For the New York area’s two local football teams, this season should be filled with lots of interesting drama to keep fans engaged through the winter.
For the New York Giants and the defending Super Bowl champs, the question is whether Eli Manning and Co. can go all the way and pull off a repeat. Big Blue is already considered to be a strong contender for the upcoming Super Bowl and some diehard fans predict that if the team can go all the way like they did last year, we could be looking at the death of one NFL dynasty in New England and the birth of a new one in the Meadowlands.
Meanwhile, the New York Jets, the area’s other home team, could have a quarterback competition and controversy on its hands this season. Some fans believe the much-hyped acquisition of Tim Tebow in the off-season will pressure starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to step up and live up to his full potential this year. Others predict Sanchez will be slowly edged out of the starting line-up and Tebow will eventually become the team’s go-to man.
For diehard fans, these aren’t small matters to be discussed over a bag of Orville Redenbacher’s microwave popcorn in the living room. These are issues to be hashed out over a cold beer, a plate of hot wings, and a room full of opinionated fellow fans armed with statistics and factoids from the annals of NFL history. And there’s only one place where you can get all that – a sports bar.
Fortunately for Jersey City and Hoboken fans, this area has several great places to watch the games this upcoming season where the food will be reasonably priced, the drinks will be chilled, and the debate will be spirited. In anticipation for the upcoming season, several local restaurants and bars plan to offer various “game day specials” to get patrons in the mood for the games.
Where to go
Liberty Lounge & Grill bar owner Dawn Kaplan and her staff have been finalizing which prizes and other specials will be offered during the NFL season.
Long a popular hangout for sports fans, Liberty attracts baseball, football, and soccer devotees. The bar also happens be close to where Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his family live, which has added a new mystique to the bar in recent years.
“Football has a different energy than baseball,” Kaplan said. “People are more engaged in football when they watch it. I think the season is going to be really great this year. Hoboken is becoming more of a football town, I think, because there are a couple of Giants living here now.”
The Liberty is located on 14th Street (see sidebar).
Will Kelly, the manager at Jersey City’s Skinner’s Loft, said fans are less cutthroat there.
“We’re not a big sports bar. It’s a little more subdued here, I guess,” said Kelly. “I notice that during the football season the crowd tends to be coupled fans. They usually come and camp out on a Sunday afternoon or a Monday night and just hang out and watch the game and cheer. We don’t get too many younger people or guys coming in droves who just want to drink and watch football.”
Fans, he said, come for Skinner’s “nice draft beers” and stay for the games.
Skinner’s is located on Newark Avenue (see sidebar).
Several bars in both towns are seen as headquarters for college and out-of-the-area teams. Hoboken has, for years, had a popular Pittsburgh Steelers club that can be found on-line.
As for the NFL, both local teams will start the 2012-2013 season at home at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. The Giants face the rival Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 8:30 p.m. The Jets make their debut on Sunday, Aug. 9 against the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m.
To borrow a phrase from the recently concluded Olympics, let the games begin.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rooting for the home teams in JC and Hoboken
There are several great places to watch NFL games this season. The following Jersey City and Hoboken bars and restaurants will show all games this season, including all Giants and Jets games.
360 Marin Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ07302
292 Barrow St.
Jersey City, NJ 07302
502 Washington Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ 07310
146 Newark Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Biggie’s Clam Bar
318 Madison St.
Three As Bar & Grill
500 Grand St.
Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery
800 Jackson St.
Mikie Squared Bar & Grill
616 Washington St.
Stinky Sullivan’s Bar & Grill
600 Washington St.
Liberty Lounge & Grill
61 14th St.
616 Grand St.