Bars in New Jersey

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Plumes of fragrant steam swirl above bowls as waiters deliver hefty portions of paella to red-linen-topped tables inside Vivo Tapas Lounge. In the paella, clamshells, shrimp, mussel shells, and pearly scallops pop amid a heap of golden saffron rice. The eatery’s paella complements a list of hot and cold tapas, all of which exemplify the restaurant's Zagat rating of very good to excellent food. On small tapas plates, chefs arrange tiny patties of spanish tuna or mushrooms stuffed with onions, bacon, pine nuts, and mozzarella cheese. After meals, the crowd can get to their feet and dance the night away amid colorful beams of light and exposed-brick walls. Sheer curtains cordon off private seating with tufted, high-backed banquettes for VIP parties and laid-back tax audits.

167 Ferry St
Newark,
NJ
US

It's been nearly two decades since Hard Grove Cafe opened, and in that time, the Cuban-themed restaurant has evolved into a place where locals gather to see art exhibits and dance to live music. Of course, the biggest draw is still the authentic Cuban cuisine. Diners can dig into seafood mofongo?roasted chicken glazed with guava-infused barbecue sauce?and tangy ropa vieja, amid other exotic dishes. Vegetarian-friendly alternatives are available, along with sandwiches and burgers for diners who are afraid to use forks. Bartenders whip up refreshing mojitos and cosmos for accompaniment. Sundays bring an extensive brunch with optional bottomless bloody marys and mimosas.

319 Grove Street
Jersey City,
NJ
US

Tropical Juice Bar's menu places the emphasis on healthy, nonprocessed foods, but never at the expense of flavor. Dishes such the Cuban sandwich and the mofongo with garlicky plantains and fried pork skin showcase the essence of the tropics. Ditto on the empanadas, their crispy shells concealing pockets of chicken, beef, or cheese that bulge like the eyes of a surprised cartoon character. And then there are the drinks?juices and smoothies made from 100% freshly squeezed fruits, including passion fruit, tamarind, and orange.

160 W Broadway
Paterson,
NJ
US

Ten Brunswick Gold Crown IV pool tables offer up their ample pockets to shooters' careful aim in Joe Broadway's Billiards & Sports Bar's spacious playroom. Every night until 3 a.m., an Internet jukebox augments the triumphant clamor of hefty breaks with players' favorite songs or high-school geometry lectures. In between games of pool, players can belly up to the full bar for a drink of domestic or imported beer, play a game on the Xbox or PS3 console, or raise the stakes with a free round of darts. Seven large-screen plasma TVs let players keep one eye on the game, and an onsite pro shop lets serious shooters replace their repurposed parade batons with real cues.

2178 Forest Ave
Staten Island,
NY
US

• For $45, you get a session of three Spanish-wine classes and a healthy-cooking-and-mixed-drink guide on August 17, 24, and 31, from 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. • For $45, you get a session of three Spanish-wine classes and a healthy-cooking-and-mixed-drink guide on August 18, 25, and September 1, from 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

1353 Stelton Rd
Piscataway,
NJ
US

Tiffany's founder and head chef Michael Romanelli Jr. begins every day by examining all the ingredients in his kitchen, checking seafood for freshness, squeezing tomatoes to test juiciness, and tasting his barbecue sauce to ensure it is just right. The chefs at all five of his restaurant locations follow Michael's example, folding fresh ingredients and housemade sauces into a sweeping variety of crunchy sandwiches, juicy wings, and American pub classics. They take great pride in their barbecue baby back ribs, which they baste in Michael's signature barbecue sauce and serve with sides of sweet potato and coleslaw. Diners await meals out in the lively bar and dining areas, clinking frosty pints of draft beers while watching sports games on more than 20 TVs.

270 New Jersey 37
Toms River,
NJ
US