With the current rising popularity of Jersey City, our brilliant little niche of culture and excitement this side of the Hudson, there are so many amazing opportunities for sharing a great bite with friends. Gone are the days of popping into the city every weekend as there are endless fun things to do right here in JC. One thing that can sometimes be challenging, though, regardless of what city or town you are in, is finding a good spot for a large group. Luckily, Jersey City gives us plenty of unique options. Many of these spots will take reservations, so definitely call ahead. Whether you're celebrating a birthday dinner, memorable work event, or hosting a family reunion (I've brought my "parents and co." to many of these joints), these places have you covered! Now, how you decide to split the check is totally up to you.
One of the gems of Jersey City in the warmer months, this place is a crowd-pleaser for sure. Stun your visitors with the unparalleled, unobstructed view of Manhattan, play some cornhole, bring your pups along, and have some summer fun. The best part with a big group is that you can either sit down in the tree-lined and twinkle-light-adorned service-only dining area and split some wood-fired pizzas, or get what you're craving on your own and gather at the picnic tables or around the lawn on some Adirondack chairs. With crab cake sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs, fried seafood baskets, hummus and charcuterie platters, a raw bar, and so much more to choose from, thanks to the resident vendors and rotating on-site food trucks, everyone will find something they like. 15 2nd St.
Love it for their unique take on tacos and drink flights, and keep coming back for the ambience. The '90s hip hop, the colorfully (yet hip and tastefully) designed décor, and the taco truck window into the kitchen help make this place such a memorable spot for a party. The picnic tables and foliage out front make for a perfect late-summer brunch spot to accommodate your crew, or set up in the awesome interior and share a bunch of plates and pitchers (try ALL of the tacos. And the "Poppin' Off" jalapeno poppers. And the spicy El Chapo margarita). Gringo's is also always ready to party, with sombreros and maracas at the ready!! 12 Coles St.
This underground tropical tiki bar has some of the best Asian-fusion shareable dishes and the most fun, unique cocktails in town. Their Korean-style wings are my absolute favorite in Jersey City, hands down….and we have a LOT of great wing spots!!! The selection of bao is always super yummy (make sure to ask about the daily specials), and the smoky, spicy cornbread with honey-togarashi butter is literally the stuff of my foodie dreams. The service is always on point, and the bartenders are super knowledgeable. Make sure your group arrives with an appetite; between the delicious, ever-changing, fruity drinks (they even have large-format cocktails that quench the thirst of many) and the wealth of shareable food options, you will not leave Cellar 335 hungry!!! 335 Newark Ave.
Whether you hang out in the rustic, garage-inspired indoors, or enjoy sunny weather in the globe-lit backyard with picnic tables, Hamilton Pork is perfect to bring your crew. The Texas-style BBQ joint is well-known for their savory smoked meats and their Taco Tuesdays, and they have some of the best cocktails in town. It is one of my favorite spots to go for day drinking and food sharing on a gorgeous day, grab brunch on a Monday holiday (Labor Day is coming up), or grab a seat at the bar on a low-key Sunday for a cocktail and a sandwich (El Pollo Loco or Spicy Chicken are my faves). My family always requests to come here when they are in town, and we share tons of plates like the Meat Sampler, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread, Mexican Street Corn, a selection of tacos, and bacon-y brussel sprouts. Honestly everything on the menu is drool-worthy! 247 10th St.
One of the absolute best ways to enjoy food and drink with a crowd! Bring your crew along to Hudson Hall, where the large biergarten-style picnic tables can accommodate everyone, and the dishes are best shared. The carefully detailed décor of this Eastern European smokehouse and beer hall (the subway tile and arch through the open kitchen! The stunning main bar! The plant-lined and cozy side deli with outdoor stools looking in!) is sure to please your guests, and you can't go wrong with anything on their menu. The "Big Pretzel," Portobello Fries, and smoked meat selection, to name a few, are perfectly sharable, and don't forget to get order up a few sandwiches to share or keep all to yourself. The Hot Chicken, Pastrami, and Lobster Roll are some of my current faves. 364 Marin Blvd.
Rustic yet industrial, this Italian-influenced eatery is housed in an old bank. Luna is by far my favorite iteration of this space (it has been other restaurants in the past few years), with thought-out décor with a clean, inviting look. Luna's square footage and various dining areas allow for quite the crowd, and is another local area that is wonderful for sharing dishes. Their meatballs (that sauce!), Meat and Cheese Board, Burrata, and Grilled Polenta with mushrooms will get you started, and you can't go wrong with any of their salads and entrees. If you and your crew are craving a throwback, Luna's take on Cacio e Pepe brings me back to, and I mean this in the absolute BEST way possible, no sarcasm here, a grown-up and handmade take on that mac and cheese in the blue box we all remember. Treat yourself to their succulent Braised Short Rib over ricotta gnocchi. Or, get both and share. The Cabernet float on their signature cocktail, the Jersey City Sour, will keep you coming back for more. 279 Grove St.
Jersey City staple Satis Bistro is a perfect place to host both smaller get-togethers from birthday celebrations to showers, to large parties like wedding receptions, where you are able to rent out the entire restaurant. The upper mezzanine loft is amazing for private parties, but the overall restaurant has an intimate vibe in general. Satis is well-known for amazing brunch in JC, and the dinner menu can't be beat, either; the Chef's Selection of Artisan Cheeses, and house-made Ricotta Gnocchi are favorites. 212 Washington St.
Welcome Rumba Cubana to the JC family. The restaurant has three other locations, with the Hamilton Park location being the newest. Cuban music and palms set the mood as soon as you enter–this place catapults you to vacation mode. It is a super lively and fun atmosphere, and the perfect place to celebrate an occasion with your friends. The giant menu will have something for everyone; the ceviche and Lanchita de Regla (a plantain stuffed with ground beef and cheese) are two shareable items that I plan on getting every time I am there! The mojitos and other rum-based drinks take you to another (tropical) place, and I will be back to sample the Caribbean mofongos and the many desserts. 237 Pavonia Ave.
Acclaimed chef Dale Talde's namesake restaurant is one of the best spots in town for a large group, plus it's only a block from the Grove Street Path. It's a lively spot with good music, trendy lantern lights, an expansive bar, and a can't-miss Asian-fusion menu. Grab a cozy booth with your group or the entire central long family-style table (I recommend reserving this in advance). You don't even have to commit to sitting –the bar is so inviting, that you'll want to get up and wander around. Start with their yummy bao and edamame (they've got some kick!), and keep making your way through the menu with the Supreme Ramen, Grilled Octopus Salad, and more. For an even more festive time, head over for their special Kamayan night. 8 Erie St.
Zeppelin Hall Biergarten is not only a great place to go with a large group to eat and drink, but it's a great place to throw a party, listen to music, or watch the big game. This expansive restaurant and bar has two German Biergarten-inspired main indoor rooms with picnic table seating and a huge outdoor bar and patio, also with picnic table seating. They always have their traditional biergarten menu (you can't go wrong with the giant pretzel!), but they often host themed menus, so check their facebook page for updates. Plus, their Executive Chef Franco Robazetti (also of Surf City) recently won Chopped! 88 Liberty View Dr.
Jersey City Food Festivals
One of the very best ways to take in all that Jersey City has to offer is to bring your friends and family to a food festival in town. Your large group can walk around and sample various food and drinks from local establishments; bring cash, just in case, though many vendors accept cards these days. From the upcoming Annual All About Downtown Street Fair (September 15th) hosting hundreds of local vendors and food trucks and bringing in tens of thousands of visitors, to the Holiday Market, to the Hamilton Park BBQ Festival, to Project EATS earlier in the summer, not to mention the many other street fairs and festivals going on all year long, there is always something to do in JC. Following jcdowntown.org is a great way to stay up on all the local events; there is something for everyone!
Jersey Girls Food Tours
For groups of foodies looking to learn as much as possible about the local spots, their amazing chefs and master mixologists, and the ingredients they use to make their dishes so special (not to mention a little JC history along the way), the very perfect adventure is a day with Jersey Girls Food Tours! These super knowledgeable and fun gals really know how to host a crowd. With partners like brewery Departed Soles, Bucket & Bay Gelato, Hudson Hall, Pet Shop, Gringo's, Porta, Pasta Dal Cuore, and more, your group will get to learn a ton via meet and greets with local chefs and owners, while trying a bunch of amazing dishes that make each stop so unique. I chatted with Alessia from JGFT while compiling this and couldn't wait to add JGFT to round out this list. They can host small groups (I have gone with just a friend of mine, teamed up with a few other tour-goers), up to one hundred people! It is truly one of the best ways to spend an unforgettable time with your crew in Jersey City, locals and visitors alike. Go to www.jerseygirlsfoodtours.com to learn about the Downtown Jersey City Tour and Hamilton Park Food Tours, among other Jersey hotspots.
Written by Sam Cooper
Sam is a toy designer, illustrator, and graphic designer by day, and a fitness enthusiast and wanna-be chef by night. A NJ native, she has lived in Downtown Jersey City with her husband since 2014, and has fallen in love with everything JC has to offer. You can follow her beer-loving, restaurant-hopping explorations on Instagram @sam.cooper.studios!