Inside Dullboy, a Jersey City Cocktail Bar From the Team Behind the Garret
Dullboy's name and décor are influenced by Stephen King's The Shining.
All photos by Adam Robb
Park & Sixth shuttered its original Jersey City sandwich shop last December, and last week reopened as Dullboy (364 Grove Street, 201-795-1628), the downtown neighborhood's first legitimate cocktail destination. And while the bar's name is inspired by a line from Stephen King's The Shining, it's Brian Dowling's cooking that still casts a specter, supplementing a drinks menu developed by his partners in West Village bar the Garret, with snacks like bacon-wrapped cherry tomato tacos, thick-cut rosemary potato chips, and his latest iteration of a monster burger (this time a double bacon cheeseburger smothered in caramelized shallots).
"I'd been running Brian's marketing for four years, while on the side trying to open a bar in Manhattan, and somewhere along the way it made sense to be partners over here," Adam Fulton told the Voice. But the founder of branding agency New Standard wasn't looking to just open an offshoot of the Garret across the river. "For one thing," he says, "the Garret doesn't have any food, unless you count the Five Guys burgers downstairs."
The opening food menu is a legacy of Park & Sixth, but Fulton and beverage director Grant Wheeler are determined to test what locals like with an eye toward oysters over fried food, so as not to overwhelm the palate.
The cheeseburger is a legacy item from Park & Sixth, which formerly occupied the space.
Enlivening the palate is Wheeler's domain. He and much of the Garret's bar team commute between the two locations, executing classic cocktails such as the Last Word, Between the Sheets, and Old Pal with a steady hand, and draw on a well of bottles unrivaled in town — while charging a buck less than nearby competitors Talde, Third & Vine, and Union Republic.
Signature cocktails will emerge in time, with a cocktail of the day, and a promise not to overlap with their Manhattan menu. "It's about learning the space," Wheeler told us. "We just want to be a resource for people to come in and have a good time."
That also means beer, and lines are being installed this week so they can offer a lager, IPA, stout, and seasonal rotation of saisons and lambics in the warmer months.
The cocktail menu leans heavily toward classics such as the Last Word, Paloma, and Gibson.
The bar's redesign, however, complements the current chill, though its inspiration was a true eureka-in-the-bathtub moment. "I had the idea in the shower," Fulton said. "I started thinking about the name, and I hadn't seen The Shining in a while. But two days later, Brian called me and asked if we want to do the Garret in Jersey City, and I said no, it's going to be called Dullboy."
Now, in lieu of Park & Sixth's American kitsch, spare winter-white brick walls mounted with sconce-lighted vintage typewriters face floor-to-ceiling flapping hardcovers, giving the room an eerie mystique without going the full "Redrum" — the only spirit not behind the bar.
Follow Adam Robb on Instagram, @foodwordsandpictures.
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