Photo courtesy of Lynn Hazan.

If you are craving a burger and your palette just needs a break from the popular fast foods, like McDonald’s or Wendy’s, then you are in luck because Jersey City has a restaurant and bar–always a good combo–dedicated to making burgers that keep patrons coming back. 

I first heard about Left Bank over five years ago when a former coworker suggested it for lunch. They claimed it was their recent obsession and would order from them daily. Now that is a different concern, but it speaks to the obsessive-inducing quality that the menu possesses. 

When I took my first bite of a burger I remember telling myself, “I’m going to have to come back here for more.” 

And coming back has not been an issue. 

It is located on the corner of 194 Newark Avenue intersecting Jersey Avenue–marking a prime location. 

It’s the last bar restaurant–or first depending on which direction you’re coming from–before you arrive at Jersey City’s Newark Pedestrian Plaza, which holds multiple restaurants and bars for a couple of blocks. The well-placed eatery has been there since 2013. 

Crystal Garcia, bartender and manager at Left Bank, said that the best part of working there is how “homey” it’s become.

“All the familiar faces, it becomes like more family than customers,” Garcia said. “Just makes it more homey.”

Aside from the homey vibes, another factor that keeps customers coming back–including myself–is arguably the menu and ingredients. The restaurant primarily serves American and or bar food. It has strong craft beer options. The bar has a multitude of dark and light liquor choices, which allows for a lot of tasty drink combinations.  

Now, obviously, Left Bank Burger Bar is known for its burgers. 

The most popular is the Mac Daddy–a beef burger that includes applewood bacon, tomatoes, garlic herb mayo sauce and mac and cheese. Yes, it’s a potential artery clogger, but the combination of bacon and mac and cheese will have you wanting more despite the mess it may create. 

Another popular burger is the Ghostface Killer. This meal named after the famous rapper is made with espresso-rubbed beef, smoked gouda, sweet bacon tots, red onions, barbecue sauce and ghost pepper jam. 

If these burgers do not satisfy your cravings then you have the option to customize your burger. You can pick your type of bread, preferred protein (beef, turkey, chicken or veggie), cheeses, around ten sauces and add-ons ranging from avocado to mac and cheese. 

(Courtesy of Left Bank Burger Bar / Instagram)

As far as vibe and ambiance Left Bank is a great sports bar, especially for Jersey City. 

When you walk in you will notice that there are not many to little structural separation. You have an open space full of tables and chairs for people who want to enjoy dinner. Then on the back left side, you have the bar and to your right, you have two unisex bathrooms. The kitchen is located right behind the bar where only staff can enter. The left wall of the bar is brick with the name of the bar posted on with lights, it’s also used for seasonal and holiday decorations. 

As a sports fan, this is an ideal place to watch any sort of sport. There are three TVs mounted over the bar. And also a TV screen near the front for those who chose to sit and wanted to watch any games. During special events like the Superbowl, NBA finals or a local college like Saint Peter’s advancing into the NCAA Tournament, a large projector is dropped down on the left wall for everyone to see. There are constant specials and happy hour is from Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with $6 drink choices.

The staff is friendly and fun and most of them are residents of Jersey City. You will find a lot of regulars being friendly and familiar with the staff. 

Garcia said the burger bar “absolutely” represents Jersey City.

“Why? Because it’s made by people who are born and raised in Jersey City,” she added. “Staff is all Jersey City locals. We’re pretty chill, laid back. And then everyone comes here [makes] a big melting pot so that represents Jersey City pretty well.”

Left Bank Burger Bar has 4.1 stars on Yelp and 4.5 Stars on Grub Hub and Seamless. Despite the good ratings, they don’t do this sports bar justice. Go for the Burger, the ambiance and a good time.    

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