RED BANK: BAR’S OPEN AT THE OYSTER POINT

The Pearl Restaurant and Lounge reopened late last week for the first time since Hurricane Sandy knocked the hotel out of commission. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The last time redbankgreen visited Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel, a handwritten sign was taped to the front doors telling would-be visitors that the hotel and restaurant/bar would reopen “when it is safe to do so.”

Nearly three months later, the Oyster Point took a step forward in its rebuilding plan with the reopening of its posh Pearl Restaurant and Lounge – much to the delight of regulars and new customers alike.

Perched on the banks of the Navesink River, the Oyster Point was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, with storm surges flooding the building’s basement and destroying almost all of its electrical and communication systems, essentially gutting the building’s “brain and heart,” according to Kevin Barry, the hotel’s operating manager.

The hotel reopened its banquet hall a week ago, and according to Barry, has already hosted several events there.

“Thankfully, we were able to honor some events scheduled before Sandy,” Barry said. “Now we’re working to get 100 percent of the people who had to reschedule back in here for their events.”

The restaurant, lounge and bar officially reopened Thursday, and Barry was pleased to report that turn-out was positive.

“Everyone was really happy with the turnout,” he said. “All our regulars were thrilled to be able to come back, and all the customers were extremely supportive.”

“I think it’s great,” said David Holden, a Middletown resident, who was there with his girlfriend, Nancy, on Friday night. “I wouldn’t consider myself to be a regular here [before the storm], but when we found out it was reopening we definitely wanted to come down here and check it out. We really like what we see – it’s like nothing ever happened, I’m very impressed with it.”

The restaurant will return to its regular hours, 11 to 11 every day, and the menu is almost fully back to normal – Barry said the kitchen is slowly adding new items with each passing day.

According to Barry, rooms will be available in approximately 10 to 14 days, pending the installation of a new and improved fire sprinkler system – the last step in their process.

“It feels so great to be open again, even if its only one portion of the building,” Barry said. “Just reopening those doors for business and knowing we were finally back made all the hard work worth it.”

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