38 Amazing Tap Rooms You Need to Check Out

Thirsty? We've re-vamped our 2013 list of tap rooms and added 17 hopping new spots for you to wet your whistle.

Bartender Brian Zuzulock mans the 24 taps at the Brickwall Tavern in Burlington City.
Bartender Brian Zuzulock mans the 24 taps at the Brickwall Tavern in Burlington City.
Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

Amazing Grapes
23 Wanaque Avenue, Pompton Lakes
973-831-5700
This unusual establishment is business in the front, party in the back—and no, we’re not talking about a 1980s haircut. Out front is a liquor store with a stellar selection of craft beer and mix-and-match six packs. Behind it is a tasting room with an eight-stool bar plus seating for 30 more. The 22 taps rotate weekly and include three nitro lines, which use less carbon dioxide and more nitrogen to pressurize the beer coming from the tap (think Guinness). You can also choose from more than 250 bottles, including Jersey brands like Carton, Kane and River Horse. Stop in on a Friday or Saturday for one of their frequent tap takeovers (where a single craft brewer is featured).—Lauren Bowers

Amendment 21

517 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach
732-295-9619
This cozy pub draws a crowd even without any obvious exterior signage—much like a Prohibition-era speakeasy. The cave-like space—brick walls, corrugated ceiling—even feels like a speakeasy, but this is a modern gathering place with a lively crowd, sports on TV and a large selection of beers. There are 30 on tap and another 60 or so in bottles and cans. Standard drafts include unique labels like Weyerbacher Merry Monks and Abita Purple Haze, while seasonal, rotating offerings come from brewers like Goose Island and Flying Fish. The food is typical tavern fare with an emphasis on appetizers to share, such as wings, fried calamari and guacamole and chips.—Lauren Payne

Andy’s Corner Bar
257 Queen Anne Road, Bogota
201-342-9887

This low-key neighborhood stalwart is a throwback to an earlier time—save for the hip beer selection. Owners George and Barbara Gray offer 10 craft beers on tap and another 120 in the bottle. There are also two hand pumps for cask-conditioned ales. Every Wednesday is Beer Geek Night. “We try to bring in something that’s oak-aged or a sour beer or a Belgian—something unusual,” says George Gray, son of the bar’s namesake, who runs the place with his wife, Barbara. Andy’s doesn’t serve much food—just pretzels and chips—but you’re welcome to bring your own.—Ken Schlager

Barcade
163 Newark Avenue, Jersey City
201-332-4555

This corner bar has lots of open space, natural light and 38 vintage arcade games like Asteroids and Donkey Kong. Games gobble electricity, but Barcade runs on wind power—through the normal grid, explains Paul Kermizian, one of four friends who opened the original Barcade in Brooklyn nine years ago. A chalkboard lists craft beers on tap, sandwiches and small plates such as deviled eggs ($3) and pickled shoots of the hop plant ($9). Guests order and pick up everything at the bar.—Amanda Staab

Blend Bistro & Bar
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
609-245-8887

“We’re very community minded,” states Antonio Carannante of both this neighborhood bar and Brothers Pizza next door, which he owns with his family. He’s referring to hyper-local clientele, to fundraising for civic organizations and to sponsoring the Central Jersey Beer Festival. (The third installment is scheduled for October 8 at Mercer County Park.) But Blend’s selection of 20 drafts and 86 bottles embraces both the local and exotic. Four taps are dedicated; the rest rotate frequently, with offerings to tempt aficionados. One recent example: a vertical tasting of four Goose Island Bourbon County barrel-aged stouts. It’s no surprise that bar pies (from the kitchen next door) are popular eats here. Jersey drafts are half price on Saturday nights.—Pat Tanner

Blue Monkey Tavern
2 South Centre Street, Merchantville
856-661-8008

Why 40 different drafts? “I’ve loved craft beer for two decades, and I wanted to share that love with everyone else,” explains Blue Monkey co-owner Halil Gungor. “Besides, it gets boring drinking the same stuff over and over.” Sidling up to the tavern’s 20-square-foot mahogany bar, customers select from the daily list of draft favorites and rarities. Blue Monkey also offers an extensive menu of reasonably priced pub food, steaks, chops and seafood.—Nick DiUlio

Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
522 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park
732-774-1264

This industrial-chic eatery has an eclectic menu and a tap list to match. In 2012, in winking tribute to the Mayan calendar countdown, Seattle’s Elysian Brewing introduced a special brew each month. The last of its hard-to-find 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series—Doom Golden Treacle Ale—was still being poured at Brickwall when we visited in January 2013. Buy a growler of any draft and get 20 percent off your refill. Every month or so, Brickwall hosts a dinner tailored to the products of a single brewery.—Brett Savage

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  1. Con Rad

    What does the Stirling Hotel have to do to get some love. They have 3 bars, two outside, 24 taps and have been rated the best bar in NJ by NJ.com and the Star Ledger.

  2. Johnny

    i agree, The Stirling Hotel has the best selection and best beer events in the state. by far the greatest bar NJ has to offer. this selection of “tap rooms” is a sham and is obviously fueled my corruption.