(Image taken from 10th Street Live Website)
Just off Kenilworth Boulevard, you’ll find a street between 11th and 9th Street aptly named 10th Street. On this street, sandwiched between suburban homes and a small industrial complex, you’ll find a bar called 10th Street Live. Like beer? Like craft beers you probably won’t find at many other bars? Like live music? This place has all of it.
(Image taken from NJ.Gov)
Back in high school and early into my college career, I played in an indie-rock band that frequently played 10th Street Live after it opened. At the time, the place was a brand new establishment. Due to some guys in the music scene working there, we were offered plenty of slots on various nights.
Much like Crossroads, this place is one of those staples in the Central Jersey music scene. Almost any band that’s played Crossroads has also played at 10th Street Live. While both provide a place for local artists to play their hearts out on stage, they are both very different places.
Crossroad’s alcohol selection caters much more to the casual drinker, as they offer a wide variety of beer ranging from the common to a few not-so-common along with their distinctive menu that offers a taste of New Orleans-style dishes. 10th Street Live offers an in-depth selection of craft beers paired with an excellent menu that caters to a broader market.
Walking in to 10th Street Live, you’ll find a dimly lit venue with modest bar décor that features a large stage against the back wall. Though the lights may be dim, they create a more intimate atmosphere that fosters a friendly social environment. I noticed that even those who came alone found conversation with others by the end of the night.
10th Street Live’s food is also seriously good. I highly recommend their French fries, as they taste fresh and carefully prepared. They do not taste like someone dumped a plastic bag into a deep fryer. Additionally, their menu of unique sandwich combinations is something to be explored as well.
Along with unique food items, the bar also features a wide variety of beers that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the area. Every time I’ve been there, the drink selections have changed, which is always a treat for craft beer aficionados. Not to mention, the bartenders are also very friendly, personable people and are willing to explain the new selections to patrons at any given moment.
This venue, however, is more than just a bar with craft beers and good food. 10th Street Live plays a large role in perpetuating the thriving Union County indie music scene, and has now been doing so for years. The last time I played there with my old band was about four years ago. When I visited there again this past month, it felt as if the place never changed. The crowd was full of positive energy, the people were just as friendly, and the music was just as good, if not better. There is a scene erupting in this region where people are attending shows just for the sake of attending them to hear excellent musicians play quality music. For a great late night entertainment experience that differs from the rest, mark this place on your list of places to go.