18 hours in Asbury Park: A guided debate of a Jersey Shore’s revitalized heart – The Star
October 30, 2014 - Picnic Time
ASBURY PARK — By definition, Asbury Park has always been a city by a sea. But now, as a informative and mercantile reconstruction continues to dash colorful new businesses and homes along Cookman and Ocean Avenues, a metro-shore landscape weaves itself into a sweeping of Jersey Shore calm.
Sleek, stylish restaurants share blocks with paranormal book stores and antique shops on a sharp-witted downtown drag. Pulsing dance-clubs aren’t distant from grittier dives, a dog-friendly bar and fast stone venues. Within a few stairs on a boardwalk, families can play 70-year-old pinball machines, tiny golf and squeeze a punch to eat.
Some collate a arise of Asbury Park’s waterfront to that of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, that has seen a identical vitalization after being improved famous for decades as a core for crime and amicable ills.
Does that meant you’ll see packs of Williamsburg “hipsters” in over-sized eyeglasses and Cosby sweaters roaming Cookman, deliberating David Foster Wallace novels and sipping black coffee?
Not exactly, yet many of Asbury Park’s progressive, arts-savvy locals do share similarities with a magnanimous subculture. But a city’s downtown doesn’t discord like a Big Apple boroughs. It also doesn’t radiate with a same “down a Shore” glitz of Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant or even mid-20th Century Asbury Park. It’s a laxer vibe a locals really many prefer.
“Open year-round” is a common storefront poster in Asbury as many of a city’s defining things to see, hear, eat, splash and play do not close down when a shorefront continue turns wind-struck and bitter.
We took this all in firsthand and spent 18 hours on a comfortable Oct Friday in a city, combing by a places that make Asbury Park what it’s become: a state’s many heterogeneous beachfront hub.
516 Cookman Ave., for brunch
The day began early during Toast, a accessible breakfast, brunch and lunch mark that lives a blackboard mantra: “peace, love, pancakes,” and hits a outlines — accessible staff, uninformed coffee and a feathery smoke-stack of hotcakes that’s a best on a drag. The place’s brew of breakfast favorites, desirous creations (crab cake benedict) and courteous lunch selections (Brookdale cheesesteak) has built it into one of Asbury’s many renouned brunch locales over a final few years. It’s bustling many mornings and was on this day. Open 7 days a week until 3 p.m.
• Spring Roll hasten (mostly egg whites, anniversary vegetables, American cheese in a flour tortilla) – $9.95
• Red velvet pancakes – $10.95 for full order
• Chicken, avocado and bacon bar sandwich – $9.95
1000 Ocean Ave., for fun during a arcade
As a day began to warm, a three-block expostulate to a boardwalk landed us during Silverball Museum, a one-of-a-kind mecca for New Jersey pinball and arcade diversion fanatics. Open for 5 years on a Asbury boards, a “museum” houses 186 machines travelling 7 decades and visitors can play all games – even a wood-rail pinball machines from a ’50s — during an hourly rate. Retro dings and pings fill a room, as does a retro soundtrack (Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” was personification for us). Entrance is $15 during a day, $10 during night.
• The 1950 Gottlieb “Knock Out” pinball appurtenance (because it’s a oldest)
• “The Wizard of Oz” pinball appurtenance (because it’s new and fancy)
• “The Sopranos” pinball appurtenance (because, well, it’s New Jersey)
Ocean Avenue, for a still stroll
After a ultra-stimulation of a pinball arcade, an afternoon wander on a Asbury planks was a nice, still getaway. On this day it was sunny, and a boardwalk had copiousness of folks on it, though it wasn’t evidently busy. Couples sat hand-in-hand on benches, people walked their dogs, some ran or rode bikes. A few beach-goers laid out one final time forward of autumn’s approaching chill. This boardwalk doesn’t have prolonged rows of games and pizza joints, only a few food stands and tiny shops. On a good day — or a cold one if we don’t mind it — a travel on this boardwalk or beach can be serene.
Boardwalk, Ocean Avenue, for fortunes
A few stairs from Silverball on a boardwalk is Madam Marie’s penetrating shop, a tiny mount done famous in Bruce Springsteen’s “4th of Jul in Asbury Park” song. The Marie he sang of died in 2008, though her granddaughter Sabrina, who has been operative in a family business for 29 years, continues to tell fortunes during a stop, as good as in a storefront on Cookman Avenue. She can be convincing as she dives into your past, benefaction and future, though practice competence change depending on how severely we take a process.
• A tarot label reading – $50
PARANORMAL BOOKS, CURIOSITIES MUSEUM
627 Cookman Ave., for chills and thrills
In a suggestion — or spirits — of a Halloween season, we gathering behind to Cookman and stopped in Paranormal Books and Curiosities, and a adjacent museum, that lays a trail by a creepiest moments in New Jersey history. The state’s initial paranormal bookstore (open given 2008) houses scores of texts on ghost-hunting, condemned locations, UFO’s, Big Foot and more, as good as many any “Weird N.J.” book and repository in existence.
The museum facilities a vast and really unsettling Jersey Devil exhibit, with firsthand drawings and centuries-old mixed “specimens” suspicion to be a scandalous creature. Séances, penetrating readings and guided, walking spook tours of Asbury Park are also run out of a store.
• The Paranormal Museum – $5 for adults, $3 for children
1213 Ocean Ave., for dog-lovers who need a drink
As a object began to set over Sunset Park, it was behind to Ocean Avenue for Wonder Bar’s “Yappy Hour,” an outdoor, dog-friendly bar where pet-owners from Asbury Park and surrounding areas have found good assent (and a inexpensive beer) for a final 9 years. The environment is beach-themed, with sand, loll chairs and pools for a dogs to play in.
This dusk was a tiny slow, with only a few regulars and their antsy pups, though “Yappy Hour” on comfortable weekend days mostly gets dozens of pooch-owners who come to squeeze a splash or dual and relax as their dogs run and play in a enclosed area. Earlier this month, “Yappy Hour” put on a Halloween dress celebration and march down a boardwalk and stays open by November, continue permitting.
911 Kingsley St., for pizza, spirits and dancing
For dinner, we forsaken in on nearby Porta, a restaurant, bar and dance-club that has fast turn one of a city’s hottest spots for high-end eats, cocktails or a thumping night on a town. By day and into a night, a place is a smart eatery specializing in delicious, wood-fired personal pizzas. The country dining room resembles an aged warehouse, and diners lay on wooden cruise tables underneath unresolved lamps. The pizza is impossibly uninformed and as good as any cut found during a Shore. Justly, Porta is packaged for cooking on weekends and carried a 30-minute wait this night.
Around 10 p.m., a dining room’s tables are private and a place transforms into a many renouned nightclub in a city, with lines for entrance mostly out a doorway on Friday and Saturday nights. The dining room plays a fun brew of ’80s and ’90s hip-hop and cocktail while an adjacent room clinging privately to dance opens during night and spins Top-40 tunes and bass-heavy EDM.
• The “14 ½” (Pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, homemade ricotta, prohibited sopressata, Calabrian chiles) – $16
• The “margherita” (Pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, basil) – $13
• The “Lemmy” (Old Overholt Rye, Averna Amaro, orange bitters) – $11
522 Cookman Ave., for splash floats and splash cocktails
Beer drinkers competence tremble during a thought of plopping a dip of ice cream into their glasses, though Brickwall Tavern and Dining Room’s concoctions all though destroy that stigma. Stopping in for a Blue Moon with orange sherbet was a delight, as was Abita Purple Haze with strawberry ice cream and base splash and Jack Daniel’s with vanilla. The brew of sweet, sour and sparkle is scarcely ideal during this this cozy, area spot. Why don’t some-more bars try this? The food menu, that is some-more upscale than normal pub fare, is utterly good as well.
• Blue Moon splash boyant (with orange sherbet) – $7
• My Goodness splash cocktail (Guinness, tough cider and Fireball cinnamon whiskey) – $8
• Port booze cheddar burger – $12
THE STONE PONY
913 Ocean Ave., for live stone tradition
For many New Jersey rock-lovers, this is a bit of a given, though The Stone Pony is one of several famed Asbury Park venues that after 40 years still books live strain many nights and works a good change between internal and inhabitant acts. At a Pony this night was Morningside Lane, a energetic stone party from Fort Lee that, reasonably enough, pulls complicated change from Bruce Springsteen, whose cinema are tacked all over a walls. Also on a check was Dramaticat, one of a budding Asbury stone groups that bolsters a state’s many sepulchral internal scene. Other stone and punk mainstays, all within a few retard of any other, embody The Wonder Bar, Asbury Lanes, and The Saint.
• Lights, a Canadian electro-pop songstress personification The Stone Pony Friday, Oct. 31.
• Screaming Females, an alt-punk rope from New Brunswick, personification Asbury Lanes Nov. 8.
• The Ataris, a stone rope from Indiana best famous for their “Boys of Summer” Don Henley cover, personification Wonder Bar Nov. 10.
JOHNNY MAC’S HOUSE OF SPIRITS
208 Main St., for cheaper drinks, skee round and giveaway pizza
Back down a drag, on a dilemma of Cookman and Main sits Johnny Mac’s House of Spirits, a high-character, pseudo-Irish bar that has prolonged catered best to a Asbury normal Joe. The brew here is some-more local, reduction outsider, while Porta draws a opposite. Every city seems to have a bar like this, red-bricked and low-lit with riddles created on a wall, though not any splash squeeze during those spots comes with a sheet redeemable for one giveaway bar pizza. It can take a while for a impressed cooks to fill your sequence though hey, it’s giveaway pizza! And drinks are generally cheaper here. A few skee round games are accessible downstairs.
Outside is a newly stretched biergarten-style setup, with a full bar and TVs underneath a vast tent. Around a tent are backyard and bar games like ping-pong, arcade basketball and cornhole. The outward side will stay open a few some-more weeks, continue depending.
• A Yuengling (yes, a Yuengling). $3.50 for a splash and a bar cake is a bargain.
850 Ocean Ave. and a storefront on Cookman, for Korean alloy tacos
The long, prolonged day in Asbury Park finished adult as many Friday nights in a city do — during Mogo. The accessible Korean alloy taco mark has both a mount on a boardwalk and storefront on Cookman, between Brickwall, Johnny Mac’s and other boozing favorites Bond Street Bar and Bank on Mattison. Both locations are open until 3 a.m. on weekends and lift in a solid late-night rush as bar-goers ready to conduct home. The cooking pig taco surfaced with fresh, Asian slaw is irresistible. Chicken, beef, shrimp and tofu soothing tacos are also juicy internal favorites. At $4 per taco they are a bit pricey, though they’re copiousness filling.
• Pork taco – $4
• Kimchi boiled rice – $4
ASBURY PARK NOTES AND EXTRAS
During a 18 hours spent in Asbury Park’s downtown, a few suddenly engaging things happened:
• The Asbury Park High School homecoming march marched down Cookman Avenue in a afternoon, and nothing of a businesses on a travel seemed to be awaiting it. Everyone ran outward to see a football team, cheerleaders and a few floats throwing candy.
• While on a boardwalk, a male in a Santa Claus fit was carrying photos taken of himself. In a 70-degree heat, he contingency have been boiling.
• Just off a boardwalk, subsequent to McCloone’s Asbury Grille, there is a patch of underbrush and brush. Within a tiny underbrush is a cluster of possibly untamed cats or housecats that wanted a day during a beach. They are expected shocked of a dogs during Yappy Hour opposite a street.
• On Ocean Avenue in front of a Stone Pony, a man in a Jeep Wrangler gathering by, blustering Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in a Dark.” Chances of that strain choice being a coincidence? Yeah, we didn’t consider so either.