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Char - Red Bank

Char supposedly opened to the general public on Wednesday, February 27th and I was wondering whether anyone has an early review. Thanks in advance.

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  1. You are correct! I have not been there however I have heard it is a sight to be seen and the cocktails are good. I will report a review by next week.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jrvedivici

      Summary: Average beorf at best, miserable sides extra, crowd noisy and obnockshuss, decor dark and tacky, prices stratospheric!

    2. I wonder what the prices will look like here. I know they won't be cheap but i wonder if they will add the "trendy red bank" tax onto the meals.

      JR, any idea what the 20oz bone-in strip runs at the original?

      7 Replies
      1. re: corvette johnny

        Hard to say until someone actually goes there. I tend to avoid establishments that don't include prices in their online menus.


        1. re: corvette johnny

          Without trying to come across the wrong way by saying this but I never really look(ed) at the prices. I would say on the bone would be around the $40/42 range but as equal Mark pointed out I can't confirm that on the menu. That is the appropriate range for that cut and quality at a place like Char. (In my experience)

          1. re: jrvedivici

            That sounds about right and would be a fair cost.

            I'd like to chow down on the big 30oz ribeye

            "The Gotham (30) Ribeye, dry aged"

            1. re: corvette johnny

              Went on Friday (3/1) night and ate at the bar. First impression is that it's a great new spot. Maybe over the top for Red Bank but that's not the worst thing in the world. But subtle, it's not.

              Well, if not over, staffed. Bartenders are friendly and make a good gin martini. Good wine list and many available by the glass. Two flat screen tv's had basketball on, no sound.

              Had the dry aged NY strip (14 oz.) along with a wedge salad. Temp (medium rare) was cooked perfectly. Great steak and I'm thrilled to have this place down the street. Prices for steak are between $30-$44.

              Had creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. Both were good, but nothing to rave about.

              Looking forward to going back and getting a table. But I'll give the place two big thumbs up. Great for Red Bank.

              1. re: whg4

                Nice to hear this good review. I tried to make a reservation but they were packed. I hope they do well in this location.

                  1. re: whg4

                    I have been to the Char near the Somerville Circle a few times. I thought the steaks and the drinks were good, although very pricey. Not so great that I'd go to the one In Red Bank, even though I live only one town away. Better dining options in the area.

            2. scrappy - how do you know that there are better options if you haven't been there?

              11 Replies
              1. re: Papa Bing

                Papa Bing,

                I'm assuming the Char's near the Somerville Circle is similar to the new one in Red Bank. Do you agree ?

                1. re: scrappyone

                  We can't compare the two on paper. I would expect it to be similar but we need to go to see what it is all about. Staff will be different, most likely different management, and even different decor/seating arrangements. There are a lot of variables.

                  I could expect James to be nearly as funny as John Belushi but it just didn't happen LOL

                  1. re: corvette johnny

                    The feedback I have received is the decor is actually very similar to the Raritan location complete with the rain fountain and glass encased flames. The menu is identical as is the quality from what I'm told.

                    It's amazing that I was so excited for them to open and now that they have I loath Red Bank so much I still haven't gotten there.

                    One interesting thing I have been told is they will only accept 8 reservations per hour. They are strictly controlling the dinner flow to make sure they don't inundate their kitchen. While I can respect their desire to keep the flow going it seems rather amateurish for this organization to open like that.

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      Its a chain restaurant so I wouldn't expect the food and drinks to be any different in Red Bank than what they are serving in Somerville. I thought it was good, not great, but very pricey.

                      1. re: scrappyone

                        It's not a chain at all, Red Bank is just their second location. The Raritan location is the original and the owners have been at that location for years previous to Char they were a seafood based restaurant called Aqua(?) for many years.

                  2. re: scrappyone

                    scrappy - you know what they say about assume.

                    1. re: Papa Bing


                      I had no idea that Red Bank is their only other location. Hey, maybe I should go after all and keep an open mind about it.

                      On second thought I'll wait until I read more reviews before deciding to take the plunge in Red Bank.

                      1. re: scrappyone

                        I wouldn't waste my time if I were you why let Papa Bing bully you! You already said it wasn't worth the money despite being very good. It sounds like you can expect this one to be even more upscale, at least good and also expensive.

                  3. re: Papa Bing

                    Really? You can't tell if a restaurant is worth going to if you haven't been there?

                    1. re: AC Captain

                      "I can get a good look at a steak by sticking my head up a bull's ass, but I'd rather take the butchers word for it."

                      I know this really doesn't fit here but it's one of my favorite food related movie quotes so I couldn't help myself. lol

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        "No wait, it's gotta be your bull" lol

                  4. I stopped in for a drink last night. Nice space - a bit too fancy for the likes of me, but I could see why others might flock there. The place was pretty crowded by half past five on a Saturday night. Only about ten bucks for a Negroni seemed fair.

                    I may stop back in to have a steak someday, but the place is a little more "Red Banky" than this Shore guy will ever be drawn to.

                    1. I have a reservation for an early dinner at Char tonight and I will report back afterwards.

                      But I wanted to comment on the negative attitudes expressed by my fellow respected hounds about Red Bank. I make no secret of the fact that I love this town. Growing up in Lincroft in the 1970s, Red Bank was always a destination town for me. Many a happy night of my youth was spent after my parents dropped me off in Red Bank.

                      And now, 40 years later I still feel the same way. With the possible exception of Asbury Park, this town is still my favorite spot in which to eat and then walk around. If I were to open an eatery myself this is where I would want it to be. My kids still ask to be dropped off here to meet up with and hang out with their friends.

                      Am I missing something?

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: seal

                        What can I say, man? I date to the "Dead Bank" era of the 80s. I still love goin' to Mr. Pizza Slice or the Bagel Oven, but I'm just not the fancy type. As I said, I'm a Shore guy and RB ain't the Shore. Gimme flip flops and a baseball cap, not high top, suede sneakers and a pork pie.

                        I once followed up a dozen McDonald's twenty-five cent cheeseburgers with a sub at Elsie's before going down to Marine Park to get drunk on a bottle of Wild Turkey, but RB has none of that gritty soul left in it. I remember missing my train home because I was listening to the E-Street Band rehearse at Big Man's West - Isn't it a gym now? Doesn't that say anything?

                        Enjoy your dinner. The place is very Twenty Thirteen Red Bank, but I'm sure the steaks are great. The calamari was decent, but I wouldn't recommend it. Best bet would be to save room for a coupla tacos at North of the Border when you're done.

                        1. re: seal

                          I still enjoy going to Red Bank and walking around or spending the day at one of the summer fairs etc. I'm very local to the area and have 2 kids in RBC (both St James graduates) so I spend plenty of time in the area.

                          The problem for me is with the popularity of places like Beuno Sera, Teak, Red, Blue Water, Ashes/Char the Red Bank scene has become being seen.

                          While from my exterior view of Char (passed last night at 6:30 on my way to Raven and Peach) the interior looks the exact same as their other location. However the shoulder to shoulder standing room only Red Bank wanna be seen in the scener's is enough to have kept me away since its opening. I'm planning on going tomorrow night figuring most of those whom annoy me should be nursing themselves from the weekend.

                          1. re: seal

                            I still love Red Bank, too. I went to RBC. I loved 1/2 days when we got to walk around town. Now I love when my kids have 1/2 days so we can go walk around town. And, of course, stop at Mr. Pizza slice. It's a good place for a date with the hubs... drinks at one spot, dinner at another, and then a nice walk to end the eve. We will try Char, not to "be seen" but to get a steak, once the hullaballoo dies down. I look forward to your review.

                            1. re: seal

                              Seal - Looking forward to your review.

                              1. re: bgut1

                                Love Red Bank. Char not so much. I remember watching a tv sitcom once where the main character said that the best way to give bad news was to sandwich it in between two good things.

                                Let me start off with the good. Everyone enjoyed their salads and appetizers very much. The seafood tower was well sourced, and well presented - fresh and flavorful. Both the wedge and caeser salads were crisp and fresh, and the crabcake and stuffed mushrooms were thoroughly enjoyed.

                                As for the bad. Steak. They use a very nice piece of beef to start with, but then they drop the ball. My daughter's large filet was ordered medium rare and the server who dropped it off repeated "filet medium rare" as he set it down but it was clearly medium well with no pink much less red. To be fair, the other 4 steaks were properly cooked to order, but bland, almost to the point of completely unseasoned. As a long time cook I know the age old formula, salt+high heat=flavorful crust. And I have enjoyed many a steak simply seasoned with salt and nothing else, but you have to at least use salt! This same blandness was also in evidence in the side of au poive sauce (watery and bland) and the side of Char steak sauce (sweet and bland). Also, why put jalapenos on the fries if you don't describe them as such on the menu? Service. We were seated promptly for our 6:30 reservation by one of at least 4 very attractive young hostesses. But we ended up finishing our steaks more than 2 hours later. It took such a long time to get them it was bordering on ridiculous. Then we sat with our dirty plates for more than 15 minutes until our waiter finally cleared our table himself. Get some bus staff!

                                The other good. The managers are both on the ball. The upstairs manager was pitching in himself to help out the staff. They also took my daughter's steak off the bill and comped us a couple of desserts. Also the space is beautiful, as nice inside as any restaurant anywhere.

                                I will likely be back to give them another chance, but not that soon. Maybe early summer if I hear that these issues have been fixed. For their prices we all left saying we should have gone to Nicholas.

                                1. re: seal


                                  I am not really a filet guy, but the wife eats them sometimes. Normally steakhouses realize the filet is the most bland/mild cut of beef and in turn a lot of them offer something to jazz it up (garlic butter, bluecheese, reduction, etc)

                                  Does char have any such accoutrements?

                                  MGZ, any decent craft beers on tap?

                                  Apparently this place is doing really well. You can't even get a table there without reservations.

                                  Do they use any wood by chance?

                                  1. re: corvette johnny

                                    I had their big ribeye and it was bland/saltless as well. As mentioned, I tried two of their a la carte sauces and didn't care for either. I was/am kinda upset at paying $45 for my steak.

                                    1. re: seal

                                      I've never tried the rib eye and as a rule I rarely order that out. I have either the porterhouse for 2 or strip on the bone. (generally cut off the bone).

                                      I'm surprised to hear of your experience......however much of it goes along with what I've been hearing, especially regarding the service. I've been told they are very strict with their seating as not wanting to inundate the kitchen which really surprises me.

                                      I'm going tonight and will report tomorrow. I'm going fairly early...around 5:30/6pm as I don't want it to be a late night and I will be sitting at the bar. (assuming I find a spot).

                                      Anyone reading this feel free to stop by and buy me a post-birthday drink!! lol (don't worry I will reciprocate!)

                                      1. re: seal

                                        Oh so you can order different sauces for any cuts? I know some steak houses will only offer certain sauces with certain cuts, kind of like how some steak houses will not offer ketchup (I don't eat ketchup on steak but I have seen people at work dinners get rejected when they ask for kethcup LOL.) Anyway , thanks for the review. I will post something up once I get there.

                                        Did you have the "Gotham" ribeye? If so, it is hard to imagine a prime and dry aged ribeye to be bland. That's too great factors on top of an already great cut of meat. : )

                                      2. re: corvette johnny

                                        They got my buddy Carton's Boat Beer on tap and an IPA that I was interested in. The focus seems to be more on wine and cocktails.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          Nice, do you go to the brewery at all? I used to go all the time but have slowed down recently. I run the boat beer on tap at my house. life is good...great session beer!

                                          Are you friend's with Chris and/or Augie? They are some real cool and down to earth guys.

                                          I can see the wine push there...much higher margins over beer.

                                          1. re: corvette johnny

                                            I had posted a response to your inquiry yesterday, but apparently, I somehow crossed a line and it was deleted. Simply stated, I knew Chris in my lowercase days at RBC. We kinda learned to drink beer together and it was cool to see him makin' beer at the Shore nowadays.

                                            1. re: corvette johnny


                                              I live in the Atlantic Highlands area and have been to Carton brewery a number of times. It was a novelty when it first came out but the quality of beers has not kept up with others in the area like Kane Brewing in Ocean Township as well as Flying Fish and River Horse.

                                              I know a number of craft beer bars that don't carry Carton anymore. Most of their beers are too hoppy and there are much better true craft beers available in the area. You should look into them when you have the time.

                                              1. re: scrappyone

                                                I've only had their boat beer but it's excellent. Light, hoppy, fully developed flavor while maintaining a low ABV. Super drinkable and still interesting after a few.

                                                1. re: scrappyone

                                                  yes I am well aware of all those other brewers and visit breweries too. I LOVE the boat beer and its what I run at my bar at home. It's a great session beer. And yes, I am a big Kane fan too. I go through bottles of malus like they are going out of style LOL

                                                  On the char topic, do they cook with wood at all by chance?

                                          2. re: seal

                                            Sounds exactly like the other Char...

                                      3. I'll give it a try; I lurve Red Bank!

                                        1. Closed for a private event!????

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                            Well one positive note to Char being closed to the public yesterday......RED http://www.rednj.com/ which is where I parked because of the ridiculous no parking on the North side of the street for the valet parking, had a street sign for $5.00 Stoli Happy Hour.

                                            Every Mon-Fri 4-7 and all day/night Thurs. is $5.00 Stoli products Happy Hour.......and guess what vodka I just happen to drink? ;-


                                            I haven't been inside RED in a few years and being I, my group, were the only ones there for happy hour I quickly remembered why.

                                            Just a FYI.

                                          2. How is the bar scene at char? I know this is a loaded question but can you actually sit and relax while chowing down a steak (or will it be a mad house with people reaching over you for drinks?)

                                            The Wife has gone away for a few so I might have to stroll out on the town tonight.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: corvette johnny


                                              Did you read the post by wgh4 where he ate at the bar ? Sounds like you don't want to bring your wife.

                                              "Went on Friday (3/1) night and ate at the bar. First impression is that it's a great new spot. Maybe over the top for Red Bank but that's not the worst thing in the world. But subtle, it's not.

                                              Well, if not over, staffed. Bartenders are friendly and make a good gin martini. Good wine list and many available by the glass. Two flat screen tv's had basketball on, no sound.

                                              Had the dry aged NY strip (14 oz.) along with a wedge salad. Temp (medium rare) was cooked perfectly. Great steak and I'm thrilled to have this place down the street. Prices for steak are between $30-$44.

                                              Had creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. Both were good, but nothing to rave about.

                                              Looking forward to going back and getting a table. But I'll give the place two big thumbs up. Great for Red Bank."

                                              1. re: scrappyone

                                                yeah I was just wondering if it has "calmed" down a little since opening. Maybe I will check it out or stick with my usual steak spot....time will tell.

                                              2. re: corvette johnny

                                                You might get away with it if you skipped lunch and went for an early dinner on a weeknight. It's the newest trendy thing in RB and it gets a bit crowded. My wife would not be too likely to want to do it, but if I were in your shoes I'd approach it as I suggested and try to sit at the far south corner by the service spot.

                                                Friday night though? I'm not sure how it might go . . . .

                                              3. Impressed with the space. Not so much withe food. Was there and ate at the bar. Ordered a stoli raspberry and club. Tasted different. Second time I went for drinks and ordered the same. The nice bartender I see @Downtown told me they only have Van Gogh. Strike one. Drinks were weak and expensive as is the rest of the experience. I don't mind paying top dollar if it's a top shelf experience. The rest of the meal was as follows underdressed very uninspired mixed green salad with nothing that I remember in it and it was 8$. Cowboy rib eye ordered med rare came closer to med well. Having worked in restaurants in another life I almost never send anything back ... My bad I know . Ever see the movie Waiting? 35$ steak . Person I was with ordered crabcake app. 14$ didn't want to say anything as it was too late and they brought some home but they charged me 28$ for the dinner. Overloaded potato was undercooked and far from cooked enough 8$. Best part of the meal was the 13$ chocolate layer cake which is ridiculous big and good. Next time I'll come for cake and a drink. 145$ with 4 drinks pretip. Was there last Friday and met a table of four friends as there meal was coming out. My friend who orders med rare got a beyond rare and sent it back. He likes a specific wine which Buona Sera gets for him and Goomba Johnny from Coco Pari who has some deal with the place if you drop 500$ you get a hundred off his over priced wares. He tells my friend oh they got your wine in . My friend pays 100$ a btl . It's about 62$ wholesale. They charged him 175$ per. I heard they spent 3$ mill renovating the space so I get it. Last story which belabors the buyer beware theme. Same friend had a company sponsored dinner there for 40 people. If you guessed 5 grand you'd be wrong by about 3 Gs, the guy who paid upon speaking with my friend said there was a $700 discrepancy in the bill and he called the restaurant and they NEVER called back. He will not be having another event so take this for what it's worth. Beautiful space but know going in 3$ million needs to be recouped on your tab

                                                1. I reserved a table for two at Char on 5/17/13 for 7:45. Char called me early Saturday afternoon to confirm. Arrived early to sit at the bar for a drink before dinner. The restaurant and bar was very hip and very trendy. I was greeted by three "Stepford Wives" disguised as hostesses. No smiles, no friendly hello. Hostess told me that someone would come for me in the bar when my table was ready. Got a seat at the bar fairly quickly. The drinks seemed watered down. At 7:55 I went back to the hostess area and inquired about my table. The hostess told me that they were running a little behind and that people were not getting up from their tables. I returned to the bar. At 8:15 I once again returned to the hostess area and got the same response. Returned to the bar which by this time had about 80 to 100 people standing in and around it. It appeared that no one was being seated. At 8:30 I went back to the hostess area and inquired once again about my reservation. I received the same uninterested, non-urgent, I really don't care that you have been waiting 45 minutes past your reservation time response. I advised the hostess that I was leaving and I thought their whole operation was unprofessional and not customer oriented. The hostess responded with "Ok."
                                                  I've been to Morton’s, Ruth's Chris, Old Homestead, Keene's, Del Frisco, American Cut, Smith and Wollensky Capital Grille; all world class steakhouses that wrote the book on customer service. Char would be best advised to take a lesson. Won’t be going back.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: trd15

                                                    Wow....although having still not been there myself I have heard second hand the same thing about the drinks. (I'm so pissed off at this place)

                                                    I have been a long supporter of their Raritan location, I am a "fan" of their facebook page. I wrote them not too long ago letting them know all the horrible feed back they are receiving, I never received the courtesy of a response to that either.

                                                    At this point I'm so disappointed I don't know if I will ever step foot in the place.

                                                    1. re: chowhounder411

                                                      If I may suggest, BRING BACK ASHES, year(s) 1-4.....after that it was never a true restaurant again.

                                                    2. I had dinner with four friends at Char last week. As noted elsewhere, trendy attractive space, high decibel noise levels.

                                                      Oysters and apps were good, but nothing special. Wine list was fairly expensive, could use a few more bottles in the $50-60 range.

                                                      Here's where our experience takes a turn for the worse: my wife and I ordered the Porterhouse for two, rare. Our friends ordered fish dishes. We ordered several side dishes.. When the food arrived, our steak was medium, bordering on well-done, We sent it back, and the waitress admitted that it was her error. She had written the wrong level of doneness on her order pad. No biggie, It happens,

                                                      Well, it was more than 25 minutes until our new barely-seared steak arrived. In the interim, all the sides were left on the table, turning colder by the minute. There was no offer to return the served dishes to the kitchen to keep them warm. In fact, there was no acknowledgement whatsoever by a manager or any other person in the establishment that they had basically screwed up our dinner experience,
                                                      At $250 per couple, I think we should have received a "sorry for the inconvenience, folks" at the very least

                                                      BTW, the steak we ate was merely average.

                                                      Bottom line: a location for posing, not for eating,

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: BernieMSY

                                                        Yeah, I had a snack and a drink at the bar there recently and I thought, "This place is meant for Yelp, not 'hounds."

                                                      2. Went there and got a 20oz cowboy ribeye...worst ribeye I've ever had. Cooked perfectly between rare and medium rare as requested but it was tough and gristly...no fat on it at all. I figure it was probably the last cut on the loin end or something. It had the taste and texture of a dry strip loin. I had trouble cutting through the steak which should tell you how tough and dry it was.

                                                        Mashed potatoes were edible, string beans sucked.

                                                        Really nice spot, but got a little loud towards the end.

                                                        I'll give it one more shot but that's it...

                                                        JR, if you're reading this, my girlfriend still talks about the potato pancake thing at Manhattan steakhouse and demands I get a recipe from you!

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: joonjoon

                                                          Joon, you know me fairly well (in this Chow context) when I tell you out of the dozens of people I have asked, talked to, and read feedback from, most are like your story here. I have stopped in for cocktails, however I will NOT buy the shit they are selling there -AND- I am/was a HUGE fan of their other location.

                                                          I'm still scratching my head over this place.

                                                          Take my via MGZ's advice and give Ship Wreck Point, in Point Pleasent a try. Worth the trip.

                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                            Yeah it took work to cut through the steak...I've never experienced that on a ribeye before. It's a shame because they perfectly nailed my rare+ temp request which doesn't happen too often. I so wanted this place to be like a new Manhattan steakhouse for me but things aren't looking good.

                                                            Now where's that potato pancake recipe!!! Lol

                                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                                              Joon, if you want a serious ribeye take a drive to Freehold. La Cipollina has a BEAST of a rib eye..a seriously good prime steak. 40 bucks but I don't mind shelling out a little extra on a good cut. There are many crappy steaks around here selling for 30 bucks.

                                                              I would just get the steak and skip appetizers (ok but small and over priced.)

                                                        2. So I finally went to char after putting it off for months. I won’t make this too long winded.

                                                          One line synopsis: I would go back to this “trendy” spot and enjoy a decent steak but only once in a while, and preferably on someone else’s dime LOL

                                                          To start, the place is absolutely packed! I had to get 9:15 reservations. Evidently some of the negative reviews I have read haven’t hurt business. When I left it was still packed and all tables were filled. We ate down stairs.

                                                          The restaurant is pretty stunning I would say. It is a gorgeous renovation and not being a real estate guy, I can wager they easily dumped a mil into this place…probably more. It is definitely loud as others have mentioned. The crowd is a mixed bag but of people but not the hipster “too cool for school” vibe like the place a few doors down.

                                                          My wife and I got the 30oz Gotham ribeye and the Kansas 20oz NY strip. Both come with no sides, as mentioned, and we just ordered one side of mac and cheese. I just wanted to gorge on meat and had a few beers. It was nice to see Carton brewing represented and I had a few 077xx IPA. Well I don’t know what else to say other than the cut was nice, the steak tasted as it should have and it was cooked to temp and “charred.” No gimmicks…. just a big hunk of meat that I salted up and attacked. Expensive yes…enjoyable yes. So I am not sure what people are complaining about. The place is expensive but I knew this going in there and I knew it wasn’t going to be the best restaurant around. 50 bucks for ribeye and 40 for NY strip. I guess in my eyes, and a lot of others, that is a lot for a steak but you are in a pretty trendy town and on the main drag in the heart of red bank. They aren’t going to pay off that renovation serving 25 dollar steaks….if you catch my drift.

                                                          So overall, I wasn’t blown away by the meal but it is a solid restaurant in my eyes. So in summation, if you have some money to blow and want to mingle with the “in crowd” this might be a good spot for you. It is not exactly my style but maybe once in a while I will make it back and have some clients take me.

                                                          PS...The waitress was definitely pretty talented ; ) …and a good waitress.

                                                          19 Replies
                                                          1. re: corvette johnny

                                                            CJ, nice review I'm glad you enjoyed. In my opinion the problem comes from the fact they are opened a year now and finally, finally, starting to get their act together.

                                                            People, including myself, expected them to hit the ground running instead they hit it crawling and still seemed to stumble a few times while crawling.

                                                            I have yet to eat there simply because being such a fan of their original location I couldn't bring myself to face the let down that seemed to be awaiting me. (Plus thanks to MGZ for pointing me to Shipwreck Point to get my "fix" of quality steaks)

                                                            Perhaps my holding out is drawing to an end.

                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                              yes I would give it a shot. If nothing else stop by for a drink and check out the renovation. They did a top notch job on this place!

                                                              And yes, I have to get down to ship wreck on of these days.

                                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                Ohhhh I have been there for cocktails on a few occasions, I don't have that much self control! lol

                                                              1. re: chowhounder411

                                                                Ive never seen a hipster bar in rd bank. Maybe jamians, maybe the downtown before the fire a decade ago?

                                                                Its all faux high end bars for the most part or it's a crumby dive. I almost wish there was a hipster bar in red bank. There's no good middle ground bar

                                                                  1. re: chowhounder411

                                                                    If I had to bet, I'd go with Red as the hipster bar a few doors down that corvette johnny referenced.

                                                                    But, I'm wrong more often than I'm right....just ask my kids :D

                                                                    1. re: TomT

                                                                      Red was the "it" bar in the early to mid 00's when they opened and would only let certain people upstairs like they' were some swanky LA club. My how times have changed.

                                                                      1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                                                        Seriously...Red was so annoying back then. Now it's kinda dying down and sad. Fuck that place.

                                                                        1. re: joonjoon

                                                                          Whoa bro... I feel like you have a story here

                                                                          1. re: chowhounder411

                                                                            Not "a story"...but too many nights of showing up "inappropriately dressed" only to have another friend who "knows" a bouncer get me in...I just hate places in Red Bank that think they're some swanky NYC joint.

                                                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                                                              "We have a pool and a pond... Pond'd be good for you."

                                                                          2. re: joonjoon

                                                                            It is kind of sad............I was there over the summer for their $5.00 any Stoli Happy Hour.....and it wasn't a very Happy Hour. It was like when my mom forced me to go with her to visit my Aunt Hazel when she had emphysema. Everything besides rubbing some old ladies feet kind of sad.

                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                              Their food is still decent and they draw a solid crowd on thurs for all day happy hr and on the weekends. The ultra selective wanna be NYC days are long over. My gripe is that it seems too similar to what the downtown is; both as a bar/club & as a restaurant. why the owners would have two of the same bar is an odd one.

                                                                              If anything, red is better now that their pretension meter has dropped drastically. I'm hopeful that the porta model of letting any type of person in is something that catches on more in the area.

                                                                              1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                                                                "I'm hopeful that the porta model of letting any type of person in is something that catches on more in the area."

                                                                                Careful what you wish for - you might wind up with guys like me or joon sittin' at the next table some day!

                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                  Hahaa. There's some clear limitations, but as a whole, it adds more value to the surrounding area then a velvet rope bs line.

                                                                                  1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                                                                    Porta's decor, the look of the employees, that it's Asbury Park (which itself is a whole other thing), etc etc all attract the customers they want and keep out the ones they don't

                                                                                    1. re: chowhounder411

                                                                                      its a very easy model. With the exception of geography, everything else is easily replicated. Want to attract hipsters? Hire them and play a great selection of obscure songs straight from the sirius xmu or altnation playlists.

                                                                                      It's an easy formula I've seen work nationwide, as long as the product is legit. And at Porta, it definitely is!

                                                                                      The polar opposite of that model is red banks the fixx. The owners have no right to complain about what happened their when you bring in djs from Plainfield for hip hop night and resort to things like Latin night to pull in a crowd.

                                                                                      1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                                                                        The model is even easier - copy Roberta's. They don't even play obscure music unless I'm real hipster and know realllly obscure music. The bar/club thing they do at night are in unique rooms for the area but the music is pretty staus quo.

                                                                                        +1 to quality food. Their ragus and braised meats are extraordinary.