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Dive bars in Long Branch

Hey all, meeting some friends next weekend for the Polar Plunge and we're in search of a neighborhood "shot-and-a-beer" joint. Pier Village looks a little too upscale for us with the possible exception of McLoone's, or maybe the Celtic Cottage a shuttle ride away. Anyone have the rundown on these two places or any other suggestions? Parking info would be a help too - it looks like it could be a little dicey. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Jack's is the place for you! 148 Brighton Ave. good neighborhood type bar solid college following.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jrvedivici

      +1 on Jack's! Not only a great local and Monmouth U hangout, but also the best wings maybe in all NJ.

      1. re: seal

        Another vote for Jack's! Celtic would be my second choice.

    2. Although not a bar, If you want some cheap fast food Windmill in long branch has a liquor license. This is the northern location. The one that is actually the windmill does not have a license.

      I fell through ice when I was younger playing hockey. Lets just say that was the last of my encounters with any cold water ; )

      1. I have done some plunges and I have a lifetime of paddlin' out into the Atlantic this time of year. I would note first that alcohol lowers the body's temperature thereby increasing the risk of getting into cold water. Nonetheless, unless you get drunk enough to accept a bet that you can't swim a mile or "let's see who can stay in the longest", you unlikely to get hypothermia because of a couple of pops before you dive in.

        Personally, if I were going to find a spot to work up some courage in Long Branch, I would absolutely go with the Celtic Cottage. It's cheap and feels like it was formerly owned by a member of the Baggins family. Moreover, if in my doling out unsolicited advice I have wrongly assumed the order of your day, I could see the CC to be a fun place to warm up with buddies while still kinda wet. The truth is that booze after is probably good for you (e.g. http://chestofbooks.com/food/beverage...


        At bottom though - good luck, good time, good deed!

        1. Brighton Bar. It's my favorite dive bar in the neighborhood. The only time I don't love it is during football season when the Vikings are playing. There is a long-standing tradition of the embedded Vikings fans (and this is a swell group of people) of buying shots of blackberry liqueur for the crowd when the Vikings score a TD.

          McLoone's would be a mistake.

          Parking on the street is easy, at least in February. I love the place.

          121 Brighton Ave, Long Branch

          1. Thanks for the great suggestions everyone. Wouldn't surprise me if we try 'em all post-plunge!

            1. Head 1.5 miles north of Pier Village into Monmouth Beach and find Boyle's Tavern -2 Willow Ave Monmouth Beach, NJ
              (732) 229-9885

              a small house in the middle of a residential street with bar games, poool, twenty beers on tap (No Budweiser for the last 35 years) and the cleanest women's room in New Jersey (no one has used it since 1973)

              6 Replies
              1. re: carlylecat

                Boyle's, post-Sandy, is dark. That part of town took 5 feet of water.

                1. re: Deb Van D

                  I haven't been to Boyle's in twenty-some years, as Buffet sang, "drinkin' on a fake ID". I went past in November and, feeling pangs of nostalgia, wondered if they'd ever open again.

                  If and when they do reopen, Deb, could you post on this thread and let me know? I figure I owe 'em something and would feel good to pay for a few drinks to help.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    I will. No sign of any work being done yet, but it shouldn't take much to replicate that decor. If you know what I mean.

                  2. re: Deb Van D


                    According to Joe Boyle the owner, Boyles Tavern was only closed for 2 weeks after Sandy. I go there about once a week. They have some great craft beers there. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the Long Branch area.

                    1. re: scrappyone

                      In delighted to hear it. And I'll see you there!

                  3. Ron's West End Pub. If Frankenstein's is still open on Broadway, it's was the ultimate dive bar. And +1 for Brighton Bar.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: aklein

                      Frankenstein's changed hands and names many years ago. I spent many a good night there.

                    2. What a cluster**** trying to get by this event today as I drove to the Hook for a beach cleanup. While the plunge is for a great cause, it's too bad that Seaside is as wrecked as it is - which forced this event to be held at Pier Village. How do you like it the Village, Riverman???? Just wondered if any of the waders found themselves patronizing that overpriced enclave.

                      McLoone's looks closed to me as I drove by today but it was noon and it looked like there weren't even the help's vehicles in the lot. I went to Woody's for lunch just for the karma as the guy did so much for Sea Bright after Sandy. The Baja tacos? meh. I make far better at the house. The brown water though was tasty after being in the rain for a couple of hours. That and a couple of ibuprofen.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: JustJake

                        I feel your pain, Jake. I could see this really screwing up your day just trying to get around. But to be honest, the city seemed to have it all under control, at least from our point of view. We heard enough from the few residents we talked to, to know they weren't too thrilled with the Plunge being at Pier Village though. I hope all the plungers were well behaved and we left as good an impression as we could.

                        Pier Village? No thanks. We actually pre-gamed in the parking garage for a while, then hit the tiki hut outside the Ocean Place Resort. Friends of ours went to McLoone's but we lost touch this afternoon; can't wait to hear what they thought. I do know McLoone's reached max occupancy and was closed to new patrons around the time you went by. (And sorry to report we didn't check out any of the rec's I got here - the rain made some of my group a little, let's say, uncooperative.)

                        We do a Hook cleanup with Clean Ocean Action - were they involved with what you did today?