Picture this: sun, surf, sand—and you with a favorite cocktail in hand. Alas, it’s not always easy to complete that seaside scenario, at least in terms of the cocktail. Most Jersey beaches and boardwalks ban overt imbibing. No worries. We’ve traveled the Shore stem to stern and found 12 fun spots (listed north to south) where you can sip a summery drink within sight of the splashing surf.
Avenue, Long Branch
General manager Thierry Carrier and his staff have been on the cocktail cutting edge since this attractive Pier Village anchor opened in April 2006. Experimenting with fresh fruit juices, purées and fresh herbs such as mint, basil and rosemary, they have come up with summer coolers such as Mescal Lemonade, which cuts mescal’s smokiness with housemade lemon marmalade, lemon juice and fresh rosemary. Another winner: the Peach Passion, made with 360 Georgia Peach vodka and white-peach and passion-fruit purées, topped with a champagne shot. Enjoy your cocktails on the outdoor deck or at the Beach Bar, tucked below the deck at beach level. 23 Ocean Avenue; 732-759-2900.
Mister C’s Beach Bistro, Allenhurst
Shuttered for two seasons following Hurricane Sandy, this waterfront favorite reopened in June 2015. Now you can sit on the oceanview deck and enjoy one of owner Karen Marzulli’s bespoke cocktails. Consider her Summer Luv. Marzulli wraps orange zest and sliced ginger in cheesecloth, then soaks it in tequila for a month. Ocean Place; 732-531-3665.
The Anchor’s Bend, Asbury Park
Situated alongside Convention Hall at the north end of boardwalk, the Anchor’s Bend affords an optimal view over Asbury Park’s quieter northern beach. The covered patio descends into a section of beach with Adirondack chairs for lounging on the sand while nursing a crafty libation—such as the Green Tea-ki (Jameson, peach schnapps and ginger ale). 1300 Ocean Avenue; 732-455-8500.
Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park
Restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach’s vision of Caribbean-inspired vacation cuisine carries over from food to cocktails at this boardwalk favorite. Cocktails range from delicate—like Nefertiti in de Nile, with chamomile-infused vodka, apple juice and ginger simple syrup—to daring, namely the Mandarin Scotsman, made with orange-infused Hedonism scotch, Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, Amaro di Angostura and house-made maple bitters. The Bitter Sailor uses house-made, apricot-infused brandy, while the Hibiscus G&T combines Hendricks cucumber gin with a house-made hibiscus liqueur. Thyme for Bourbon compliments spicy Bulleit bourbon with a sweet, honey-thyme syrup, orange bitters and pineapple juice. Grab a table on the boardwalk and enjoy the passing parade. For a chaser, check out Schlossbach’s neighboring boardwalk locations, Asbury Park Yacht Club and Pop’s Garage. 1000 Ocean Avenue; 732-455-3275.
Watermark, Asbury Park
Russell Lewis opened his stylish restaurant/lounge one flight above the Asbury Park boardwalk in 2008 with a goal of delivering high-caliber cocktails that, at the time, weren’t being done anywhere at the Shore. This past spring, Watermark crafted a collection of cocktails utilizing innovative farm-to-bar potables. The summer menu promises to deliver the same, with some unexpected additions. “I think people are more open and a bit braver about trying new things,” says Lewis. A recent Lewis recommendation: Root Candy, made with a base of sweet-potato-infused bourbon, carrot purée, ginger beer, OJ and muscovado syrup. For a twist on a classic, try the Watermark G&T with Bluecoat gin, house made tonic syrup and club soda. 800 Ocean Avenue; 732-455-3447.
Martell’s Tiki Bar, Point Pleasant Beach
Chelsea Kleinkauf, bartender for 12 seasons at this no-frills, multitiered landmark on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, says simplicity remains the key to great summer drinks. Consider the Tiki Tea, a best seller made with Devotion Tiki Tea (a locally sourced vodka flavored with black tea, honey and citrus zest) and pink lemonade. “It tastes just like an Arnold Palmer,” says Kleinkauf. At certain times, drinks are permissible on the beach; check first. 308 Boardwalk Avenue; 732-892-0131.
Tiki Bar at the Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club, Beach Haven (LBI)
Frozen drinks are hot at this cozy spot, nestled poolside behind the unpretentious oceanfront motel. Choose from classics—including rum runner, mudslide or piña colada—or plunge into a specialty drink like the Florida Keys Iced Tea, made with vodka, gin, rum and blue curaçao liqueur. Watch for daily specials and poolside entertainment. 10 S. Atlantic Avenue; 609-492-4611.
Laguna Grill & Rum Bar, Brigantine
This lively beachfront spot is tucked behind the Legacy Vacation Resort on marshy Brigantine Island, a few miles north of Atlantic City. Beachgoers step off the sand and onto the planks to order cold drinks and sway to live music. Signature cocktails are rum-focused, including the Bahama Mama with Cruzan, Malibu and banana liqueur topped with pineapple juice and grenadine; and the Rum Bar Rum Runner, which pairs light and dark rum with banana and blackberry liqueurs. 1400 Ocean Avenue; 609-266-7731.
Landshark Bar & Grill, Atlantic City
Who says chains can’t be fun? The Landshark, a Margaritaville spinoff, sprawls on the sand across the Boardwalk from Resorts at the site of the bygone Steeplechase Pier. Its surf motif and retractable walls invite the outside in. The drink menu is awash in frozen cocktails, margaritas and Caribbean-inspired concoctions like Tranquil Waters, made with Cruzan Mango Rum, blue curaçao, and pineapple and mango juices. 1133 Boardwalk; 609-431-4120.
Bungalow No. 7 Beach Bar, Diamond Beach, Wildwood
Looking for a respite from North Wildwood’s rowdy bar scene and the hustle and bustle of Wildwood Crest? Head for Bungalow No. 7, a beachfront hideaway at the Icona Diamond Beach resort in the Wildwoods’ quieter south end. The resort’s modern aesthetic and neon blue lighting definitely conjure South Beach. Mellow down easy in a cushy seat by the firepit. 402 E. Rochester Avenue; 609-224-1124.
Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille, Cape May
The family-owned and operated Montreal Beach Resort celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer with a total redo of its adjacent bar/restaurant. From the rooftop bar, enjoy a panoramic view of the beach, just across the road. Food and beverage director Jonathan Hirsch (grandson of founder Harry Hirsch) recommends his Orange Crush, which he whips up with Pinnacle Orange vodka, fresh-squeezed OJ, Triple Sec and lemon-lime soda. “It has a great color to it,” he says, “and it’s one of those drinks that goes down easy.” Beach and Madison avenues; 609-884-2779.
Rusty Nail Bar & Grill, Cape May
Bar manager Liam Miller is promising new additions to the cocktail list at this popular Cape May gathering spot. No worries: Popular frozen drinks—like the Sandy Banana and Blue Hawaiian—will remain unchanged, as will the Rusty Rum Runner, which Miller describes as “an easy drink if you’re sitting outside in the sun.” The Rusty Nail is situated across the road from the strand, but its sandy lounge area and outdoor firepit lend it a beachy feel. 205 Beach Avenue; 609-884-0017.Click here to leave a comment