It’s cuffing season. Time to find that special someone and get ready for the cold months ahead. Or maybe you’ve been on the search for a more serious relationship for a while now. Dating in Hoboken isn’t the easiest. Deciding on a restaurant for a first date in Hoboken isn’t any easier.
It’s fair to say the first impression goes a long way when it comes to dating in places like Hoboken or NYC. People are busy.
Finding where the single people are on a Saturday isn’t so hard, but what if there’s a special person you really wanted to impress and show you were serious?
There were a few guides, but they are years old to the point of being outdated.
We consulted residents across Hoboken. Some single, some in relationships. Based on their experiences we are proud to present the official list of the top 5 places for a first date in Hoboken. Places where two people can have a good time while still focusing on each other.
5. Onieals Hoboken – 343 Park Ave
When making a reservation for Onieals in Hoboken for a first date be sure you reserve a table for 2 in the backroom. Like many bars and restaurants in Hoboken, the venue has two main areas and to ensure a successful first date you will definitely want to be in the back area.
The front of Onieals is great for other occasions, but for a first date in Hoboken you’re looking to get to know someone, you’ll want to be in the back area.
Onieals Hoboken Pros
The back area is the perfect combination of elegant ambiance and casual dining. The area is just loud enough to create a vibe that encourages discussion without making you feel like you need to break the silence.
The casual feel will make it not only easy to start conversations (even if it starts with people watching), but you will actually be able to hear your date and hopefully make a true connection.
Food at Onieals in Hoboken is incredible. So that’s obviously a plus. It would be surprising if your date (or yourself) couldn’t find something on their very eclectic menu.
Cocktails are creative and they always have options to please almost everyone. So exploring the drink menu will be fun as well. Even if you end up picking a drink you hate.
A well known name. A place your date has definitely heard of, and although a bit cliché as a first date in Hoboken, it’s about as safe as it gets. Hence the cliché.
Customer service and waitstaff are top-tier at City Bistro. You will not be disappointed in wait time or have to awkwardly flag down waiters for more drinks or the check. They will be back and forth filling your waters like ninjas every 15 minutes.
In other words, City Bistro is a well-oiled machine. Which means timing is everything for them. A reservation is absolutely necessary. And don’t be surprised if ahead of time you are warned you have a 90 minute maximum time limit for your table.
As a final plus, if the date is going well, Onieals does transition into more of a nightlife scene later in the evening. If timed out correctly, and a connection is made, the two of you could end up getting drinks at the bar and staying at Onieals longer than you expected to.
As mentioned above, Onieals can get a little rowdy later in the evening if it is a weekend in Hoboken. It’s a double edged sword. Which is why I mentioned timing things out correctly.
On a Friday or Saturday you’ll want to try to get your reservation for 8pm at the absolute latest. On a weekday, you likely won’t have to worry.
Like most restaurants in Hoboken, Onieals is slightly understaffed at the moment. And for the time being, it seems to be more noticeable there than other bars.
That being said, if you are a talkative person, this could end up being a good thing.
Final thing I will mention is to not be fooled by Onieals slightly divey appearance on the inside. The bill can rack up pretty quickly. Cocktails are close to $20, food is on the higher end, even beer on the tap usually runs $7 or $8 for domestic.
I’m sure breaking the bank wasn’t your biggest concern. (We are talking about a first date in Hoboken after all) But still I felt it was necessary to mention being inexpensive is NOT one of the pros of Onieals in Hoboken.
4. City Bistro Hoboken – 1316 Washington Street
All the way up town in Hoboken is the only true rooftop bar in Hoboken. City Bistro.
Impress your date with one of the most iconic spots in uptown Hoboken.
As long as you make a reservation, getting seated and getting served throughout the night will be a seamless experience.
While City Bistro in Hoboken is slightly more pricey than other restaurants in the area, for the setting you are in you will not feel like you are overpaying.
Fun drinks (frozen rose is a current favorite), extensive menu, and great food.
The atmosphere is ideal for a first date in Hoboken. It is an intimate enough setting but similar to Oneals, the two of you won’t feel as if silence needs to be broken. The low buzz of everyone else talking definitely can remove awkwardness if either of you are feeling a bit shy.
City Bistro Hoboken Cons
As mentioned above City Bistro in Hoboken sometimes will put 90 minute limits on a table. Especially on weekends. While this usually is not a problem, it can be a bit of a buzzkill if the first date is going REALLY well and you two are deep in a conversation about to be broken up by the party waiting for your table.
That being said, like most cons, this can end up being a plus. (I.e. you find out 30 minutes in that your date is a crazy person). In that case the 90-minute rule could be your saving grace.
The final con of going to City Bistro on a first date in Hoboken of course would be location. It may not be as easy to transition into a night of bar hopping given the distance to lower Washington so be sure to keep that in mind.
3. Grand Vin – 500 Grand Street
The Grand Vin in Hoboken is a place for grand gestures. This should be chosen as a first date for a specific type of person, but to many it may come off as a bit much.
If you are on the extravagant side however and feel it should be known, there’s no better way to reveal that trait then to book a reservation at Grand Vin for your first date.
Professional waiters dressed to the nines, great food (I mean the menu is in Italian so you know), and usually a live singer.
Grand Vin Hoboken Pros
If it’s your speed, the extensive wine selection can be a fun way for both you and your date to try something new.
You can be certain your reservation will be taken seriously. And from being seated to handing over the check there will be nothing but professional service.
Grand Vin Hoboken Cons
The restaurant is on the small side. This intimate setting could be a positive thing depending on the situation, but others have said they feel a little closed in at Grand Vin in Hoboken.
As you probably expected, prices at Grand Vin are definitely on the higher end. But it’s a first date in Hoboken sometimes the price has to be paid.
2. Cork City Hoboken – 239 Bloomfield Street
You’ll want to shoot for a weeknight if you take this route. But if you hit Cork City at the right time you could end up having the absolute perfect first date in Hoboken.
Cork City is generally lowkey, allows dogs, music isn’t so loud that you cannot have a conversation. Yet the casual atmosphere doesn’t make it seem like you have to be to focused on conversing alone.
The bar itself is of course a fun experience and provides plenty of conversation starters on its own with it’s wide variety of unique seasonal beers on tap.
Cork City in Hoboken does not serve food so there is no need to make a reservation. Hence the suggestion to go on a weeknight. Not having a reservation/set time slot however can definitely be helpful in letting both you and your date get a little more comfortable.
Cork City Hoboken Pros
Casual bar that will likely lead to an inexpensive yet memorable first date. Loud enough to not feel weird, quiet enough to hear each other.
Dogs. Everyone loves dogs.
The extensive and creative beer selection.
Cork City Hoboken Cons
If you pick the wrong night and the bar is super crowded it may be hard to actually converse with your date and enjoy the experience.
Sometimes people aren’t into beer. If that’s the case Cork City Hoboken would definitely not be the spot for them.
Furthermore, the fact that they don’t serve food could possibly be a con if your date was expecting a more formal outing.
1. The Brass Rail Hoboken – 135 Washington Street
This was a tough decision to make. Which restaurant we would be putting in the number one spot. But after careful consideration, we have decided that The Brass Rail is probably the winner. Mostly because of its predictability.
The Brass Rail in Hoboken wins best place for a first date in Hoboken.
Anytime after 6 the lights will be dim to create an intimate atmosphere. The Brass Rail rarely experiences a nightlife crowd so you can expect the restaurant atmosphere to remain the same throughout the night.
Reservations are easy to make and despite their fair pricing, the food is good and the staff is way more professional than the average waiter at a Hoboken restaurant.
The Brass Rail is somewhere in between fine dining and a casual sit down. Thus making it so predictable.
You can be sure you will be able to find a hightop or a seat table for you and your date to feel like it’s just you two. And as long as you keep ordering drinks, it’s highly unlikely that there will be any sort of time limit for your table.
Brass Rail Hoboken Pros
Location. Being right on Washington street makes it not only easy to find (and likely a place your date has heard of or been to), but this also makes it easy to transition the night into a bar hop around Washington should things head that direction.
Cocktails are fancy. Like leaves and burnt orange peel levels of fancy. Bartenders are great and the cocktails are consistent as they are unique.
The low lighting in Brass Rail almost makes it seem like they are purposely transitioning into a date night location.
Along with the bartenders, the wait staff is incredible. They dress and act professional while also being able to tell when is and isn’t a good time to ask if you need another drink.
The Brass Rail Hoboken Cons
It can be a little low energy at times. BUT, if you sense this is a problem, you can simply wrap it up after the check and head to a place that is a little more lively. And it will be PG surroundings.
While there won’t be any actual rules or anything said to move you out, you may almost feel like you are being rushed. In reality however, the Brass Rail in Hoboken is simply efficient.
They will likely have your order out to your table before you finish your first drink. This might not necessarily be a problem, but it’s worth noting that unlike Grand Vin, The Brass Rail is definitely less of a show.
It’s worth noting that Brass Rail Hoboken has a strange rule. It makes sense why they do it. But until the full party has arrived they will not seat any members of the party. Even if that party is only 2. So if you arrive early you may want to wait outside or at the bar. Better yet it may be best to arrive together.