Traditionally, New Jersey restaurants would’ve retired their outdoor dining set-ups already. Instead, during what are now the coldest months of 2021 and the toughest of times for business owners, patrons are taking shelter in geometric bubbles that seem to keep popping up on every patio in the state. From igloos adorned with fairy lights to greenhouses outfitted with lush furnishings, our beloved NJ bars, eateries and breweries have gotten quite inventive with their outdoor dining solutions–albeit out of necessity.
For more outdoor dining options in New Jersey beyond igloos, check out our roundup of restaurants with the best outdoor dining spaces.
These Instagrammable experiences include amenities ranging from fire-pits and space heaters to personal Bluetooth speakers and servers. Some also require rental fees, spending minimums and reservations. If you’re brave enough to face the NJ cold, or at least want to give your followers FOMO, here’s our running list of NJ restaurants with heated outdoor dining igloos and greenhouses.
1. AC Hotel – Bridgewater
This upscale, lifestyle hotel first opened in Central Jersey in January 2020, and this winter, goers can find two igloo enclosures set up on their patio space. Each igloo is decorated with LED lights and complemented by cozy furnishings and an adjustable space heater. You can also order craft cocktails and small plates at the lounge bar to bring inside, in addition to wine, specialty liquors and beer. Reservations can be made in advance by calling the hotel and are strongly recommended during the weekend.
2. Ani Ramen – Jersey City, Maplewood, Cranford and Summit
During the height of the pandemic, Ani Ramen gave back to the community by transforming their popular restaurants into non-profit food pop-ups that served up Detroit-style pizza and Thai rotisserie chicken. Now, they’ve gone back to offering their signature ramen and bao buns (among other favorites) and expanded their outdoor dining with personal greenhouses. Each pod is fully heated and can be reserved online through their website for up to four people.
3. Asbury Ale House – Asbury Park
On Cookman Avenue, you’ll find two different outdoor seating options for Asbury Ale House. Their open-street, heated dining area contains spacious greenhouses and cozy bubbles, the latter of which can accommodate four to eight people per enclosure. The greenhouses also come with private Bluetooth speakers in addition to a personal server. You can book your outdoor seating reservation online—just note there’s also a 90-minute dining limit.
4. Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten – Asbury Park
The folks at Asbury Biergarten were the pioneers of igloo dining before the pandemic even began. They’ve been setting up igloos on their Jersey Shore rooftop since 2017, typically open to diners during the fall and winter seasons. These bubbles can be booked by calling ahead and making a reservation. Parties must include a minimum of four guests, who are all at least 21 years of age or older. Not to worry, each igloo is fully sanitized between uses.
5. B2 Bistro + Bar – Point Pleasant Beach
Bubbles have landed at B2 Bistro + Bar at Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. These enclosures are located on the restaurant’s upstairs deck and are available by reservation only on Tuesday and Friday nights and all day on Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting). The bubbles are able to accommodate four guests and are completely sanitized between seatings. Please call for a reservation.
6. Bistro La Source – Jersey City
For French fare in the Paulus Hook neighborhood of Jersey City, look no further than Bistro La Source. Goers will find six plastic bubbles adorned with string lights set up in what would normally be the restaurant’s parking lot. On the menu are classic French dishes including beef bourguignon, escargots and duck liver pâté with foie gras.
7. Bloom – Verona
The bubbles at Bloom in Verona, NJ look like they’ve been plucked straight from a fairytale. Seriously, it’s like Cinderella’s carriage found its way to North Jersey. Decorated with string lights and greenery floating whimsically overhead, this French-Korean eatery is doing it right from the outdoor seating to their eclectic menu—whether you’re stopping by for brunch or dinner. Think bulgogi crepes and Korean street toast to bouillabaisse and coq au vin.
8. Calandra’s Mediterranean Grill – Fairfield
This long-standing, family-owned establishment is perhaps better known for its bakery headquarters in Newark, NJ. Calandra’s Mediterranean Grill in Fairfield, however, is known for its homemade pasta, seafood, wood-burning pizza and for the first time ever, igloo outdoor dining. Their enclosures feature space heaters both inside and outside the bubbles and accommodate large parties, up to 10 people. Please call ahead for reservations.
9. Cara Mia Restaurant – Millburn
Parties of two can occupy the “winter cabanas” outside of Cara Mia in Millburn, NJ. This Italian restaurant has five enclosures set up so diners can enjoy a safe (and socially distanced), romantic dinner. Think fried burrata, Cacio e Pepe and spicy vodka rigatoni. Each cabana is individually heated for maximum comfort and it’s advised to call ahead for reservations.
10. Casual Habana – New Milford & Hackensack
Got a craving for authentic Cuban food? Head to Casual Habana’s New Milford or Hackensack, NJ locations for a unique outdoor dining experience complete with igloos. They’ve installed igloo villages outfitted with heaters for those cold nights. Seating reservations can be made by calling the restaurant, and note that the limit for dining is two hours.
11. DeNovo European Pub – Edgewater
Between eight and 12 guests can be seated inside this private, heated igloo at DeNovo in Edgewater, NJ. Set on the restaurant’s outdoor patio, this oversized enclosure provides stunning views overlooking the New York City skyline and George Washington Bridge. The menu melds traditional Italian and French cuisine and the setting is perfect for a casual lunch or dinner and drinks.
12. Donatella Ristorante – Harrington Park
Outdoor dining doesn’t get more intimate than this singular igloo at Donatella Ristorante in Harrington Park, NJ. They pride themselves on serving classic Italian dishes made with only the freshest ingredients including hand-cut pasta made with free-range eggs and flour that’s been milled on-site, in addition to locally-caught sustainable seafood. Their outdoor igloo seats up to four people and includes nearby heat lamps for warmth.
13. El Tango Argentina Grill – Moonachie
This North Jersey restaurant garnered a lot of attention after their igloo display debuted on ABC7 back in November. Their outdoor bubbles, however, we’re already ahead of the curve when they first arrived on the scene in September in preparation for the winter months. You can stop by El Tango for traditional Argentine cuisine including empanadas, paella and a variety of parrilladas.
14. Emma Bistro – Edgewater
If you’re looking for a cool experience on one of Edgewater, New Jersey’s hippest corners, then consider Emma Bistro for your outdoor dining needs. They have three, two-person greenhouses available that are perfect for a romantic dinner or Sunday brunch with a friend. We dined at this Argentinian fusion restaurant not too long ago and enjoyed their mocktails, tapas-style appetizers and chorizo eggs benedict.
15. Fig and Lily Garden – Morristown
Perhaps one of the most popular igloo dining destinations, Fig and Lily Garden in Morristown is one of few other NJ restaurants to install heated outdoor enclosures pre-pandemic. What makes these plastic bubbles unique, however, is that they are able to withstand all kinds of inclement weather since each igloo has its own independent flooring and are designed with two windows and a door for increased air ventilation. While there’s no reservation fee, parties must meet the minimum spending limit ($150 for 1-2, $200 for 3-4 and $250 for 5-6 people). Please call or email the restaurant directly for reservations.
16. Game Time Bar & Grill – Freehold
Located within iPlay America, Freehold’s Game Time Bar & Grill boasts several heated igloos on their outdoor patio. Each bubble can be booked for up to two hours and accommodates between four and eight guests. Note that there is a $200 minimum spending limit and diners must call ahead to make a reservation. Bonus: they’ve also extended their Christmas-themed holiday pop-up, Miracle at GTBG, through Jan. 31.
17. Il Tavolo di Palmisano – Hoboken
This Hoboken, NJ favorite focuses its menu on Italian cuisine with a modern twist. Think eggplant parm “casserole” and carbonara topped with a fried egg. Most recently, Il Tavolo assembled a row of Covid-friendly bubbles for safe outdoor dining lining Clinton St. Each bubble is fitted with its own space heater and is sanitized with an industrial fogger in between uses.
18. Iron Monkey – Jersey City
In addition to an extensive selection of craft beers, you’ll find little domes on both the rooftop and street-level patio of Jersey City’s Iron Monkey. You can reserve your personal heated igloo by calling the restaurant and enjoy the laid back vibes and yummy pub fare of this 22-year-old establishment. When igloo dining, know that there’s a 90-minute dining maximum in addition to an $80 minimum for food and drink purchases. Parities who wish to book a bubble must have between three and six people.
19. It’s Greek to Me – Ridgewood
Gyros in a greenhouse? That’s exactly what you’ll find if you head over to It’s Greek to Me in Ridgewood, NJ. Owner Paul Vagianos pivoted his outdoor dining strategy during COVID by building these chic, frosted greenhouses that include heating, air ventilation and a weighted base (for high winds). Each metal and plastic enclosure can seat up to four people and should be reserved in advance. Please call the restaurant to book your table.
20. Josie Kelly’s Public House – Somers Point
The Winter Garden at Josie Kelly’s Public House recently introduced a “SunBubble village.” These heated igloos can seat between two and eight people with no cost to reserve. However, there is a $75 minimum and a maximum dining limit of one hour and 45 minutes. Don’t fret, that should be plenty of time to scarf down some traditional Irish dishes and at least a whiskey or two.
21. Kitchen Step – Jersey CIty
We were thrilled to hear that Chef Ryan DePersio installed six, fully-heated greenhouses at The Kitchen Step in Jersey City, NJ. These new enclosures undoubtedly make indulging in his modern-American menu and seasonal cocktails all the more enjoyable—while ensuring guest safety, first and foremost. You can reserve these through their website or over the phone for brunch or dinner, just make sure you order the crispy zucchini fries and the always perfect ricotta gnocchi.
22. Light Horse Tavern – Jersey City
Light Horse Tavern, which was previously operating as the Lobster Garage this past summer, is now back and dare we say, better than ever? This Paulus Hook neighborhood favorite has bubbles assembled outdoors which can accommodate up to four people per enclosure. You’ll still find the highest quality seafood on any given visit, from oysters that are sourced daily to Maine lobster tails and pastrami smoked salmon.
23. ManaFirkin Brewing Company – Manahawkin
You can actually drink beer inside an igloo at this New Jersey brewery. ManaFirkin Brewing Company has installed what they’re calling the “Firkin Wonderland,” where guests can grab a couple of cold ones inside these heated domes. Reservations here are a must, and igloos come with a $50 rental fee and either a $50 or $100 tab minimum depending on the size of your group. Each enclosure can hold up to eight guests and is sanitized by hand (in addition to a sanitizer gun) between each seating.
24. Man Skirt Brewing – Hackettstown
For the winter, Man Skirt Brewing transformed their Biergarten into an “Eisgarten.” Their greenhouses are not only super Instagrammable (cue the LED lights), they are also individually heated, contain a speaker system and are kid and dog-friendly. These so-called suites do require a reservation but can accommodate eight guests. There is a great beer menu to order from but no food on-site. That being said, you’re welcome to BYOF or order takeout right to the brewery.
25. Mantoloking Road Ale House – Brick
This popular South Jersey bar has got you covered for the winter —literally. The parking lot of Mantoloking Ale House is now home to several igloo enclosures that can fit up to eight people per bubble. Note that there is a two-hour seating limit and a $100 spending minimum, but you can dine on all their American-style bar snacks such as mac and cheese bites, potato skins and buffalo wings. Reservations are required and can be made by calling ahead.
26. Marcus at NoHu Rooftop – Weehawken
EnVue Hotel upped its star power this past summer when Chef Marcus Samuelsson joined the team. Today, Marcus at NoHu Rooftop is known for its live Latin music and of course, amazing cuisine curated by the celebrity chef himself. They also recently debuted rooftop igloos on New Year’s Eve, which are all fully heated and can be reserved via email. We recommend taking in the panoramic skyline views from the comfort of these intimate igloos while enjoying weekend brunch or late-night bites.
27. Martell’s Waters Edge – Bayville
For an enclosed waterfront experience, try the igloos at Martell’s Waters Edge. Featuring views of Barnegat Bay, these domes are available at no extra cost Thursday-Sunday. Groups of up to eight people can opt to use the fireplace (located within the igloo) and take in the nightly live entertainment offered by the restaurant.
28. Northern Soul – Hoboken
A neighborhood favorite for vegans and healthy-eaters alike, Northern Soul’s comfort food vibe just got a whole lot cozier with their “Soul Shacks.” Each of these well-decorated greenhouses has built-in infrared heating, LED lights and Bluetooth speakers. The smaller ones can hold two to four guests and the larger ones accommodate six to eight. According to the Northern Soul website, their units are double sanitized with disinfectant and high-intensity ultraviolet light after every use. They are also vented to ensure good air circulation. Reservations can be made online.
29. Pearl – Ridgewood
Pearl in Ridgewood, NJ has teased their Broad St. igloos on IG stories and they looked like a dreamy solution to outdoor dining. We think it’s safe to assume that reservations are required (or at least recommended), but you can always call the restaurant to confirm. If you’ve never been to this NJ gem, they’re best known for their authentic Italian cuisine including an array of homemade pasta.
30. Red Rock Tap and Grill – Red Bank
Sunday Funday just got more…fun? At Red Rock Tap and Grill, you can grab a seat at their outdoor bar, watch the games and snack on a Bavarian pretzel but here’s the kicker—from the comfort of your own private igloo. These bubbles are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis and from what we gathered can seat groups of at least four or more.
31. Salute Bistro – Montclair
They say Salute is a lot like going to a friend’s house for dinner. I guess if that said friend lived in a greenhouse. This is the type of outdoor dining solution you can find at one of our fave BYOB spots, Salute Bistro in Montclair, NJ. They’ve installed fairly large heated enclosures on the patio of their restaurant. Each greenhouse can hold a minimum of four people and up to eight. Please call the restaurant ahead of time to reserve.
32. Shumi Japanese Cuisine – Ridgewood
In the back of Shumi in Ridgewood, NJ you’ll find a slew of igloos set up so that you can safely enjoy the ultimate outdoor dining sushi experience. Shumi specializes in Omakase, a chef-selected tasting menu that features seasonal sushi and sashimi from the day’s catch. Suddenly, eating under a plastic dome doesn’t sound so bad. To note, each of the bubbles can seat four people and are decorated with glowing LED lights.
33. Sook – Ridgewood
Sure, you could always just pick-up pastries from Sook. But, why not kick you feet up and dig into their French desserts right on the spot? Recently, they put up heated igloos at their Ridgewood, NJ storefront and introduced outdoor dining. Everything on the menu is made daily, on-site from sweet or savory crepes to sandwiches, croissants and more.
34. The Blossom – Palisades Park
Last February, The Blossom had their igloos assembled and ready to go. Call it a coincidence, but they were clearly onto the outdoor dining trend even before the pandemic. Since NJ restaurants were allowed to reopen this past summer, they’ve had their clear bubbles back up and running on their outdoor dining patio. This Korean fusion spot specializes in breakfast, lunch and brunch with an Asian twist and has some of the best (and interesting) beverages. Red bean latte, anyone?
35. Town Bar + Kitchen – Morristown
The pods at Town Bar + Kitchen have officially arrived. These heated igloos in Morristown, NJ are decked out with fairy lights and groups between four and six guests can be seated or outdoor dining. There is an hour and a half dining limit to be aware of in addition to a $75 spending minimum per person (for dinner only). Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made online or by calling the restaurant.
36. Undici – Rumson
The Tuscan farmhouse vibes at Undici in Rumson, NJ are still alive and well, except outdoor dining igloos now complement the restaurant’s brick facade. Their large, heated bubbles must be reserved either online or by calling the restaurant. This place is a must-visit—not to mention they carry the largest selection of Italian wines in New Jersey.
37. Yankee Doodle Tap Room – Princeton
Did you know that Yankee Doodle Tap Room is home to Norman Rockwell’s oldest and largest mural? This legendary NJ gastropub just earned even more street cred with their outdoor dining igloos. (They also have an award-winning burger and 22 beers on tap.) They have two options that can accommodate parties between two and six or six and eight. The first requires a $150 food and beverage minimum and a time limit of one hour and 45 minutes. The latter includes a $250 minimum and a limit of two hours and 15 minutes. Either option requires a reservation.
Know of any other NJ restaurants with igloos set up for outdoor dining? Let us know in the comments below.