Haledon and Hoboken, New Jersey Family-owned business at its best
What it is: With two locations about twenty miles apart in northeastern New Jersey, The Shepherd & the Knucklehead is the place to go for beer. The original location in Haledon, now approaching its twentieth anniversary, offers a homey, cozy vibe, while the Hoboken location, opened in 2016, brings a trendier sports-bar vibe. Both locations dazzle with ninety taps in Haledon and sixty in Hoboken featuring a rotating mix of local, regional, and international brews.
Why it’s great: This father-son business is a people-pleaser that leaves pretension behind. The Haledon location attracts a melting pot of bar goers—professors and researchers from nearby William Paterson University, youths bellying up to the bar to see their favorite bartenders, and elders looking to try their next NJ pint (at least twenty of the taps pour something local). The Hoboken location caters more to the “going out” scene, while both locations offer plenty of local brews (Brick City, Carton, Kane). Then, there’s the food—you won’t go hungry here, as the Shep also slings one of the most robust menus for a metropolitan beer bar, with standouts including steaks butchered on site, Asian-style wings, and a mean poutine. —Cat Wolinski