9th & Coles Tavern, known to locals as 9C, is a neighborhood spot that captures the true Jersey City vibe. This is not the place you visit to have a foodie dining experience; it's where you go for a casual down-to-earth time with good service and reliable food. It's the perfect home-away-from-home in the winter when the urge strikes for new comfortable surroundings.
The narrow bar opens up to a small dining room in the back, but I prefer to walk up the few steps to the area parallel to the bar that has dining booths—you'll still feel like you're part of the action but be in your own space.
I used to come here when I was feeling like a burger and a good beer in a cozy place on a cold night, but the last time I went, the evening was unseasonably warm, so I sat outside (side note: puppies are welcome) and had (slightly) lighter fare.
To start, my friend and I shared the bruschetta, which I didn't even notice on the menu before, and it was quite tasty considering I've always regarded 9C as a pared-down comfort-food spot.
9C has themed nights and specials every day, and this night drink specials included a $5 winter Brooklyn ale, $5 Tanqueray drinks, and a $4 honey whiskey, which I ordered neat. Today, you might find a hot toddy, espresso martini, or holiday shot…always seasonal, always themed, and always changing.
My dining companion got the basic burger with American cheese, which he orders almost every time (penne vodka occasionally), and he loved it no less this evening. It's quality meat, typical LTO—no frills, but just right.
I ate most of the french fries, which are Jersey diner-ish good. The 9C slaw is always a hit as well. I personally hate mayonnaise, but I will eat 9C slaw any day.
Admittedly, I was in a boring mood this evening. However, the caesar salad I ordered was done well—not overdressed and soggy, just crisp with a good parmesan-bite and homemade croutons.
Our waitress was friendly and relaxed, as is pretty much always the case here.
My only complaint about 9C: I miss is the chalkboard in the bathroom that anyone could write on! It was a shared community space of spectacular fun..
Everything else is still cheerful in the small, chill establishment. 9C is a great place to go and relax when you want to remain anonymous and enjoy a good tavern meal. Portions are not too large, though not small—generous for the inexpensive prices, and the leftovers become two more meals if you're me.
After really looking at the menu, I'm excited to try a few other things outside of the burger realm: Holler 9C jalepeno poppers (cream cheese and bacon are invloved)!
9th & Coles is open seven days a week, and the bar area stays alive until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Plus, there's free wifi and brunch on the weekends. Fun fact: 9th & Coles is the home of one of Thrillist's "Best Bloody Marys In The Country."