Back in March, Jersey City welcomed a new, all-American eatery with a “Southern soul” to its restaurant roster called Boots + Bones. Nearly two months later, the 116 Newark Avenue restaurant is proving that Southern-style eats aren’t the only trick up its sleeve — or should we say… under its boot? Read the following sentences in a whisper: on Friday, May 5th Boots + Bones officially opened the doors to its super-secret speakeasy called Under the Boot. This permanent expansion operates Thursdays – Sundays, featuring a selection of small bites, live music, and of course, drinks. Read on for what we know about Under the Boot, a new speakeasy open underneath Boots + Bones in Jersey City.
(Photo Credit: Zack Perl)
The Under the Boot Speakeasy
Under the Boot kicked off its grand opening underneath Boots + Bones Friday, May 5th, at 5PM. The Boots + Bones basement bash was the first of many to come in this speakeasy venue, as Under the Boot is a permanent addition to the semi-new Jersey City restaurant. Under the Boot will operate Thursdays – Sundays, with hours varying between a 2AM or 3AM closure, depending on the day.
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The menu boasts a curated selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails. There’s also a variety of small bites, which take an upscale approach to the upstairs menu at Boots + Bones. Think: avocado deviled eggs, oysters, fried shrimp skewers. Prices on the bites range from $9-$19.
As for the vibes, there’s much to be excited about. Under the Boot describes itself as a “Southern twist on a historic concept…awoken by effervescent highballs and spirited conversation.” Now THAT is how you write a sentence. A teaser posted to Instagram evokes the same sophisticated imagery, with an interior that leans into a dark + sultry ambiance. Check out the preview here.
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You can learn all about Under the Boot on its website. Keep scrolling to learn more about its parent restaurant, Boots + Bones, which opened back in March 2023.
Timeline of the Boots + Bones Takeover
Construction began earlier last year on the Grove Square complex. Basiles Pizza, a Hoboken favorite, opened there recently, and next to that, Grove Station Bar remains open. Joining them on the other side – formerly The Bistro – now Boots + Bones.
Boots + Bones launched its social media account mid-June, 2022 once news broke of the opening. The first post on the new Instagram reads, “The word is out! Thanks @jerseydigs for our 1st piece of press! …Look for more about @bootsandbonesbbq and #followthesmoke.”
On March 24th, Boots + Bones held its ribbon cutting with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Boots + Bones Partners Kenneth Caulfield, Jeff Lam, Chris Byrne, Executive Chef Kenny Callaghan, and HDSID Executive Director Rachel Sieg. Since then, Boots + Bones has rolled out its brunch, lunch, dinner, and kids’ menus, each of which has an array of classic Southern-inspired dishes.
Behind The Scenes
The elevated barbecue joint, which is owned by the same company that operates nearby restaurants The Ashford and Six26 Lounge, also launched its website around the same time. Jeff Lam and Kenny Caulfield are partners in Boots + Bones and collaborated on the design. Jeff helped work on The Ashford in JC, and the team has brought in Chef Kenny Callaghan who, according to his profile, is a “pioneer of urban barbecue, ushering old school techniques and rich flavors into New York City for more than 10 years.”
B+B’s website states that the logo is “A Taste of the South”. Callaghan previously worked at NYC’s Union Square Café, Jazz Standard, which has since closed down, and opened Blue Smoke, an American South restaurant in Battery Park, in 2001 before leaving in 2013 to “pursue an array of new culinary opportunities.” With Jeff Lam and Kenny Caulfield at the helm, and Kenny Callaghan in the kitchen, Boots + Bones is a restaurant you want on your radar.
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Grove Station has daily food and drink specials, including happy hour until 9PM, and karaoke Thursday to Saturday. The Historic Downtown Jersey City Farmer’s Market is from 4PM to 8PM Mondays and Thursdays. And of course, there are plenty of other must-try restaurants near Grove Street, such as Porta, Skinner’s Loft, and Frankie.
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