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Why You Need to Visit These 5 Hotspots This Spring

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly altered the operations of restaurants across the globe. Several places have adapted to the new norms of the current situation of the world with additional restrictions for safety by implementing outdoor dining spaces (yay!). Many of us are growing tired of this pandemic and the way it has changed our weekend plans. Feeling a sense of normalcy but continuing to social distance and maintain safety is what we’re all searching for. 

Prior to the pandemic, I was always a person that loved an eatery with an outdoor seating option. I’m desperate for a cozy dinner and some drinks outdoors with my besties- I can almost taste it! Now, there are endless options of eateries that are definitely enjoyable and within COVID-19 guidelines. I’ve visited quite a few places and curated my top five ranging from casual to dressy with amazing food and drinks perfect for warmer weather. Visiting these hotspots will help with your weekend dinner dates and fun activities with your friends. 

Just Jakes Montclair, NJ

Turning 21 during the pandemic? This is definitely the place to celebrate it! This American pub and bar is best known for its live music by cover bands on the weekends! The vibe at Just Jake’s is definitely casual, loud, and one for a group setting. You’ll enjoy going out with your girlfriends at this Montclair, NJ gem and sing your heart out. They do have outdoor seating, however, if you feel comfortable dining indoors and socially distancing, you’ll enjoy a live cover band on the weekends. As a “first come, first serve” restaurant, expect a wait.

Tips: Casual dress, 21+

Sofia Englewood, NJ

If you’re looking for a fancy and a more high-class vibe, this restaurant is a great option. This is a great atmosphere to be in and have dinner with a small number of people. I recommend this restaurant for one-on-one dates, double dates, anniversary or a birthday dinner with your significant other or friends. It features private patio seating, indoor dining, a brunch menu and even a cigar lounge, making it a place for a more mature crowd. If you’re 21+, the cocktail list offers a variety of unique drinks- “Devil in a red dress” being one of my favorites.

Tips: Smart casual dress, reservation only

District 96 Beer Factory, New City, NY

For the girls who love beer, I know you’re out there. With a chill vibe and perfect for group settings, this place screams “Sunday Funday.” With an addition of a massive outdoor patio, it’s the perfect mixture of a brewery, restaurant and bar. Although it’s best known for its uniquely crafted beer, they offer signature cocktails and sought-after burgers. With industrial and farmhouse decor, you can even see the beer being made in tall fermentation vessels. This unique place is great for any occasion- even family outings.

Tips: Casual dress

De Novo European Pub Edgewater, NJ

Looking for a view? At De Novo, it offers exceptional views of the NYC skyline and the George Washington Bridge. They have endless options of pasta dishes that you’ll dive into. I definitely recommend this place for a first date or a night out with your significant other as it’s loud and eases the awkwardness (we’ve all been there, girl). De Novo does have outdoor dining already but is expected to expand with fire pits and seating right along the Hudson River. It’s definitely worth a trip and a change of scenery. I recommend any of their crisp white wines with your dish. 

Tips: Smart casual, reservation only

Midland Brewhouse Saddle Brook, NJ

This restaurant and bar definitely offers more of a classier vibe with a big space for dining, two floors, outdoor seating and live music or cover bands on the weekends. Unlike a lot of other places, Midland Brewhouse features a huge bar in the middle of the dining area and socially distanced seating for normalcy. Ready to sing along to a cover band? Take your drinks upstairs and enjoy an acoustic music experience. This is a great place to celebrate a birthday or grab drinks after work. 

Tips: Casual, reservation only

Finding dining spots during the pandemic has been a hassle to say the least. Make sure to plan and call ahead for reservations at some restaurants. I hope you visit these places I’ve listed that offer a variety of options whether you want a classy or casual vibe.


Enisa Borova is a senior majoring in Communications and Media Arts at Montclair State University. She is passionate about writing, styling, and creating content for social media. In her free time, you can catch Enisa exercising, shopping and sipping on her favorite Starbucks drink. She is hoping to start a career in Public Relations and/or Marketing for a noble agency focused on beauty, fashion, and lifestyle.
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