Monday, April 14, 2008

B is for BYOB

we tried to go out to a bar for a friends birthday a few weeks ago. the bartender was super cool and nice, but he kicked us out. well, actually, he kicked out this guy here (apparently he's not "of drinking age" or something):

This is my son. You may not have him.

Getting kicked out got me thinking and reminiscing about Hoboken, NJ, where Wife and I met. It was very hard to come by a liquor license in Hoboken ("the birth place of baseball and Frank Sinatra"). From wikipedia: Hoboken was once known as the city with "a bar on every corner" and in fact was once listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the city with "Most bars in a square mile". There were well over 200 bars in town in the first half of the 20th century. There are still well over 100 now. Hoboken limits by law the number of liquor licenses to the number of blocks and the limit is usually reached. Additionally, no license can be moved to within 200 feet of another bar or 500 feet from a church, which makes it nearly impossible to open a new bar (except in newly renovated perimeter regions of the city).

It's no surprise that running a restaurant is a business with a very thin profit margin. Combine that with the... uh, interesting rules about the liquor licenses in Hoboken... created a really cool thing in that little city: BYOB. Lots and lots and lots of restaurants (basically all those that couldn't get a liquor license) would let you bring your own. And they wouldn't care what you brought! bottle of wine? bring it! six pack of beer? bring it! bottle of vodka & 1 liter of sprite? bring it!

it made it totally fun - and different! - to go out to eat. we used to stop by any of the numerous places to pick up beer, wine, or hard alcohol, then . . .

go to zafra, the cuban place, and get their awesome empanadas & yucca fries. we'd bring a bottle of red wine and they'd make us some fresh sangria! and yes, the two of us would finish the bottle, every time, no doubt.

how about picking up some chimay and hitting the chinese food place? the best chinese food ever at Precious on washington street.

or a bottle of red and grab some indian food? the options were nearly endless.

we should focus some future post on the sham businesses in Hoboken that were considered mob fronts. or more posts on the food there! or the drinking! or the hubbub about saint patty's day! many options await.


Reese McG said...

ahhh hobroken. LOL.
i miss it. remember the time that we played frisbee on the grass by the river and the old lackawanna station? i threw the frisbee and it flew ever so gracefully into the little space beneath the fence and out into the murky waters of the hudson where it floated away. and so our fun was ended and we went to oddfellows and had an abita purple haze and a plate of bbq shrimp.

good times.....

jay mcgee said...

I will never forget that. you still owe me a frisbee. and a game of toss!! :)

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Here's a variation on the theme:

  Miss it. Remember
  We played frisbee on the grass.
  Old Lackawanna.

jay mcg said...

anonymous, i...
i wish i knew who you are,
cuz you made me laugh