Monday, August 19, 2013

Surf City - Jersey City

Because I'm from Jersey City, NJ, I don't know what the general consensus is around the nation when it comes to my hometown.  Sure, we all know NJ is the "Armpit of America."  Believe me, I've been on the NJ Turnpike and I know exactly why we have such a smelly reputation.  When it comes to Jersey City, I've heard different views.  On one hand, Jersey City is an urban area filled with low lives and gang bangers.  On the other hand, Jersey City is a gateway to Hoboken and NYC, on the rise downtown, and the perfect place to raise a family.  Believe it or not, both of those statements are true.  Just like any major city, it's just a matter of where you go (and where you never would) and who you associate yourself with.  But, never in my life did I expect to find such an awesome place so close to home and right under my nose.  Surf City is an AMAZING location and, last week, we spent three days there because we just couldn't get enough!

We had multiple friends tell us about Surf City and every review was positive.  We were intrigued, but never took the time to drive 15 minutes away and check it out.  Looking back, I wish we had dived in sooner because we missed out on so many beautiful Summer days, and nights, that could have been spent at this beautiful mega bar.  Don't let my picture or the exterior view fool you.  This isn't some run-down shack.  This is the beach, this is the jersey shore, this is the Caribbean all wrapped into one giant ball and placed right along the Hudson River.

To paraphrase Surf City's official "about us" section, Surf City is both an indoor and outdoor bar and restaurant that sits directly on the water with beautiful views of NYC, the Statue of Liberty, and Liberty Science Center.  We first came to Surf City on a Sunday and it was absolutely beautiful!  The sun was shining, the clouds were sparse, and the crowd Surf City attracted was just my type.  There was nothing rowdy about this location at all and I liked that!  There were parents with newborn babies, dog lovers with their pups, young, old, and new couples enjoying the scenery.  Being there felt comfortable and that was what stood out most.

Before we did anything else, we wanted to look around and see what they had to offer.  We could have been seated by a hostess, but we chose to scope the joint out before settling down.  We noticed the incredible view of the water and skyline, we realized how many bars and tables they have for patrons, they have benches and chairs throughout the mega bar, and my favorite part, the sand pit that allows guests to have a seat in the sand and place your food and drinks right on the table.  A waiter or waitress even comes around to take your order.  Where you live, this may be common, but you don't find anything like this in Jersey City.  I was mesmerized by it all and, really, the service is what sets it all over the top.  Had they been rude, all of this ambiance goes right into the river.  But let me tell ya, these guys do it all right!

To be exact, there are five bars throughout the location with one, inside, being completely devoted to making frozen drinks and "buckets."  Because it gets crowded as the day progresses into night, this is an important perk.  Having the ability to choose from one of five bars to get a drink at a busy hour limits your wait time and gets you back to your company.  That's great!  In our three times there, we never waited for a drink and our bartenders were always there with another before we finished the last.  Not only is it good for business, it's good for my buzz :)

I stuck with Coors Light on all three days, but Eileen varied a bit and started the day off with a bucket.  To be more precise, she kicked it off with "Voodoo Juice."  I tried it and it was good!  Imagine an ice cold coconut drink!  Sure, it was a bit expensive, but you get what you pay for.  Besides, it's no small feat.  It's a pretty big drink that's mixed with some hard liquor.  You drink two or three "Voodoo Juice" buckets and you'll be casting more spells than Papa Shongo.  (if you don't know who that is, you're not paying attention to The Holidaze!)

After the beer and bucket, we were on to the next round.  I'm boring, so I stayed with the Coors, but this time Eileen chose to go with her first frozen margarita ever.  They call this one the Strawberry Rita at Surf City and it's only $10.  I think that's a pretty good deal and, in that setting, it's only right that you sit back, toes in the sand, sipping on an ice cold tropical drink.  If you can't make it to the Bahamas, or even if you can't make it down the shore, Surf City is absolutely perfect.  For us, there's no better staycation.

Changing gears, Eileen went from tropical drinks to beer.  But not just any beer, this was "Angry Orchard."  Ever heard of it?  I didn't until this day, but I've always been intrigued by seasonal beers.  It all started last year when I tried my first pumpkin flavored beer.  I didn't really care for it, but that's because I'm picky.  But apple is right down my alley and this was amazing.  The flavor is sweet and tangy.  It draws a fine line between Summer and Fall, but it's sooo good and, when it's that cold, it hits the spot on an 80 degree day.  This is definitely something I'll be looking for as we enter September.

Surf City has plenty of craft beers on tap and these two from Blue Moon, Agave Nectar Ale and Belgian White, stood out.  I, regretfully, never tried them at Surf City, but it did lead us to purchasing Agave Nectar later that night and, if you're looking for the perfect Summer beer, that's it!  I know the season is quickly coming to an end, but we're about to hit the 90s again this week and I'm going to soak up every last drop of Summer I can get.  Believe me, I'm more than ready for Fall and Halloween.  But Surf City makes me long for just a few more weeks!

Our friend met us later that day, but prior plans meant the party couldn't last.  But we had time for some food and one more drink.  Although I didn't snap a picture, we ordered fries and mozzarella sticks to go along with Eileen's "Mango Tango" and my final beer for the day.  It could have been the alcohol talking, but we thought the food was amazing, especially the fries!  They season them just right and, along with the mozzarella sticks, we were in foodie heaven.  It was a great way to end our first time at Surf City but, little did we know, we had only just begun.

After mentioning to my Mom, who loves anything that involves the beach and Sun, just how great Surf City was, she was intrigued.  Apparently, Surf City used to be known as the Sand Bar but, according to her, was very loud and attracted a more raucous crowd.  She was surprised to hear how much it had changed and was glad we had such a good time.  The next morning, she tells me that she and my Aunt are going to Surf City.  I guess I had really sold the mega bar, well eh?  

Of course we joined them! It's always great spending time with family and I take the opportunity to do so whenever it comes up.  This was the perfect time and place to share quality time with my two favorite ladies in the world.  We enjoyed drinks, food, and a lot of laughs.  My aunt, who isn't pictured, is the true matriarch of my entire family and was the driving force behind this outing.  I'm grateful that she decided to coordinate this little event at Surf City because the four of us had a wonderful time and created some great memories.  On top of that, it was already later in the day so we got to enjoy Surf City at night.

As the sun set, Surf City began to illuminate and shine bright in the night's sky.  It was serene.  The water was calm, the breeze was cool, and the music was just a tad bit louder in the background.  A little Margaritaville enhances the experience and makes you feel like you're really in a tropical destination on vacation.  You forget where you are and, if I didn't tell you, you'd never guess that you're in Jersey City.  For a while, even I had to question where I really was!


When the Sun finally drops, lights glow from all around Surf City and it's gorgeous.  Between the environment, the people, the weather, and the company, I couldn't have asked for a better night.  If you look closely above, there are fire pits lit at tables in the sand.  Even when it's not cold outside, it's there for you to make yourself even more comfortable.  It's something that Surf City doesn't have to do, but does anyway.  I've mentioned "going the extra mile" time and time again on The Holidaze and that's always what separates good from great.  That's why Surf City is great.

Need more proof?  Take a look at this sign placed at the exit.  Surf City already offers free parking in a huge lot, but if you've had too much to drink and can't drive home, they're happy to oblige.  Simply leave your license plate number with the manager and they'll keep your car safe and sound until you can soberly return to pick it up.  That's class, people!  That's really taking an interest in your well being and the well being of others.  We didn't need this service, but I'm sure people do at times and it's good to see it offered.  Again, it's something they don't have to do, but do anyway

Round Three at Surf City and I had to take a picture of my angel with the beautiful skyline behind her.  She even wore her shirt to match the Surf City logo ha!  I'm lying, but are we loving this place or what?  We didn't have much time on our third trip, but we had to stop in for a drink and some burgers.  They're just too good to pass up!

If you come to Surf City for nothing else, then come for the food!  These burgers are out of this world.  This time, I know it wasn't the alcohol talking because I only had one beer.  I'm the pickiest eater in the world, hence why I don't have any lettuce, tomato, onions, or sauce on my bacon cheeseburger, but I still know a good burger when I see it and this is awesome.  For $11, you get the burger and fries and, look, it's not small.  You're getting your moneys worth!  The fries alone are good enough to spend 11 bucks, but the burger just sets everything apart.  In our time there, we've had the bacon cheeseburger, mozzarella sticks, and fries.  Because I'm picky, I'm not sure what else I'd try, but their menu is packed with shrimp, salad, wings, chicken, burgers, oysters, clams, ribs.. you name it!  If they're anything like what we ate, then it's going to be a success!

I really can't say enough about Surf City.  We had an amazing time all three times and it won't be our last outing.  To tell you the truth, we'll probably be there once or twice this week.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful, so we'll probably swing by on Thursday or Friday.  It's just that good!  It's definitely my new favorite place and I'm recommending it to everybody I know.  It may seem like I'm being paid to say all this, but I'm just a new fan of Surf City who wants to spread the word to anybody who will listen.  If you're in the Jersey City area, give it a try.  If you're in NYC, hop on a ferry and dock at Surf City.  You can literally walk up the ramp from your boat and enter the bar.  I saw people show up on jet ski's and kayaks!  By land or by sea, nobody can get enough of Surf City!

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