the beach.
The cheap path to getting drunk does not go through the cocktail menu. It instead it arrives through their daily $10 punches, which is a gussied up word for “some boozey shit we made earlier”. What it lacks in ceremony it makes up for in speed and price. Additionally, you can get $4 High Life’s, the king of shitty beer to supplement your personal journey to cirrhosis. Or $5 tallboys of Narragansett, if your wallet is really hurting. However the most knowledgeable alcoholic knows that the best deal is a $7 Golden Monkey, which is more than twice the ABV of a High Life. For amount of booze consumed per dollar spent, this is your most “responsible” option. One star awarded.
Disclaimer: I’ve only had the pizza here.
Detroit-style pizza is the current baffling food craze. When referring to pizza, Detroit-style means a thick and fluffy square pizza with greasy caramelized edges and good chew. When referring to economics it means sell the kids for food and start scrapping copper. While I appreciate Detroit’s contribution to the pizza world, I’ll still take my NYC/NJ pizza 9 times out of 10.
However….this pizza is really fucking good. The Fennel Concoction is a really good sausage pie, though for something that has fennel pollen and fennel bulb anise taste is muted by the grease and cheese. The Motor City is a great traditional roni pie, but its paired with a hot honey that is completely unnecessary and kills the essence of the pie.
But the king of kings is the Aloha Satellite. Fuck me running. Any description I can provide of this pie will not do it justice. It’s a white pie, which I typically avoid, covered in high-brow ham (tasso, guanciale, serrano) in something like an alfredo topped with thai basil and fermented pineapple. It’s so balanced I get vertigo by comparing other pies to it. One star awarded.
They’ve got a big back patio. They’ve got cornhole. One star awarded.
Nobody was stabbed here recently
Check- for now. One star awarded.
FIVE STAR NEIGHBORHOOD BAR
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