Girlfriend Getaways: Red Bank

Bring your credit cards—and ample appetite.

The veranda at the Oyster Point Hotel.
The veranda at the Oyster Point Hotel.
Photo courtesy of Oyster Point Hotel.

Lively and cosmopolitan, this increasingly popular destination on the banks of the Navesink River measures a mere 2.2 square miles, but is packed with high-end national retailers and upscale boutiques. Most are arrayed along Broad Street—arguably the best stretch of shopping in the Garden State.

Stay: The Oyster Point Hotel (146 Bodman Place) offers contemporary rooms, some with mesmerizing views of sailboats bobbing in the marina. Lounge with the girls in the modern common space, with its sleek furnishings, two-story fireplace and ever-changing exhibit of  local artists’ work. The Pearl restaurant bar is great for a nightcap, and a slender outdoor veranda provides a spectacular river view.

Illustration by Lisa Adams.

Illustration by Lisa Adams.

Shop: If shopping lights you up, the offerings in Red Bank will set you on fire. Here, big names like Tiffany & Co. (105 Broad Street) are shoulder-to-shoulder with pampering specialty shops such as Garmany (121 Broad Street), an elegant 40,000-square-foot emporium for men and women. Garmany’s red-carpet services include shoe shines and top-notch tailoring, plus free parking, a movie theater (to entertain the youngsters), and a lounge and bar.

For more labels to love, visit the tony designer boutique Coco Pari (17 Broad Street), where the bountiful brands include Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Valentino and Stella McCartney. Or give your budget a break at Greene Street (40 Broad Street) or DoubleTake (97 Broad Street), consignment shops where gently used designer duds find new homes.

For the trend-conscious, shops like Urban Outfitters (2 Broad Street), Dor L’Dor (25 Broad Street) and Madison Boutique (68 Broad Street) set the pace. Restoration Hardware (52 Broad Street) and Red Ginger (66 Broad Street) have home furnishings covered. Foodies will want to save room in their shopping bags for goodies from the Spice & Tea Exchange (12 Monmouth Street), with its selection of 23 salts, 27 peppers, 70 spice blends and 30 teas; and the Cheese Cave (14 Monmouth Street), a purveyor of artisanal cheeses and creative sandwiches. Get your makeup fix at Lux Beauty Supply & Salon (88 Broad Street) and Wisteria (17 Broad Street), a boutique and beauty lounge that offers makeup application, facials and brow styling. Jewelry devotees will find plenty of eye candy at Goldtinker (24 Broad Street) and its sister store, Poor Cat Designs (69 Broad Street).

The N Bar at Restaurant Nicholas.

The N Bar at Restaurant Nicholas. Photo by Viki Reed.

Eat & Drink: After an exhausting (read: glorious) day of shopping, start the evening with drinks at Bar N at Restaurant Nicholas (160 Route 35), a regular on NJM’s list of Top 25 restaurants. Nosh on small plates, or partake in the three-course prix-fixe dinner for $35. You can add a wine flight from the well-curated list for $20 more.
Other dinner options: Catch (9 Broad Street) for seafood, or Birravino (183 Riverside Avenue) for Italian favorites. The latter is owned by Victor Rallo of the PBS show Eat! Drink! Italy!

Ready to party? Head for The Downtown (10 West Front Street). On weekends there is conversation-hindering live music and dancing. Or try Gotham (19 Broad Street), a spot for elegant cocktails, tapas and music that ranges from laid-back piano bar to live acoustic. Cap off the night at Antoinette Boulangerie (32 Monmouth Street), a Parisian-inspired bakeshop with a luscious selection of French macarons, crusty breads and croissants.

Don’t Miss: There is plenty of live entertainment to enjoy at the historic Count Basie Theatre and the Two River Theater, a professional theater company. Or plan your trip around the Red Bank Jazz and Blues Festival. Held annually in June, headliners have included John Pizzarelli and Houston Person.

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