What’s In A Name?

You may ask, why Cowan’s? Who is this the man behind this mysterious name? Is it pronounced Cohen? Kowahn? Well, you would be right to think more pastorally and if you let out a good ‘moo’ you’ll have the pronunciation down pat – Cowan’s: (ˈkau̇-whuns)

The name is that of John Cowan, long time proprietor of the Nutley Pub, landlord, good friend, and everyone’s favorite accountant. Keeping in line with the history of the space, the bar is named in his honor.




Built in the early 1920s, the building on Centre Street opened as a bar in 1934, immediately following the failure of the “Noble Experiment,” Prohibition. It has operated as a pub ever since, through several reiterations: Lou’s, John’s Tavern, and of course the ever infamous Nutley Pub. Paying homage to this history, the space has been transformed to honor its past, while adapting it for the modern day.

Thus we welcome you to Cowan’s Public: dateline 1938.




Here guests can enjoy a rotating selection of 16 craft beers on draught, cocktails featuring artisanal spirits and seasonal ingredients, and a modern twist on the traditional pub menu, all in a space that transports you back to a time gone by.

The main room features a curved Art Deco Bar with custom stained glass, a roaring fireplace, and plenty of seating perfect for groups, dates, or whatever you happen to be in the mood for! Be sure to explore the Cabinets of Curiosity and discover some relics from the Prohibition days right up past through the Great Depression. If you’re looking for an escape from the main bar, our Nouveau Lounge will be right up your alley. With upholstered walls, restored tin ceiling and deco chandeliers, this space has plenty of banqueted seating and is great for families, small groups, and even private party rentals.