Home Food + DrinkBars Nucky Thompson’s Moonshine Speakeasy Opens in Jersey City

Nucky Thompson’s Moonshine Speakeasy Opens in Jersey City

by Campbell Loeber
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Last fall, Hudson Hound debuted in the pedestrian plaza after Talde closed. Already a long-time New York favorite — with sister locations in the West Village and the Financial District— the Irish-American bar and restaurant aims to bring modern and easygoing fare to Jersey City. Since September, owners Jason O’Brien and Donal Crosbie, longtime Jersey City residents themselves, have expertly navigated through the challenging process of launching a restaurant amidst industry uncertainty. But, with brighter days on the horizon and NJ bars opening once more, O’Brien and Crosbie are excited to introduce “Nucky Thompson’s,” a moonshine speakeasy within the broader restaurant. Read on to learn more about the new Jersey City-based speakeasy Nucky Thompson’s that opened in early May 2021.  

Nucky Thompson’s Moonshine

{Photo credit: @nuckys_jc}

A Renovation Fit for the Roaring ‘20s

Nucky Thompson’s Moonshine

{Photo credit: @nuckys_jc}

Named for the fictional bootlegger at the center of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire who was in turn inspired by an actual Atlantic City crime boss, Nucky’s embodies the spirit of the roaring twenties. The speakeasy’s decor embraces a Prohibition-era aesthetic from the time you walk through the (secret) door. Exposed brick, repurposed wood accents, and a bootlegger’s keg wall are all cast in tasteful mood lighting. 

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nucky thompsons moonshine

And of course, it wouldn’t be a moonshine speakeasy without a few decorative mason jars strategically staged throughout. Long tables and smaller high tops provide room for groups of all sizes. The ambiance is fun and friendly — a nod to New Jersey history not to be missed. The renovation of the restaurant’s lower level represents a departure from the nightclub atmosphere of Miss Wong’s the speakeasy’s former tenant, though the owners note that visitors can still expect good food, good music, and a good time. 

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What’s on the Menu 

nucky thompsons moonshine

Right now, most menus are shared between the main floor of the restaurant, and Nucky’s brunch is currently reserved for upstairs dining with Hudson Hound. O’Brien and Crosbie ultimately envision a menu specific to the speakeasy, with the plan of testing specialty cocktails downstairs as well. 

In this way, Nucky’s will function like a tasting room of sorts, with three or four seasonal cocktails available to try at any time. If fan favorites are established, perhaps the drinks will be officially added to Hudson Hound’s larger cocktail list. 

This past weekend — Nucky’s first in operation — the featured drink was the “Lady Lavender,” a gin cocktail enhanced with lavender syrup and lemon juice. Though this was endorsed as the drink du jour, Nucky’s offers an array of interesting cocktails. One patron claimed that the “JC Java” was “…the best espresso [inspired] martini I’ve ever had,” and the waitstaff also recommended the “Henry,” a coconut-infused option, as one of their personal favorites. 

Food can currently be ordered to the speakeasy off of Hudson Hound’s bar, dinner, and dessert menus. So, whether you’re in the mood for a substantial meal or just in the neighborhood for drinks and something sweet, Nucky’s can accommodate. 

The bar menu contains finger foods like fried pickles, dry-rubbed chicken wings, and empanadas. Classics from pubs across the pond (such as fish and chips) make an appearance as well. 

From the main dinner menu, the chef (Crosbie) recommends the house-made chicken liver pâté as “a classic old-school sharing plate” and the seasonal cavatelli pasta entree. 

The “Old Favorites” section lists Irish-inspired plates including Shepards Pie, “Irish-Style” Chicken Curry, and house-made soda bread. At the end of your meal, the entire waitstaff swears by topping off dinner with the sticky toffee pudding (and if you’re lucky, they might just share the dessert’s secret ingredient). 

See More: Updates on New Location of Frankie + Ava’s in Hoboken

nucky thompsons moonshine

One not-so-secret ingredient at O’Brien and Crosbie’s establishment is accessibility. The hope, according to O’Brien, is that Nucky Thompson’s will come to be understood as “a hospitable, easygoing place with nice people, nice vibes and good cocktails” open to all members of the community.  

In the future, O’Brien and Crosbie hope that special events will be able to make a comeback. They look forward to potentially hosting family-style dinner clubs (complete with a special menu, open to any who would like to partake) at the speakeasy. Likewise, they would like to welcome private parties, live music, and open mic enthusiasts as soon as the circumstances will safely allow. 

Seating at Nucky Thompson’s is currently first-come, first-serve. Hudson Hound is open Tuesday to Sunday, with the option for delivery. 

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