Bar and Grill

A Fresh Delight
By Amanda-Kathryn
(aka RamblesofRed)

School is almost done for the semester (thank God), because I’m feeling
restless! After doing a 7-page paper on Othello, and managing not to die
from MLA citation hell, I decided to go out and celebrate at The Straphanger
Saloon in Hackensack. If you are a bus traveler like myself, the bar is
not that far of a commute for you…about a 20-minute
walk from Hackensack Bus Terminal. If the bus
isn’t for you, then definitely opt for a quick train
ride. The bar is next to Anderson Street Station,
convenient if you are just getting out of work and needing to decompress.

Upon entering the bar, I was immediately greeted by the famous Mimi Kim.
She gave me the biggest hug and smile, and it didn’t take me long
to feel right at home in a bar of strangers. The round bar
has ample seating, and plenty of big screens for all of you
sports junkies. If you are looking for more activity, darts and
pool are also available in the backroom next to the bar, but
don’t be concerned about space issues. There was plenty
of room for a group, and this bar can handle a crowd. So,
have no fear! You will not be squished into a corner, and
Mimi will make sure that even if you are loner like me, you
won’t be lost in a sea of people and forgotten about.

Once I was able to take in my surroundings, Mimi directed
me to a seat, and according to her, “it was time for the
Strap Experience!” The first thing on the menu? A Blueberry
Vodka Mojito. Now let me emphasize that the Straphanger
had many awesome things about it, but the thing I loved the
most was the fresh ingredients for drinks surrounding the bar.
Mimi takes special care in her mixing and muddling, using only
the freshest mint leaves from her “bouquet” and for this drink,
blueberries combined with club soda, Sprite, limes, and surprisingly…vodka.
Now you may be thinking, where’s the rum?
Mimi’s choice of using vodka not only made this drink taste
smoother, it emphasized the flavors of the fruit and mint giving
it just the right balance. This mojito is not only refreshing,
it is inspiring, and a must try for all.

The drink went especially well with my first food choice for
the evening, the Pepper Jack Sticks. Now I love cheese, so
this was an awesome starter for me. A cool spin on mozzarella
sticks, this appetizer is made fresh to order. Mozzarella is cut, hand breaded,
and the best part? The cheese was melted to perfection, and the breading
has a slight kick to it.

Don’t fear the name, you won’t be breathing fire after consuming.
After my cheese binge, it was time for round 2 of drinks.
Mimi’s next suggestion, The Whiskey Smash.
This drink consists of sugar, whiskey, lemons, mint leaves, club soda,
and Sprite, and like the Blueberry Mojito, the presentation was amazing
and the taste superb. You can barely taste the whiskey (dangerous yet appealing),
but unlike my starter mojito, it had a slightly sweet, citrusy, mint
combo where none of the ingredients overpowered the other.
This drink is a good option if you are hard drinker but wanting to try
something a little different and was the perfect match for my next appetizer,
The Sweet Chili Wings. The wings are dry rubbed in jerk seasoning,
oven baked, and deep fried with your option of sauce, and my my…
the sweet chili sauce was every thing I could have hoped for, and
the meat was tender and succulent. If you’re a wing lover, you don’t
want to miss these.

At this point I needed to give my stomach a rest, which leads to
drink number 3 for the evening: The Champagne Sangria.
If I could fall in love with a drink, this would be it.
Made with champagne, raspberry liqueur, brandy, pineapple
juice and garnished with fresh raspberries and mint,
this cocktail is not only refreshing, it is sweet and crisp and
gave me butterflies when having it. Unfortunately,
you can only get this Pretty in Pink concoction on Sundays (tear).
But you can tie yourself over on Tuesday with my next food
of choice, tacos! Made with your choice of chicken,
ground beef, or steak in a soft taco shell…the options
are limitless. Served with sour cream and lettuce, this
dish is not only great tasting, but affordable at $2.

Sorry Taco Bell, I’m going to be cheating on you for a while…
For my final hour, my father decided to join me for one last drink.
Little did he know Mimi had a few more tricks up her sleeve for me.
She decided to save the best for last with the final meal for our travels.
Although this dish is only available on Fridays, the famous Strap
hanger Saloon Flank Steak is made at your preference of
temperature, making the meat tender and juicy.
It arrives on a hot plate, and is served with an awesome parsley, garlic,
and vinegar sauce complete with hand cut fries. This is a great Friday
night treat for those wanting to escape the usual cheeseburger routine
and looking for a finer dining experience without the high price tag.

I would recommend going with the Whiskey Mule, my final
drink for the evening, to go with the steak. If you are a tea drinker,
let me emphasize: this is the drink for you. Its combination of whiskey
and ginger beer flavors will have you unwinding in no time, and it is
a great finisher drink after a good hearty meal.  I highly recommend checking
out the #1 Dive Bar in NJ, The Straphanger Saloon in Hackensack.
With its combination of fresh food, awesome drinks, Karaoke Taco Tuesdays,
Flank Steak Fridays, and Dart/Pool games galore, the Straphanger will be
your new home away from home.

Thanks for making me feel part of the Strap
family, Mimi!

About author