The phrase #GTL (gym, tan, laundry) was made famous by the sometimes sophomoric, sometimes entertaining, boys on the MTV reality show “The Jersey Shore”. For some, the “gym, tan, laundry-life” is the only exposure they’ve had to the state that boasts the most shopping malls in one area. But New Jersey is more than extremely tan muscular bros and their equally sun-kissed female counterparts. That’s a fact. Also true: New Jersey is so cool that Bon Jovi named a whole album after the state with the most diners in the world.
As we explored New Jersey bars, we found that there are a lot of interesting facts about New York’s underrated border state. Facts so interesting, and not alternative, that we had to share with our readers.
FACT: Cool people are from New Jersey
New Jersey birthed some really famous people. Characters on the Jersey Shore not included. Not only was Jon Bon Jovi (obviously) born in the Garden State. Whitney Houston would always love her home state. Even Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, hails from New Jersey. And while Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino might be the most pop-culture celeb from Jersey, Bruce Springsteen IS the epitome of New Jersey.
FACT: The capital of New Jersey is “FUN”
Just like the fist-pumping cast of the “Jersey Shore”, the state knows how to have fun. The state hosted the very first organized baseball game in 1845. If that’s not fun enough, the state also built the first drive-in movie theater. If you’re still shaking your head at our idea of “fun”, how about the fact that New Jersey has the oldest and longest boardwalk in the nation. Atlantic City was so fun that those lovable lugs from MTV spent some time at New Jersey bars by the water.
FACT: Best bars in New Jersey aren’t at the Shore
What’s missing from the oddball facts about the Garden State? Food, of course. Fast fact – one of our favorite New Jersey bars isn’t at the Shore. It’s in a small community-centric township called Cranford. With a local vibe, Cranford separates itself from its nearest big-city, Newark. Its streets are lined with trees, and parks dot corners in almost every neighborhood.
With all that green, plus warm summers and mild winters, it’s no wonder that spots with great outdoor patios are the hottest of New Jersey bars.
FACT: Tex-Mex is the best-Mex
Okay, so maybe that’s just an opinion. But based on the facts listed and our opinion, River and Rail Cantina is our go-to on the hot list of New Jersey bars. First, you’ve got this enchanting town. Add in one-of-a-kind patio seating. AND fantastic Tex-Mex food. Based on these facts, River and Rail can’t be beat.
In case you need more evidence, may we present the menu. Churro-style French toast, Enchiladas Banderras, and Rio Grande Nachos are just a few of the stand-outs. (You know how we feel about nachos.) River and Rail’s nachos are out of bounds: housemade chips, perfect blend of jack and cheddar cheeses, specialty guac, and customizable with your favorite tex-Mex protein or veggies, because not everybody wants carne.
Don’t stop at the nachos. With several Mexican-inspired salads, a trio of soups, and a plethora of big plates, River and Rail has something to fill the emptiest of bellies. Take the Mole Braised Short Ribs as evidence to substantiate our claims. Fork-tender short ribs rubbed with a tangy mole sauce and served with Spanish rice and homemade beans. It’s a delicious meal worthy of any celebrity, not just those born in the Garden State.
FACT: The song should be “100 Bottles of Tequila”
This post is about New Jersey bars, so naturally we need to talk about tequila. River and Rail has over 100 tequilas on their menu. 100! That’s a lot of tequila. It makes us think that the song should go “100 bottles of tequila on the wall”. Catchy, right? Azuñia Blanco organic, Reposado organic, Añejo, and Black, our 2-year extra-aged Añejo, are in good company on River and Rail’s tequila menu. Ask the bartender for an “Off The Rails Margarita” with Azuñia. It’s a smoky treat of Reposado, Mezcal, honey, lime, with a not-so-traditional bbq salt rim.
River and Rail is a “must-eat at” New Jersey bar. And that’s a fact. If you don’t trust our judgment, go see for yourself. Insert fist-pump here.
FACT: We love to tell you where to eat.
Not everyone is headed to New Jersey this weekend. If you find yourself lost in Portland, Orange County, Dallas, or Sarasota, we’ve got a unique dining experience for you. Check out the “Where to Go” blog posts on our website. If we haven’t come to your city and you think there’s an Azuñia-slinging spot worthy of several hundred words on our website, hit us up. We’d love to feature your favorite watering hole (especially if they’ve got good food)!