From the 141-mile span of sand that makes up the world-famous Jersey Shore to the electrifying art galleries scattered around Jersey City, the Garden State offers visitors and residents an abundance of attributes to treasure.
And while New York City may be one of the top spots in the world for nightlife, its neighbor across the Hudson offers post-dusk thrills that are just as unique and diverse.
Whether you’ve recently started calling this palace home or will be spending a weekend exploring one of the many New Jersey events, we’re exploring the leading New Jersey nightlife attractions.
#1 Atlantic City
Mix seaside splendors and casinos galore and you have Atlantic City—the globally renowned resort city that sits on New Jersey’s southern shore. Whether you’re going out for drink specials on a Friday night, to listen to a live band, or to dinner with your best pals, Atlantic City may have everything you need.
The East Coast’s version of Las Vegas Sin City’s four-mile-long boardwalk operates as the nexus of this perpetually-buzzy enclave. Hotels, casinos, restaurants, clubs, and lounges surround it, giving visitors an appealing blend of natural wonders and luxe amenities, so every visit feels like a party.
You can gamble at one of the city’s 11 casinos, dine on first-rate fare, and heat up the dance floor—all in a single evening.
Best Spot for Cocktails: The Vue Rooftop Bar and Lounge
The VÜE Rooftop Bar and Lounge offers guests some of the best nightlife New Jersey has to offer with splendid panoramic views from its perch on the 23rd floor of The Claridge Hotel. With a happy hour that stretches from noon to 6 PM., Thursday night karaoke, and live entertainment on the weekends, this is a choice venue to kick off a fun, energetic night.1
The Vue also offers an extensive cocktail list including:
- Banana and strawberry daiquiris
- Tequila cocktails
Best Place for Dinner: Capriccio
Swank and vibrant Capriccio is located in the center of the Resorts Casino and features a wide selection of Italian food, such as:
- Grilled octopus
- Prime pork chop
- Lobster ravioli
- Seafood zuppetta
Best Dancing Venue: Anthem Lounge
The Tropicana Atlantic City offers a small handful of dance clubs, but its posh and stylish Anthem Lounge ranks the highest. Designed to mirror the clubs found in Vegas and Miami, Anthem Lounge features all-night dancing that doesn’t stop until sunrise.
Just be sure to adhere to Anthem’s dress code—you’ll want to come dressed in your best outfit and dancing shoes.
Located a mere eight miles west of New York City, Newark is the largest city in the Garden Stateand, according to some, the liveliest. Thank the city’s profusion of fun nightclubs, excellent restaurants, performance venues, and rich cultural history for the compliment.
No matter the time of year you find yourself in Newark, you’re bound to have fun, whether you’re attending a live comedy show at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center or savoring the sounds of jazz at Clement’s Place.
But you don’t need to schedule your visit to Newark to coincide with one of the city’s events. Bar hopping around this bustling city, with its chic lounges and well-established breweries, is just as fun. Downtown, North Ironbound, and University Heights are your best bets for a good time.
Best Spot for Cocktails: Mompou Tapas Bar & Restaurant
Mompou Tapas Bar & Restaurant features prime outdoor seating, providing the perfect place to enjoy a warm evening in New Jersey. When you arrive, you’ll be met by:
- Craft beers on draft
- Handcrafted cocktails
- Second-to-none pitchers of sangria
That said, Mompou is easily one of Newark’s hippest spots to sip and mingle.
Best Place for Dinner: Blueprint Cafe
Blueprint Cafe is one of the city’s newer restaurants, but it’s already attained iconic acclaim. Thursday-night open mics, happy hours in the garden, and one-of-a-kind decor are just a few of the cafe’s most memorable aspects.2
And its menu is just as amazing.
Here, you can chow down on an abundance of comfort foods, including:
- Nana Pancakes – Buttermilk banana pancakes topped with walnuts and a deluge of maple syrup
- Sweet Chick & A Sidekick – Fried honey-butter-tossed chicken thighs atop a golden waffle
- Chipotle Plantain Bake – Plantains mixed with ground beef, cheese, and chipotle
There are also a variety of vegan eats available, like its tofu scramble, Beyond sausage tacos, and vegan French toast.
Best Dancing Venue: QXTs Nightclub
If you’re looking for nightclubs in New Jersey, look no further than QXTs. From New Wave to punk rock, music reaches new decibels at QXTs Nightclub—a Newark favorite that attracts a lively crowd. The venue features three distinct dance floors with their own bars, including Area 51 and The Crypt, which is found underground.
Its resident DJs know how to keep the music bumping and the bartenders keep the drinks flowing, making it the place to party in Newark.
Hoboken has gone through several transformations since its inception in the 19th century, shifting from an axis of the industry to one of the hottest, most sought-after enclaves.
Nestled along the Hudson waterfront, it’s one of the busiest, most densely populated regions in the Garden State—and has the nightlife to match it.
It’s the birthplace of Sinatra, the raucous spot to be in on St. Patty’s Day, and the home of picturesque, decades-old nightlife establishments. From dive bars to gastropubs, the city has earned a reputation as New Jersey’s quintessential party town.
Best Spot for Cocktails: Wicked Wolf
Both creative and classic drinks reign at Wicked Wolf, a bar and restaurant that offers epic views of the water.
Opt for Friends with Benefits, Wicked Wolf’s jalapeno and cucumber spin on a traditional margarita or elevate your night with Sinatra’s Mule, made with Hendricks gin, lime juice, raspberry syrup, and ginger beer.
Best Place for Dinner: Halifax
Tuck in for fantastic, upscale cuisine at Halifax before trotting off to one of the Mile Square City’s booming (and beer-soaked) Irish pubs.
Located in the W Hotel, Halifax boasts menus for all hours of the day and features a delicious raw bar with:
- Black sea bass tartare
- Poached shrimp
- Bangs Island mussels
- Wagyu beef carpaccio
While the raw bar and seafood dishes are certainly show-stopping, the stellar views of Manhattan take center stage, making Halifax an optimal spot for a first (or fiftieth) date.3
Best Dancing Venue: Madd Hatter
The line to get into Madd Hatter may be overwhelming at first glance, but it’s worth the wait. This trendy club pulls the United States of Tara at 10 p.m. when it switches from a sports bar to a nightclub.
A live DJ spins from the back while friends and singles hit the dance floor and crowds from NY and NJ dance their way into the doors. And don’t forget to check out the bar: This funky lounge is famous for its fishbowl daiquiris.
While it’s true that Princeton is better known as a college town than a city with next-level nightlife, and zoning laws restrict bars in this Mercer County city from staying open past 1 a.m., Princeton boasts its fair share of after-dark entertainment and boozy venues.
We did say it’s a college town, didn’t we?
Best Spot for Cocktails: The Alchemist & Barrister Restaurant and Pub
Before heading over to the Catch a Rising Star comedy club, stop in at The Alchemist & Barrister for an ice-cold beer or a specialty cocktail. We recommend Tea Time, which is crafted with spiced bourbon, black tea, and honey.
The pub is located in a restored historic building and live entertainment is often on the menu.
Best Place for Dinner: Elements
Get into an Ivy League frame of mind at Elements. The upscale restaurant has only nine tables for an exclusive and intimate vibe.
The chefs who helm this spot are serious about the farm-to-table approach and change their menu daily to reflect the freshest local fare available. Or, guests can splurge on the chef’s tasting menu. Past lineups have included rare (and delicious) combinations like caviar with turnips and lamb with lavender.
Best Dancing Venue: Ivy Inn
Darts, trivia night, pool, an awesome jukebox and patio, one of the busiest and most buoyant happy hours in town… Princeton’s Ivy Inn is known for many things, but come Friday and Saturday night, it turns into a lit, uber-fun dance party, complete with live bands and DJs.
#5 Jersey City
Ranked as one of the top ten most artistic cities by The Atlantic, New York’s “6th borough,” located right across the Hudson from Manhattan, flourishes with multicultural restaurants, critically-acclaimed entertainment, and a bunch of both casual and high-end restaurants, bars, and lounges.4
While Jersey City doesn’t have the Spring Break energy of Hoboken and Atlantic City, in its place is a more mature (although no less fun) barhopping culture. If that suits your style, head to the historic district downtown.
Best Spot for Cocktails: Zeppelin Hall Beer Garden
Craft beer is a New Jersey specialty—and it has the breweries and pubs to prove it. Take Zeppelin Hall Beer Garden as an example.
The garden offers 144 imported and domestic beers on draft, alongside a selection of games that can be played inside its cavernous interior or its spacious outdoor beer garden, including
- Cards Against Humanity
- Unstable Unicorns
Happen to be in Jersey City in the fall? Don’t miss their Oktoberfest for beer, brats, pretzels, and live music in the garden.
Best Place for Dinner: Boulevard Drinks
Forget one of Jersey City’s fancier affairs and head to Boulevard Drinks for a chili and onion-topped New Jersey hot dog. This place, which got its start in 1937, is a veritable hole in the wall but that’s a large part of its charm.5
Best Dancing Venue: The Village Underground
In addition to harmonies of blues, hip-hop, and folk that waft from its doors, you’ll also hear plenty of laughs. The Village Underground is one-part dance club, one-part comedy club—and it’s one of the best places in Jersey City for live entertainment.
Carve Out a New Jersey Life with Common
From happy hour on a Saturday night to live music and dinner in a seaside town, New Jersey’s got you covered. When it comes to making a home in New Jersey, it’s best to factor in the area’s nightlife amenities, whether you’re looking for a neighborhood fitted with a bevy of sophisticated craft cocktails or a community that keeps the party going all night long.
Whether you’re contemplating the idea of living in New Jersey or Jersey City, or you want to ease into a place packed with a high-end kitchen and all the necessary amenities, consider the advantages of securing a coliving apartment with a private room with Common.
Our Jersey City buildings, Journal Square’s Common at Le Leo and the West Side’s Common at The Agnes, provide exciting nightlife only minutes away, giving you the chance to experience all the fun (and comfort) New Jersey has to offer.
- Atlantic City Weekly. 5 things to know about the vue rooftop bar and lounge. https://atlanticcityweekly.com/food_and_drink/5-things-to-know-about-the-vue-rooftop-bar-and-lounge/article_15038cb0-2ebf-11ed-aeab-2f70629e95a5.html
- Forbes. 5 great places to eat if you’re visiting newark, new jersey. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adriennejordan/2019/01/28/5-great-places-to-eat-if-youre-visiting-newark-new-jersey/?sh=5ee701886b55
- Eater NY. 15 restaurants to seek out in hoboken. https://ny.eater.com/maps/best-restaurants-food-hoboken-new-jersey-nj
- NJ.com. Jersey city #10 on ‘the atlantic’ list of most artistic U.S. cities. https://www.nj.com/hudson/2011/11/jersey_city_10_on_the_atlantic.html
- Eater NY. 24 restaurants highlighting jersey city’s rich cultural diversity. https://ny.eater.com/maps/best-jersey-city-restaurants