Buskers – Doomed?

Buskers apparently doomed in Hoboken

Years ago, the bar on the southwest corner of 1st & Bloomfield was called “Miss Kitty’s Saloon.”

It was a huge local hot spot, with regulars out the wazoo – as well as a big weekend attraction for those from out of town. Those were the days…

It became Buskers in the mid-2000’s (along with different owners), and with the new renovations, hoped to set the bar for First St. establishments downtown. But according to this this Buskers Facebook Page – they’re having a closing party this Saturday, August 13th.

Willie McBride’s owner Sean (who is part owner of Buskers) hasn’t yet responded to requests on what the future of the bar/restaurant is – but we naturally suspect something new to take it’s place in due time.

Buskers just an ordinary bar & restaurant?

4/25/2008:

Late last Summer, Busker’s “re-branded” their bar/restaurant from a more traditional model focused primarily on eating, and less on drinking, to a more of a “pub” style layout. More “high top” tables, televisions, and recreational elements such as dart boards. Apparently the booze-heavy model makes them more money.

With that being said, I’ve noticed (and heard) some relatively sub-par food reviews in the past six or so months. While the food we ate in our initial review back in 2006 was acceptable, Busker’s is on the list of places to “re-review” in 2008. Will we be let down?

Bar & Lounge

Description – Bar & lounge – American fusion cuisine. Fine dining. Entrée price range $17-$30.
Services – American cuisine,
Website – www.buskersbarandgrill.com
Address – 94 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, New Jersey ( NJ ) 07030
Telephone – (201) 604-1380

Buskers.JPG

June 2006

This trip to Buskers had been planned for a while, but we never had any luck with them being open (for lunch). So finally we get to try the place we’ve heard so much about.

Frankly, my expectations about Buskers were a bit on the negative side, as I’d heard that the burgers were lame, the interior left a lot to be desired, and that it was a bit over-priced.

I was misled by the word on the street I suppose. We had a great meal and a great time.

It had been my first time in the establishment and upon opening the door I found the interior to be very well done. The bar had plenty of room, great TV’s, and a genuine look and feel. Most of the décor, furniture and display articles were authentic and straight from Ireland. I agree that Buskers does have a very warm feel. If you’re expecting the run-of-the-mill standard bar/restaurant here, you will not get it. It’s completely unique and fun to visit.

busker dining room.JPG

busker bar.JPG

However, we chose to sit outside since it stopped raining. The outdoor tables were satisfactory. They sat a big human comfortably. The view of people coming off the PATH train was fun. Definitely good for people with ADD.

Our waiter came over promptly, gave us menus and took our drink order. The menus were very diverse. A big bar menu, lots of appetizers and a large dinner selection. Something for everyone indeed.

The drinks came quickly and we ordered our appetizer, the Nachos. The nachos were unlike any you’ll get in Hoboken. Fresh homemade FLOUR tortillas instead of corn. While this is something you’re not used to, it certainly was delicious, packed with cheese and taco meat. The sides of guacamole, salsa and sour cream were good, but we felt the containers were too small, and got a second helping. The Nachos were a smidge on the oily side, but that only added to the taste (and our waistlines!!!) Overall, very satisfying. Be careful ordering these when you want a large entrée. It’s a very large dish!

Busker nacho.JPG

For entrées, we ordered the Basic Burger and the Pizza.

The burger I ordered medium rare with bacon and cheddar cheese. I had seen reviews indicating that the bun was too big. Or not enough meat. This was exactly the opposite of what we received. This burger was phenomenal and uncommon in Hoboken. The burger was on an egg-based brioche roll, which was very fluffy and light. Some may say it’s too big, but all you need to do is smoosh it down and it becomes easy to eat. I found it to be juicy and overwhelmingly filling (Had to take 1/2 home, especially after the nachos). The bacon was top-notch as well (huge plus in H411’s book!)

busker basic burger.JPG

Additionally, you can choose your sides. French fries, onion rings, or a 50/50 split of both. I chose the latter, so I could taste both. The onion rings were one of my favorite in Hoboken, since they were cooked Tempura style. I loved them.

The pizza came out arranged a bit unlike you’re used to seeing pizza. It was a simple combination of homemade Indian style Nan-bread, garlic spread, fresh tomato, basil and cheese. A bit different than your usual pizza, but outright delicious to say the least. My dining companion indicated it needed a bit of salt, but that is ok with me. Some people pretty much over-salt their food to begin with.

busker pizza.JPG

In fact all but three things at Buskers are home made. Those non-homemade items are: The bread (from Balthazars), the ravioli, and the ice cream. That’s pretty impressive!

Our meal at Buskers was well above average in Hoboken, priced reasonably for the quantity and quality of food you received, so I found little fault with the establishment. Although this was our first time there, and only three items were sampled, we were impressed.

Further reviews will be coming in the near future. This could become one of our favorites in town. Check them out today!

PS, the bathroom mirrors have little TV’s built into them so you can keep tabs on whatever game in on!! That’s the only place in Hoboken so far that we’ve seen with that! Very cool!

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98 Comments on "Buskers – Doomed?"

johnniemarg
Member
johnniemarg

When they first opened they were more like The Brass Rail than what they are today. I remember they had a perfectly cooked “cowboy steak”, which was a 32 oz bone-in rib eye. It was incredible. That was almost 10 years ago and I think it was only in the low- to mid-$30’s. I moved back into Manhattan for 7 or 8 years and then when I moved back this past march I was upset at what they had become because I had thought about that steak for years and told my wife how great it was. I feel like there’s a ton more money in this town than when I left and far fewer upscale dining and drinking (this place really needs a decent beer bar) establishments. What’s up with that? Even other places still standing with basically the same theme aren’t offering as high quality entrees as they used to.

Rutgerknights
Member
Rutgerknights

I have been to Buskers a few times over the past 3-4 months and it is usually by default but the outside is a nice option. The food was ok once we finally got it but the beer wasn’t cold. Once I mentioned this to the new owner, he wasn’t like “sorry”, but started saying “oh nobody else has complained” type of response. Basically made me feel like I was lying and was pretty rude. This isn’t the only time I have seen him interact with customers which to me explains why there isn’t a line out the door. It’s not hard. Good Food, Good Service & Good Cold Beer. They weren’t even to Meatloaf’s standards of 2 out of 3. Point to this story… I heard they are saying they are closing but are opening up under a new name. Why not say closed for renovation? Shady maneuver. They should call the new bar “Witness Protection” because that is what it sounds like the owners are doing. Can you say “Grand opening….Grand Closing”?

ustaboken
Member
ustaboken

Maybe there is a little more too it than what meets the eye? Maybe the owners are not into passing out information to some random slob that complains about his 3 dollar coors light being to warm? Maybe there has been a change of ownership that not all parties are aware off and the new ownership is looking to start with a clean slate, name, concept, setup, vibe, chef, menu, whatever…

[quote comment=”209375″]I have been to Buskers a few times over the past 3-4 months and it is usually by default but the outside is a nice option. The food was ok once we finally got it but the beer wasn’t cold. Once I mentioned this to the new owner, he wasn’t like “sorry”, but started saying “oh nobody else has complained” type of response. Basically made me feel like I was lying and was pretty rude. This isn’t the only time I have seen him interact with customers which to me explains why there isn’t a line out the door. It’s not hard. Good Food, Good Service & Good Cold Beer. They weren’t even to Meatloaf’s standards of 2 out of 3. Point to this story… I heard they are saying they are closing but are opening up under a new name. Why not say closed for renovation? Shady maneuver. They should call the new bar “Witness Protection” because that is what it sounds like the owners are doing. Can you say “Grand opening….Grand Closing”?[/quote]

WelshFarmsMilkman
Member
WelshFarmsMilkman
Rutgers – numerous parts of your post don’t even make sense. What the heck are “Meatloaf’s standards”? People generally like the food there and it’s better than much of the other pub grub in town. Why is it a “shady maneuver” for the new owners to close down for a couple weeks? They’re doing it in order to renovate and modernize the space, and to give the business a new identity. Rutgers Football might be in witness protection, but the owners of Buskers offer friendliness and transparency. I’m surprised of the reaction you claim to have experienced about the warm beer, I wouldn’t see what the problem with a return would be there.[quote comment=”209375″]I have been to Buskers a few times over the past 3-4 months and it is usually by default but the outside is a nice option. The food was ok once we finally got it but the beer wasn’t cold. Once I mentioned this to the new owner, he wasn’t like “sorry”, but started saying “oh nobody else has complained” type of response. Basically made me feel like I was lying and was pretty rude. This isn’t the only time I have seen him interact with customers which to me explains why there isn’t a line out the door. It’s not hard. Good Food, Good Service & Good Cold Beer. They weren’t even to Meatloaf’s standards of 2 out of 3. Point to this story… I heard they are saying they are closing but are opening up… Read more »
jerseychris
Member
jerseychris

If they were smart they would rename it back to Miss Kitty’s and change it so it looked the same way it did back then…

mjf474_2
Member

I spoke to one of the owners back in June and he said they were closing for a few weeks in May to rename the bar, and to do some minor renovations. Obviously May came and went… no changes, so they probably knew back then that they were going to close.

QJ201
Member
QJ201

Buskers is in my neighborhood and walk by all the time. Seems busy, but perhaps the renovated McSwiggins (my irish genes still find that name offensive) did them in.

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