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Gathering Place in Livingston, NJ area?

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I'm getting married on a Saturday in April in Madison, NJ. We're staying in Livingston at the Westminster Hotel (Rte 10 near Eisenhower Parkway). We're looking for a place for the night before (no rehearsal dinner) to meet up with any guests coming into town a day early - we don't want to rent out a place or arrange a whole event, we just want a place where we can hang out and friends can come and go during the evening. We're hosting people the following night at the bar at the Westminster, so that's out for Friday night.

We want a bar with good food that would be flexible having up to 40 people coming and going throughout the night, mostly for drinks and appetizers. The only places we've found near there that are big enough are bad chain restaurants like Applebee's and Chilis on Rte 10. We'd prefer something like the Meeting Place in Madison (now called 54 Main?) that's half bar/half food, but we want to stay as close to the hotel as we can.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Hi Astoria,
    "Johnny's on the Green" could be fun for your group. It is at the public golf couse, East Orange Golf Course but is really in Short Hills just about a mile from intersection of Route 510 and Eisenhower Pkwy. Westminster Hotel is near Eisenhower and Rte 10 (which is parallel to 510). They have pretty good bar food, sometimes live music, is a gathering place for area singles on some nights.
    Other options take you further away and into Livingston...
    There is a Houlihans (another "bad chain") on Route 10 very close to your hotel as well as an Olive Garden!!
    Cheers and Congrats!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathycagmai

      I hear good things about Johnny's on the Green.. A very good friend hangs out there during the summer month on the veranda....but it may be a little cold for that now.

      Houlihan's, I believe is no longer open....

      If you are a smoker, there's JR's on route 10 in Whippany. I haven't been there in a year, but they have a very good bar menu and a dining area. The Fruit and Cheese platter and Pizzas are very good and large enough for sharing.

      For an Irish Pub, there's Molly Malone's, also on Route 10 in Whippany. Nothing fancy, but you can get a nice burger or steak very reasonably priced.

      Last, You can go to Chevy's in Morris Plains/Parsippany, also on Route 10.

    2. We've had some company social gatherings at Jim Johnston's Steakhouse, up Eisenhower just north of Eagle Rock Road (about 10 minutes from your location). Big bar, basic but decently done bar food - you might want to check it out.

      http://www.jimjohnstons.com/

      1. My 1st reaction would be The Landmark right there on Mt. Pleasant 2 minutes away, but you'd pretty much have to take over the whole place..and may be too casual.

        I think Panevino, just as close, has a private room.

        Congrats!

        1. Thanks to everyone for these great suggestions. We had looked at Panevino first but they weren't sure they could handle a lot of people flowing through at different times, though they would have been great for a traditional rehearsal dinner. We're going to plan another trip out to the area soon to look at these places. A lot of them don't have websites or there aren't any pictures on their sites. I know it's farther away, but has anyone been to Calabria? They have a nice bar area that's separate from the restaurant and the pizza place. The bar wasn't open yet when we stopped by so I don't know how busy they get. (And yes, Houlihans is no longer...)
          Thanks again, and keep those suggestions coming!