374 Newark Avenue
Photos by Terri Saulino Bish
A few years ago, a ramshackle bar stood at Newark and Sixth in the shadow of the NJ Turnpike overpass. The sign, “Sheila’s,” hung at a rakish angle from the roof. In 2011, Patrick Healy, son of former Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, bought it. Patrick’s sister Suzanne works the bar and his brother Jerry, Jr. is also involved in the operation.
Full disclosure: I’m a semi-regular at this friendly, now-thriving neighborhood pub.
Terri and I visit at Happy Hour on a Wednesday. Dickinson High School is up on the hill, and kids congregate on the sidewalk waiting for the bus. The chalkboard out front advertises corned beef and cabbage, the Wednesday special. It’s about five days before St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s a fitting menu option. On Thursday the special is roast beef with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach; on Friday, meatloaf.
Johnny Cash is playing in the background, and the regulars have already gathered. The TVs offer a choice of baseball or ABC News. The décor is vintage bar—an old jukebox, black-and-white shots of boxing matches, beer signs, and a picture of a young Mayor Healy in a running race.
Even though Healy’s is a classic watering hole, it’s a great place for always-good, affordable food. I’ve never been disappointed, whether it’s a burger and fries, BLT, or—my favorite—arugula salad with chicken cutlet. It offers two large cutlets. I always take one home.
Other standbys include chili, sliders, nachos, quesadillas, hot dogs, cheese steak, wraps, hot sandwiches, and entrees like chicken parm and short ribs. You get the picture. Eddie Torres is the chef responsible for these tasty, honest, “home-cooked” meals.
Not on the menu at Healy’s Tavern is the reason most people love it: Healy’s is the friendliest place around. When Patrick walked in with his 15-month-old twins, Will and George in separate toddler seats, the bar went gaga. The kids knew Elle and John who were working the bar that night, and patrons wanted to take selfies with the twins.
At the bottom of the menu is the gracious farewell, “As always, thank you for stopping by.” That “stopping by” has the ring of a neighbor dropping in for a cup of coffee.
When I want to have a cold beer, consistently satisfying food, meet up with friends, jaw with the bartender or whomever is sitting next to me, and enjoy the overall vibe of an urban corner bar,
Healy’s is the place.—Kate Rounds