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Helmers' Restaurant

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Helmers' RestaurantHelmers' Restaurant
Very Good
17 Ratings
Helmers' RestaurantHelmers' Restaurant

Type: Bar, Eatery

1036 Washington St
Hoboken, New Jersey, 07030-5202
United States

(201) 963-3333

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 17 |  Reviews: 13
Reviews by donniecuffs:
Photo of donniecuffs
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

A little on the pricey side, but hardcore German/Bavarian restaurants like this are hard to come by these days...and the management more than likely knows it. All of the fantastic wursts on the menu make you feel as if you were back in the homeland, while the freshness of the beer is fairly good as well. The down-to-earth atmosphere reflects the fact that this place, which I think (but please don't quote me) is the oldest restaurant in Hoboken, has developed a loyal following over the years. Furthermore, it seems as if most of the patrons know exactly what they're getting before they arrive...and crave it. The beer selection is good, with a focus on...take a wild guess...German beers, but they could mix it up a little. The service is decent and no-nonsense, but doesn't give you any warm fuzzies. All in all, this place is well worth the trip if you're feeling a little German.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of almostjay
4.04/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Photo of muskiesman
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of claspada
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3

This place has a German feel to it with a lot of German decor with a smallish amount of indoor space and one of the larger patios on Washington St since it wraps around two sides of the restaurant (located on a corner). We went to this establishment early in the afternoon on a Saturday (while it was still cold in the early spring) but it was still really loud - and there really weren't any local sports being televised at the time.

The beer were poured well and served in proper glassware at a reasonable (maybe a touch too cold) temperature. As you would expect, the taps were dominated by standard German brews that you are likely to find in just about every German restaurant/bar in the greater NYC area (and likely throughout the country based on distribution). I was certainly able to find some beers that I enjoy but nothing that is not easy to find elsewhere. I think there were also a couple on non-German taps with a Belgian and maybe two big craft options.

The service was friendly though a bit slow - there were all of 10 people in the combined restaurant/bar areas with a bartender and couple of waitresses and it still took about 15 minutes before our order was taken at the bar.

The food looked and smelled good but we did not try it during this visit.

Prices were a touch on the high side for the area.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

My brother-in-law brought me here a few years back. Our return trip was after "the fire" and rebuild.

Atmosphere is nice. German decor. Nice corner location on the main street through Hoboken. Outdoor seating wraps around the front and side. Not a huge place. Maybe a bit on the loud side.

As commmented by a number of reviewers, the bathroom is great. Lots of tile. The floor length urinal gets a plus in my book (filled with ice non-the-less).

Beers were served in German glassware that was at least in the ballpark for style, if not always spot on.

Service was great. Our waitress offerred both recommendations and pronounciations when requested. She knew the beers and menu quite well.

It's hard to knock the selection. It's a German place so I don't expect more than a bunch of German beers. Over the dozen or more taps, there were a number of pils (DAB, Spaten, and others), a couple weizens (Paulaner, Weihenstephaner), a dunkel, a Belgian (Affligem which I would have reviewed if on my own) and a couple of domestics. There's more craft, imports, and BMC in the bottle. You might be disappointed if you're looking for some "hard to finds," but it's a German place.

Food was heavily German. We had a bacon wrapped wurst that came out with a variety of mustard and some smarty art clams with almost a pepper relish (I'm thinking not quite German but good). Dinner for me was an Oktoberfest patter of wurst, an awesome slice of bone-in pork (surprising not overcooked), potatoes, kraut, and other tasty goodness. I also enjoyed some schnitzel and spatzle. Seemed pretty authentic to me.

Pricetag was a little hefty. I'd go back and maybe scale back my food order if it wasn't a vacation splurge.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.16/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in here for a second while walking through Hoboken. I was really unsure of the whole scene in the town as it seemed a little uppity, but this really felt like a nice chil place. Not the greatest selection in the world, but it seemed like a welcome respite from the noise and club music of the rest of the town. Nice selection of quality german lagers and the food looked terrific. Nice and friendly staff and a cool atmosphere I could see myslef hanging out here again one day on my next trip.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Located uptown on the main strip of Washington Street, this well-known local establishment has a thoroughly German atmosphere (a German flag hangs outside)... The food menu specializes in all things German and Bavarian...
I went there in the early afternoon, so the place wasn't crowded at all... They had on tap Paulaner, Magic Hat #9, Palm, Leffe Brune, and other well known varieties, including a nice bottled list...
I ordered a Tilapia sandwich, which was quite good... The waitress was amiable although she didn't appear to know a very great deal about beer...
Pleasant atmosphere although the main menu was a bit pricey...
Definitely worth a stop-in if you like German food and beers...

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Photo of MarcGetty
2.8/5  rDev -26.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 3

I had hoped to visit Helmer's last year after the St. Pattys day parade but it was not yet open due to the fire and subsequent renovations. This year it was open and some friends and I went there after the parade. We chose Helmer's because it was German and supposedly had a good beer selection, plus they were not charging a cover, just forcing you to wait in line forever.

"Supposedly good beer selection" is the key phrase here. Sure, they have the staples of a German restaurant (Paulaner, Weihenstephaner, etc.) on tap but not much more. The bottle selection was just plain poor.

The worst part of the beer experience: $8 to $9 for a small plastic cup of Paulaner or La Chouffe. The prices varied throughout the night too, they were never consistent and the plastic cups were getting smaller as the night went on. Some folks got glasses, we got shit, even when pleading with the waitress for a real glass.

As for the food, I had no problem with what I ordered, but not serving potato pancakes "on the weekend" as the waitress said was just a crime. Others in my party got steak and were not too happy with it.

Interesting place. I'll go back again, but not with the high level of optimism that I had before visiting the first time.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

There are better places in Hoboken. No doubt. But at least it's been recently refurbished after the fire.

Average beer selection (yeah, you can get Hoegaarden and average German imports anywhere now). Even the meathead bars have a fair selection these days. Still, there's nothing bad on tap, and only two micros out of mainly Germans and Belgians, so who can complain?

Somewhat pricey. More for beer than food I think. And I'm taking into account that this is NY, although not Manhattan. But they're charging Manhattan prices - so, not cool. As far as food goes, well, German is German. Decent presentation. Fresh. Certainly up to par. The other items are fair as well. - No potato pancakes on weekends... why is that?

Poor service. Repeatedly bad service. But that's almost expected, isn't it? College kids who know they're going to make 'X' amount of dollars regardless. Untrained. Uncaring. Be thankful they're not your doctor! - - -On the other hand, service during the day and early evening can be superb!!! Let the age of your server be your guide. Please tip accordingly.

So... ... ... cool little bathrooms? I guess that's basically what they've got going for them. Oh, and a history of being there. Not that that means much to the kids that hang out there now. Nice tap selection. Nice looking place. Decent food. Service brings it down at night.

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Photo of rgirl
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 2

Visited on 12-9-07.

I realize that this may of been a great old school spot before the fire but it is now a way-overpriced place that is trying to live on its reputation alone. Unfortunately that great old school flavor has not made the transition to the "new" Helmers.

$100. spent on dinner for two and a few pints. This place is a way, way overpriced!

$5. for a tiny cup of chicken noodle soup that tasted like it was directly from a can? rediculous.

$19. for a no more than average Saurbraten plate with a tiny amount of red cabbage and one almost flavorless potato dumpling.

$23. for a wurst plate that included only 1 bratwurst, one "country sausage" and one knockwurst (aka frankfurter), and no potato pancakes on the weekend?

$7. for a Weihenstephaner?

$8.50 for a an Anchor Steam 2007 Christmas Ale? I mean come on. What justifies that?

Then there was the so-called service. We politely asked the waitress how to pronounce a four sylable name of a German chicken dish listed on the menu and her total response was "I have no idea".

I cannot understand how this place justifies such extreme prices for middle of the road, average food, small portions and an uninspired tap list.

I have been to many current and past NY area German restaurants (Lorely's, Von Westerhagens, Schnitzel Haus in Brooklyn, Shaffers in Staten Island, etc, etc) and all offered dishes that were far superior to Helmers and all were without exception a much better value.

I am the last person to complain about price when a restaurant or tavern offers something that justifies the price. This place though has the audacity to present below average German cuisine along with aloof service and then charge prices as if they were the best that existed. My suggestion would be to avoid the "new" Helmers.

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Photo of bk3nj
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I love Helmers. It's my favorite stop in the 'Boken for both beer and tasty German food. Ok, it's really the only place in Hoboken for German food, but it does the job admirably on both fronts. As for the beer, I've never been disappointed. The list of bottles runs to around 100 or so, and is conveniently arranged on the menu by style (highlights include Celebrator, Victory Pils, and a good assortment of Belgians - presumably annexed during Germany's occupation...).

The bottle pricing is a little steep, but draft pricing is pretty standard (~$5). They've generally got Jever, Reissdorf, and Weihenstephaner Hefe on draft (the last is one of my very favorites). As for eating, check out the Black Forest Huhnerbrust or the Mixed Wurst platter (mit kartoffelmus, natürlich!)

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Photo of crenegar
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Keeping in mind that not too many places in this area of the world are inexpensive - Helmers is probably about average. The selection of draft beer is very nice, about 10 taps with some good variety. As hot as this summer has been its great to see 3 or 4 pilseners on tap. Baderbrau and Lowenbrau are both fantastic, Jever too and Victory Pils was also on. Reissdorf Kolsch is another great choice when its 90 degrees out. The food here is very good and authentic German for the most part. Helmers is a great place to eat, drink and relax, as long as its not too crowded.

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Photo of NJbeerman
4.44/5  rDev +16.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

It has been a while since I got a chance to actually sit down and have a beer here - I mostly get to stop in for business. My buddy John and I stopped by to drop off some glasses and have A beer. Well three beers later we started to discuss taking off.

The place is very comfortable and the people are extremely friendly - staff and customers. We were happy to be involved in a beer discussion with a client and the bartender.

The beer list is fantastic although they always seem to be out of something on draft. That is not too much of a problem since you can always find something nice to drink. I would like to see more 25 oz bottles but there is a space issue.

Beers include lunacy, brooklyn, magic hat, chimay, lachouffe, duvel, schneider etc etc etc. You can almost always find something that you either have not tried or haven't tried in a while.

The last but best thing I have to say is that Rich (bartender/owner) makes a point to get the right glass for the beer. If he doesn't have the labeled one, he will get the same style for you.

I was unable to get dinner this time but I have head fantastic things.

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Photo of saltydog
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This is a marvellous place, very atmospheric, with lots of cluttered German knicknacks on the walls. The selection is very good, both draft and bottles-by far the best in Hoboken, and the food is excellent. A special favorite of mine is the bauernwurst wrapped in bacon-not exactly health food, I know, but might tasty! Anyway a great place, and an easy bus ride from midtown for curious New Yorkers. Closed Sunday and most of August (check their very good website for particulars).

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This is a great little place, and a very big relief to me. I am not in the area of many bars with good food, and this one has great food, and a great selection. It is styled as a very old bar with a lot of wood, old paintings, and some nice german steins. Seating outside is available also which is cool for a nice day.

The selection was pretty good. There were 18 taps, nothing new really, but a selection that would certainly satisfy me. Bottled selection was also fairly good. I was happy with the quality of the beer and the glassware it was served in. Service was a little low because the woman did not say a word to me except for, "Are you finished?". She was not rude by any means, but she did not make a real effort to be nice.

The food was excellent. I got a Wurst Platter with 3 different kinds of Wurst, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried onions. It was very good. The price was decent, and even though the serving looked a bit small, it was more than enough for a good meal. I will definitely go back for dinner sometime, probably when the tap selection changes.

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Helmers' Restaurant in Hoboken, NJ
Place rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 17 ratings
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