A friend had a guest visiting from London, so of course we had to show the guy the staples of Jersey City. We crammed 3 different locations into one night: Taphaus, Archer and Golden Cicada. Each one represents a different kind of scene or crowds in Jersey City.
First of all, Taphaus. Taphaus is a restaurant primarily known for its beer, but also serves up craft cocktails and American eats. With local brews and a stunning view of Manhattan, it was a great place to bring an out-of-towner. I ate a lamb burger– a little dry but delicious with feta and onions. The Gorgonzola Bacon burger was also really good, and it was what I originally ordered, but I traded with Alex because the gorgonzola burger is gargantuan compared to the lady-sized lamb burger that he ordered.
To wash down the burger, I took a flight of four beers. They were B. Nektar Zombie Killer, Angry Erik: Erik the Orange, Sweetwater 420, and Mispillion River Pineapple Express.
B. Nektar Zombie Killer is a Cherry Hard Cider, and it shows; it’s pink, its sweet, and extremely carbonated. I imagine it would be really refreshing to lay in the hot sun and have a Zombie Killer, but it’s not really a cider for a burger.
Erik the Orange is a seasonal ale by Angry Erik Brewing . It’s brewed with oranges, but to me it didn’t taste much of the orange. It tastes pretty much like a standard light ale, slightly bitter, etc. but with a hint of orange. A nice beer if you are a classic beer drinker who’s looking to branch out, but only a little bit.
Sweetwater 420 is another seasonal pale ale from Atlanta, Georgia. This one was much less bitter than a classic hoppy ale and it made for very easy drinking. It’s not overly powerful in the flavor department, but I would gladly sit in an inflatable tube and float down the river with Sweetwater 420 in my hand.
And now we arrive at the final, and my favorite of these beers: Mispillion River Pineapple Express. It has a slight flavor of pineapple, but it doesn’t detract from the well-known bitterness of an IPA. Sadly, this gem was only brewed once so there’s a limited amount. The Mispillion website still lists it as a draft in their tasting room, so if you’re in Delaware (or Jersey City) I’d highly recommend that you find it and try it!
From Taphaus we took a walk to the Exchange Place Boardwalk for our guest’s obligatory touristy photos of World Trade Center at sunset. No judging though, because I’ve lived here for a year and I still take pictures of the skyline every time I go past. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I take a lot of photos of WTC. #SorryNotSorry
Next up our group went to The Archer, a cozy, craft-cocktail bar, filled with local connoisseurs. This was my second visit to the bar, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite for sure. First drink: Invisible Gin. My god, was this drink refreshing. It’s bright and tropical tasting because of the pineapple and lemon. Maybe I’m a little biased because gin is my favorite liquor and lemon is one of my favorite flavors of anything, but if I was on a desert island and given one choice of cocktail– it might just be this one.
[Intermission for a round of vodka shots. What else do you expect when hanging out with Polish people, eh?]
The next cocktail I had at The Archer was called Coast to Coast– another lemon-y drink! I’ve got a theme going on, apparently. This one is such easy drinking, you may not even realize it’s got liquor in it. It tastes basically like juice and lemonade. For me it was such easy drinking that I drained the glass before I had the chance to take a picture. It was really cute too: pink, served in a large wine glass with ice, garnished with a blackberry. You’ll just have to use your imagination (or go try it for yourself).
When we finished our fantastic cocktails at The Archer, we made our way to a long-time Jersey City staple: The Golden Cicada bar. It was actually featured recently in a New York Times article about the revolving door of development in the area. Alex and his friends have been there plenty of times, but this was my first time setting foot in the dive bar. There’s karaoke (from YouTube) and local “intellectuals” singing and making friends with strangers and drinking quite excessively. Trying the infamous Cicada Shot earns you a trophy necklace with– you guessed it– a cicada on it. I’ve heard legends about the *ahem* flavorful attributes of the shot. I was hesitant to try it to say the least, but our friend was buying the round, so I agreed.
[The description of the taste of the Cicada Shot has been redacted so that I don’t scare anyone out of trying it.]
I earned my cicada necklace after a year of living in Jersey City, and I finally feel like an official resident. If you ever visit the area, I’d recommend you try it for yourself. But, if you’re too scared, The Archer and Taphaus are also good options to get a picture of the local crowd.