Corkscrew Bar & Grill: A Jersey City Staple Since 1976

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There are bars and then there are community spaces where friends gather to enjoy a few laughs over a couple of beers. One such bar is Corkscrew Bar and Grill in Jersey City. Corkscrew Bar and Grill is so much more than just the neighborhood bar, it’s a sacred place to the regulars who go there to dig into delicious burgers, sing their hearts out on karaoke nights, and make memories they’ll remember for years to come. This Jersey City Heights staple is located at 61 Congress Street, on the corner of Webster Avenue and Congress Street, just three blocks away from the Hoboken Elevator/Light Rail. To many Jersey City residents, Corkscrew is a home away from home, with a cozy atmosphere, good company, and good eats for locals.

From 1976 Till Now

Corkscrew Bar & Grill was established in 1976 and has gone through many changes in name, appearance, and management since its early days. Some of the older names were Little John’s, and Lady L’s. The current owner, Robert Erani, always had an interest in owning a business that provided a service and was part of the community.

Robert is originally from Brooklyn. While working a job in the downtown Jersey City area, a colleague brought him to Corkscrew Bar & Grill and introduced him to people in the business. “The bar struck me as a part of the community, but one with a need to evolve. It was more than a little rough around the edges when I visited in 2003. I had early thoughts of the potential to eventually expand upstairs, and with the right efforts, it could become a place where families could come with their kids. I’ve enjoyed bringing my daughters to the bar for Brunch or an early dinner over the years,” Robert told Hoboken Girl.

It’s no surprise that Robert too, fell for the charm of the bar. Although he did not have any prior experience in the restaurant industry, Robert made the decision to purchase the bar in 2004. And 16 years later, Corkscrew is still going strong.

The Food

corkscrew bar burgers

{Photo credit: @thecorkscrewbar}

By far, the most popular menu items are the burgers. “We use fresh, short-rib blend patties from Pat LaFriada that we believe are the best burgers in Jersey City Heights, if not Jersey City,” says Nicole, the Corkscrew’s operations manager. “The most popular signature burger we offer is our SmokeHouse Burger with cheddar cheese, smoked onions, sriracha aioli, moonshine BBQ sauce, and bacon.”

It’s important to note that there is a Build-Your-Own Burger option, with short rib, grilled chicken, or veggie as the protein choices, which is another crowd favorite.

The rest of the menu features classic American food with a twist. Chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, pizza, wraps, pasta, and salads are available. What stands out from the rest, however,  are the buffalo cheese fries, Cajun waffle fries, and quesadilla. 

For brunch, the chicken and waffle dish is a must-try, along with the pulled bacon on a biscuit with poached eggs and spicy hollandaise sauce.

Also, the food at Corkscrew is a must-try during holidays. The kitchen rolls out themed food specials like Shrimp Po’ Boy sandwiches and gumbo for Mardi Gras, corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, a Happy Holidays Burger for Christmas, tacos for Cinco de Mayo, and a rack of short ribs for the 4th of July.

See More: A Visit To White Star Bar in Jersey City

Beer + Cocktails

Lovers of indulgent libations fear not, Corkscrew also has an extensive beer and cocktail selection.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is our local beer selection, and also happen to be the most enjoyable business relationships we have,”  Nicole told Hoboken Girl. “They’ve helped us out a lot during the COVID-19 shut down and we’re committed to supporting them as much as we can. We offer a variety of fresh beers on tap and in cans from 902 Brewing {based in Jersey City}, Bolero Snort {based in Carlstadt right by the MetLife Stadium}, Departed Soles {based in Jersey City}, and Ghosthawk {from Clifton}. We also keep a rotating inventory from Jersey Girl, Flying Fish, and any good local brews.”

Read More: Your NEW Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Dining in Hoboken + Jersey City

Aside from the epic beer selection, the cocktails and margaritas are delicious. “When it comes to cocktails the most popular one by far is our ‘JourneyMan Barrel Aged Old Fashioned.’ We have a five-gallon, charred oak barrel that we keep on a counter behind the bar. We make the cocktail in the barrel using ‘JourneyMan Rye,’ a multi-spiced and flavored cherry liquor, as well as a mixture of bitters that we allow to age in the barrel,” Nicole said. “We serve them over a large ice cube with a black cherry and orange peel. It’s a modern take on the traditional ‘Old Fashioned.’”

A Sports Haven for Locals

Now, beyond that mouthwatering food we’ve mentioned and those indulgent drinks, Corkscrew is also a local spot for any and all sports lovers in the neighborhood. In the fall, there is only one place to be during football season if you live in The Heights and that’s Corkscrew. Inside the bar are nine flat screens and free wifi — a football lover’s dream. On Sunday game days, customers can get their hands on $2 pints and $8 pitchers of PBR, in addition to great food specials. 

Although Corkscrew is known for being the go-to sports bar in the neighborhood, the locale has also curated a weekly schedule of events for customers when locals can visit in-person again. The usual line-up for live events includes Open Mic Tuesdays, Karaoke Wednesdays, Trivia Thursdays, Live Performance Brunch Saturdays. There are also periodic performances from live local bands about three times a month. Of course, with COVID-19, these have all paused/been adapted, but we’re looking forward to when the time comes to enjoy them once again. 

Why Corkscrew Stands Out

It takes a special bar to make locals feel at home, to provide a safe, and fun space. 

At the end of the day, it’s those familiar, comforting vibes that really make Corkscrew a special place to be. “It’s our personal relationship we have with our guests. We have such a great mixture of customers from teachers, to local musicians and artists, to our neighbors and local families,” Nicole shared. “As one customer put, ‘It’s impossible to come into Corkscrew and not see someone you know.’”

With the difficulties that COVID-19 posed for businesses like Corkscrew Bar, it was the love and support of the locals that kept them afloat. “Although we’re not a big bar, we are very fortunate for the community that we are part of, and for how much they support us. The love they showed the staff here through the shutdown via donations and daily support was beyond amazing. We owe every one of them a thank you,” Nicole shared.

Currently, Corkscrew is open for outdoor dining and is offering pickup and delivery. For pickup, it is best to call the bar at 201-239-0087.

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Victoria is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square and part-time in Jersey City. Through playing softball for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, Hoboken Fire Museum/Hoboken Historical Museum, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.


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