The Ashford

For those blissfully unaware, there is a bar/club/restaurant/gay bar/AFI album that recently opened on Newark Ave called The Ashford.  It wasn’t always called The Ashford. It was originally going to be the new location for the defunct Hoboken bro-bar 1-REPUBLIK, who was more or less pushed out of town for a litany of violations by the ABC.

People freaked the fuck out when they heard 1-REPUBLIK, possibly the d0uch1est bar 1n H0b0k3n was coming to JC. To say the initial reception was cautious is probably an understatement. The project quickly rebranded to The Ashford, and in late 2018 residents were treated to a gigantic box of Drakkar Noir standing where the old Rainbow was. They quickly fit in with the community, pissing off no one else, and no one mentioned them again pissed a ton of people off and are currently in some Mexican standoff with half of JC.

Things quickly went from meh to ugh when they attached a problematic dress code to their New Year’s Eve party on their website.  After taking the dress code down from their website, they decided it would be a good idea to instead blow up a giant placard of their dress code and put it out front of their establishment.  This coincided with a less official policy to just not let in ugly people.

The shit storm eventually hit social media (follow me on IG #Trashford) and they took down the sign, which ownership blamed on an “oversight”. Unfortunately after this “oversight” was sighted, the fucking thing went back up.  Once it hit the actual press (very low bar here) it came down for good and the owner went on the local blog apology tour. All of our lives instantly became better knowing that we finally solved racism.

On the big list of things that need fixin’, eliminating barriers to entry for the ill-dressed into shitty bars they don’t want to go to is pretty close to the bottom.  Its like replacing a smoke detector in someone’s house who lives several blocks away. There’s merit in it…but maybe we fix these 100 other things first. Nevertheless, we don’t want our neighbors to burn to death and if spending the least amount of effort humanly possible (read: putting some goofy shit on Instagram) can highlight a problem that eventually gets addressed, well that’s cool.  It’s also just kinda fun to shit on such a douchey place that thinks so highly of itself..

I’m a big proponent of not talking shit before you try something, even if I don’t always live up to that standard (read: The Boil; Doshe)  Before you shit on something, you should try it.  Don’t not go to some place because it looks like a hole in the wall, or because it sounds weird, or looks weird.  Everything has its time and place, everyone deserves an honest shot. People who hold their nose when they’re presented with something like, say, chicken feet or oysters, miss out on some of the greatest experiences in life. These boners will probably die sad and alone, surrounded by cats as they gradually devour the grey flesh of their former owner, before inevitably turning on one another, and ultimately themself.

I’m not perfect. I haven’t been to The Ashford, which makes me a hypocrite.  It also makes me logically consistent. The Ashford deserves the same courtesy it extends to its potential guests.  Which is to say, it deserves your judgment and bias. Do not feel bad about having judgment about this bar before trying it because that’s exactly what they’re doing to you with their goofy fucking dress code.  Same goes to Zeppelin Hall. Same goes for Surf City.  (Disclaimer: I love cheap frozen drinks and rum floaters, so I’m still going to go there.  I’m not perfect). The Ashford specifically said it wanted to be representative of the community, and it came out guns ablazin’ bringing that exclusionary Hoboken shit to JC.  

Even if you give them benefit of every doubt – that they’re not anything with ist at the end of it – they are guilty of thinking what they offer is has any type of appeal to people in 2019.  This place is 10 years too late. A bar’s quality is no longer measured by how big the space is, how many sick-brah Fireball shots you offer, or how many flat screens you can slap on a vertical surface.  Great Gatsby shit is not cool any more. In fact, people now make fun of dudes for wearing Fedoras.  Except Lou Bega, who was grandfathered in.

For me, I have a very simple rule of thumb for judging the strength of a restaurants menu: if you serve some variation of pasta with alfredo sauce and cajun chicken, you are a garbage establishment. Run as far as you can from that place. For context, this is the dish that allowed Guy Fieri  to hijack an entire TV channel.

The Ashford proudly serves this dish.  

I haven’t had it – because I haven’t fucking gone – but many can recall a time they had, when either really high and making food at home, or being really high and going to an Applebee’s. If your palate has never experienced this just try cracking some fresh pepper on your teeth and cumming in your own mouth.  

The dress code ALMOST makes sense from a purely business position.  They are trying to create demand from a clientele they deem to be more profitable.  But the downside is that the optics are shit and in taking this position you risk pissing off a ton of people.  This is the result of that decision bearing fruit. Your outrage and decision to not patronize their establishment is a fundamental part of this equation in a capitalist society.  That is the consumers only leverage, so don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for flexing your muscle because that’s what The Ashford is doing in their own way.

My recommendation is to wait until a critical mass of your friends say “you should toootally check out the Ashford, its sooooo good”.  Let it become unavoidable. Let it become a place you HAVE to go to. When it becomes the place that every goddamn 30th birthday party happens at, then go.  But don’t just give it a shot, make them earn a shot.

So at this point I was going to just end this rant, put a picture up of something relevant, like Guy Fieri birthing Alfredo onto Bobby Flay’s chest, and call it a day.  But, something just happened to me.

I’m going to give you some real life Nice Things real life insight, which translates to me just ranting about something more general, not JC specific.  So if you’re interested in reading something like that, you can click here to go to the next post. But, this is literally a 1000 word rant, so if you’re not into that sort of thing you should skip and not support my self indulgence.

I created Nice Things because I want us to have nice things. So if you enjoyed what you read, share it with your friends.  You can follow me on Instagram @NiceThingsJC

If you’re interested in writing and have something to say, send a partially cogent email to NiceThingsJC@gmail.com

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