Lutze Biergarten, located on the Hudson River in Jersey City, will have its grand opening on May 5. (Courtesy Photo)
JERSEY CITY — The Lutze Biergarten is set to become the next piece in Mack-Cali Realty Corporation’s plan to “activate Harborside,” a large office complex on the Jersey City waterfront.
The bar and restaurant, which celebrates its grand opening on May 5, is an outdoor riverfront beer garden, serving a variety of German and craft beer, cocktails and various food options, including bratwurst, pretzels, pub grub and a raw bar, all while featuring backyard party staples: live music and games including corn hole, shuffleboard and giant Jenga, as well as fire pits and more.
“The biggest difference from other places is that you can be outside and have a backyard atmosphere,” Ilene Jablonski, vice president of marketing for Mack-Cali, said of the beer garden, which will be located at 15 Second St in Exchange Place. “There is no where else to get that.”
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That’s where Mack-Cali comes in; the realty corporation is one of the biggest investors in Jersey City and in August the company moved their offices from Edison to Jersey City.
Mack-Cali is also in the midst of a $90 million investment project into Harborside, which includes the opening of Lutze. Another project is Urby at Harborside, a 69-story apartment building with 762 luxury apartments that has already begun leasing.
Lutze Biergarten is their first bar and restaurant for the corporation, which typically invests in and develops office space and multi-family properties.
Mack-Cali invested in the property, which includes a 20,000 square-foot parking lot, and decided there was a market for a place like Lutze. With the parking lot, which will be used to bring in vendors and host festivals in conjunction with Lutze, Jablonski said the entire space can accommodate a whopping 5,000 people at a time. The beer garden alone will serve up to 2,000 people.
She said Michael DeMarco, Mack-Cali’s CEO, is “very, very focused on Jersey City” and its continued development and its attractiveness to outsiders.
The beer garden, which will employ around 100 part-time staffers, is an ode to DeMarco’s grandfather, Wilhelm Lutze, who was born in Jersey City in 1900 to German immigrants and raised four children in the city.
In a letter on their website, DeMarco said the beer garden is inspired by Jersey City’s “rich history of accepting and welcoming new arrivals and creating a place where they could thrive and add to America’s rich tapestry of culture.”
“We built this biergarten to activate and share the waterfront that we love so much and to honor all of our heritages,” the letter continues.
Jablonksi said hours could change depending on demand, but the hours for Lutze to start will be Monday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 2 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.
Lutze Biergarten will be open seasonally from May to October.