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30th Birthday Drinks with Friends, Central Jersey...Preferably Outdoors

My 30th birthday is around the corner. The celebration is planned for 7/20 and I am having a hard time deciding on a place to go. I am thinking that since it is summer, I should do do something outdoors. I am looking for a place with a good atmosphere, good music, crowd and drinks. The guests will be in their late 20's, early 30's. I think the only thing I don't want is the place to be jam packed where you can't move, hear or its impossible get a drink. I plan on it just being a fun night out so food service is not e most important. Suggestions for north jersey and DTS (asbury park) are also welcome.

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  1. If it's in your range geographically, Montclair has a lot of places that fit what you're looking for.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ebchower

      I have considered Montclair... It's about 40 minutes away which is fine. Any suggestions of outdoor bars?

    2. Check out Green Knoll Grill. Haven't been there on a Saturday but weeknight service is excellent - http://www.greenknollgrill.com/

      2 Replies
      1. re: goddessnna

        Thanks... I live pretty close to GKG. It's really fun on Thursdays and weekends are okay in the summer since most people are down the shore. I'll keep it in mind.

        1. re: jennybird83

          If you are near GKG, then another possibility is Char, on Route 202 in B'water/Raritan. Very upscale outside patio area with lounge vibe and cool gas lamps. However, it's pricey. Make sure you reserve a table beforehand for the outside area http://www.charsteakhouse.com/raritan...

      2. I recently attended an affair at the Stage House in Scotch Plains. It has a very nice outdoor courtyard type bar and dining area. They also advertised live music on the weekend, it seemed like it had a very cool vibe to it.

        For the shore area, Asbury Park specifically, there is only one word; Porta. Well reviewed do a quick search to see all you need to know.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jrvedivici

          We are going to stage house in Somerset this weekend for another friends 30th party. Stage House great place and great suggestion. My friends band used to, play at the Scotch Plains location a lot and we would go to,watch. They also have a Somerset location with a larger outside than Scotch Plains although SP is 10 minutes closer to me.

          I have decided to start the night at Watermark and end it at Porta in AP! Thanks so much for the suggestions.

        2. This is on the periphery of Central Jersey, but I believe still qualifies for you. While it is popular it will not be jammed like a lot of places in Red Bank, or Montclair (where it's hard to find a place with a liquor license - and those that do have, see a crush). In Red Bank, you could try the Dublin House.



          Asbury Park has the Watermark ( http://www.bing.com/local/details.asp...) or Cubacan (http://cubacan.net/?hasFlash=true&) which have pretty cool 2nd floor outdoor dining/drinking but if the nearby Stone Pony has a band that you may not care for, that music 'pounds' both establishments. One thing you can also count on is that both of these spots will be busy. Either of these two are definitely worth it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JustJake

            Thanks so much! So funny you mention Watermark because last night I made that my decision! We will go there and possibly stop at Porta later on. I have seen Cubacan on the boardwalk and never realized it had a rooftop! I must try Cubacan before the summer is over now. Now I have to keep my fingers crossed for great weather.

          2. Asbury park- Dauphin grille in the Berkeley hotel! Pool restaurant patio and a hip bar scene! Call 732 861 2421 and ask for Marie

            3 Replies
            1. re: Mcoloreo

              That sounds amazing!! I am going to do Watermark and Porta but will make sure to check of Dauphin Grille before the summer is over.

              1. re: jennybird83

                The only reason I didn't recommend Porta is that you said you didn't want to be in a place that's jam-packed...so know that you'll want to go there on the earlier side! And def eat there...DEFINITELY! Actually, you might ask them about their small private room--you could have the best of all worlds!

                1. re: Curlz

                  I did hear that Porta gets packed. Maybe after some cocktails at Watermark we will be in the mood to go dance... They have a dj right?

            2. It really depends on what you consider to be Central Jersey...how 'bout making a few stops in New Brunswick?

              If you're talking Asbury I'd consider Watermark.

              12 Replies
              1. re: joonjoon

                Thanks! We are going to watermark and then to porta. Can't wait!

                1. re: jennybird83

                  If you start with Watermark and then try to make your way to Porta you're going to have to sit in a line for a long time. And then be packed like sardines. Porta is basically the Bar A of Asbury. If you want a fun club-like atmosphere go to Paradise instead.

                  I'd say stick with Watermark, Beach Bar and Paradise based on your initial and follow up descriptions of what you're looking for.

                  Have fun!

                  1. re: joonjoon

                    Thanks for the tip! Do you know if Beach Bar is open until two? I tried looking around online and didn't find hours and I have only been there during the day.

                      1. re: joonjoon

                        Good to know. Thanks for all of your help!

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      I'd do the opposite--start w an early dinner/drinks at Porta (indoors or out) and then move along to anOther spot! I'd also ask Porta about that small private room--then it could be 1-stop shopping!

                      1. re: Curlz

                        That's a good idea too Curlz. If we are in already we can leave it it gets too packed and head to watermark or beach bar after. I will call,Porta today to see if the from is available. Thanks so much!

                        1. re: jennybird83

                          Curlz that is a great idea, good thinking!!

                          Jenny if I may add to Curlz brainstorming, I think I have a good idea too!! I'll be at Porta as the Ambassador of Chowhound and you can buy me vodka's all night as an expression of your appreciation for Curlz, and all of our efforts.

                          Then on Monday I will post to everyone just what a great and appreciative person you are !!!! (just let me know what time you want the Ambassador to arrive)

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            But if I'm at Porta w the CH crew, she can buy ME drinks! I'll have multiple Fred and Gingers, please... :-)

                            1. re: Curlz

                              Hey now!!! Ok you had some good idea's here Curlz, but don't try to cut in on my action now!

                              Hold those Fred and Gingers Jenny, order the stoli martini, I'm on my way!!

                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                Hey now... I'm the birthday girl! I want free drinks!

                                1. re: jennybird83

                                  Looks like whoever is taking us out better have deep pockets!

                2. It's the summer, it's the weekend, I'd do do something by the beach. I'd choose Asbury Park. McCloons is fine if you're just going for simple food and drinks.
                  The thing with Asbury is there's enough bars that you can keep moving around. Brickwall and Bang Street Bar off Cookmen, then you got all the bars on or right off the boardwalk. You also don't have all the meatheads that flock to other shore towns.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: themaker75

                    Thanks!! I live 10 min from New Brunswick. I decided the other day to do Watermark and then Porta. And you got it.... Avoiding meatheads. I spent my 21st at bar a, 22nd at d'jais..... You get it, I am way over that scene.

                  2. Again don't know where central jersey borders are but a great outdoor place for drinks is at 90 Acres at Natirar - beautiful setting, great cocktails and a very good "vibe"