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RED BANK: BARTENDER/AUTHOR GOES FOR TWO

brandon zenner 052114whiskey devilsRed Bank bartender-turned-self-published novelist Brandon Zenner, seen here in 2014, is  in the running for a contract with Kindle Scout, an Amazon program in which readers vote on which works get published. An excerpt of the Dublin House barkeep’s second novel, “Whiskey Devils,” may be previewed and voted upon here. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: THE WORLD’S OUR OYSTER SUNDAY

oysterfest 2012 1The Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street lot in Red Bank Sunday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

rb oysterfest 3 092312Consider the oyster: a fabled food-of-love aphrodisiac to many, and a must-to-avoid mollusk to others. A naturally nurturing jewel-box to hunters of precious pearls, and mere hapless-prey packaging to the otter, The Walrus and The Carpenter.

But whether you shuck ’em or shun ’em, there’s no doubting that the briny bivalve has a certain star-quality luster as the centerpiece of some increasingly popular post-Labor Day events — particularly when paired with the “Irish aphrodisiac” known as —Guinness. And here on the banks of the Navesink, the coming of autumn signals the oyster’s turn to shine as the featured attraction of the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival, the sixth annual edition of which returns to the White Street municipal parking lot Sunday. Read More »

RUMSON: FIRED COP SUES TO GET JOB BACK

rb crash 092114Damien Brennan’s vehicle after the September 21, 2014 crash in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02A former Rumson cop who crashed his personal vehicle into the back of a Red Bank store while enroute to his moonlight gig guarding Bruce Springsteen’s mansion has sued for reinstatement, according to a lawsuit.

Sergeant Damien Brennan, 38, of Howell, was axed from his borough job last month, even though a DWI charge against him had been dropped, according to the suit, first reported by More Monmouth Musings.

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ON THE GREEN: A BLUSTERY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

st. patrick 031715 7st. patrick 031715 25It’s a day of wearin’ of the green, donnin’ of the caudeen, and greenin’ of the hair when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around on the Greater Red Bank Green. The 2015 edition was accompanied by the usual revelry beginning Tuesday afternoon, as seen here in photos from the Dublin House Pub, Walt Street Pub, Molly Maguire’s Gastropub and Murphy’s Tavern. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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AT THE DUB: IRISH COFFEE THE IRISH WAY

022615 Dublin house1A traditional Irish Coffee at the Dublin House. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

dublin house 022013There was a time, not so long ago, when most restaurants would hand their customers a menu of coffee-based, alcohol-laced, sweetened beverages at the end of a meal. But food and drink styles are as susceptible to change as runway garb, and tend to be described in the same way. Does your taste go to something retro or classic? Or are you always looking for the next new thing?

Café mocha double lattes may come and go, but there are some classic drinks that are always in style. And with stores bedecked in shades of green reminding us that the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday is on its way, PieHole went in search of an old standard at the Dublin House Pub on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: THIS TOWN IS YOUR OYSTER…FEST

oysterfest-2010-1The Guinness Oysterfest returnS to downtown Red Bank Sunday for an afternoon of sunshine, food, music and eary-fall good spirits.

rb oysterfest 2 092312Although there are those who choose to shun it rather than shuck it, there’s no denying that the oyster has long been celebrated for its aphrodisiac properties. And when the bivalve’s paired with the brackish brew that’s been called “the Irish aphrodisiac” – —Guinness – well, what’s not to love?

Whether you’re a fishy aficionado or strictly landlubber’s menu, there’s much to sink your teeth into this Sunday, when the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street municipal parking for for a fifth annual edition. Presented by Red Bank RiverCenter and produced by RUEevents, it’s a seven-hour fleadh of food, music and stout that benefits a pair a pair of regional cancer treatment nonprofits — the Jane H. Booker Cancer Center at  Riverview Medical Center, and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ — in addition to helping fund the ongoing events and programs of the RiverCenter partnership.

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RED BANK: OWNER VOWS ‘NOT ANOTHER FIXX’

rb gotham 060514Gotham Lounge will have a dress code, a partner in the business said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_02By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to head off misconceptions, a partner in the Gotham Lounge, a proposed Red Bank nightclub, promises an “upscale, sophisticated” speakeasy-themed place with a dress code.

Joseph Squillaro tells redbankgreen that the Broad Street club will be respectful of local sensitivities.

“I know how important it is to the town that they not have another Chubby’s there, not another Fixx” he said, referring by the former and current names of a West Front Street bar that authorities shut down for three weeks earlier this year following two street melees within a month last fall.

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RED BANK: POWER OF DE VITO

Joe-DeVitoFunnyman Joe De Vito returns to The Downtown for a Friday night fracas, another Covert operation from the Jersey Jokers stable.

Red Bank may no longer be able to boast its own dedicated “Chuckle Hut” sort of comedy club, but it’s got something infinitely more valuable than another brick wall, low ceiling and two-drink minimum — it’s got Chris Covert, sandwich sculptor to the stars, and a man whose not-so-secret night gig (as impresario of the Jersey Jokers comedy collective) has almost single-handedly kept the laugh light burning for a new generation of standup stalwarts in and around the borough. Tonight — as he’s done every first Thursday of the month, for as long as anyone can recall — Covert plays ringmaster to an Open Mic Comedy card that commences 8 pm upside the Dublin House on Monmouth Street. Get there early for sign-up if you’d like to test your own comic kung foo at the friendliest “tough room” in the area — or just enjoy the show, and if you’d like to keep the laughter going, take it over to Front Street on Friday night, where Covert and company will be welcoming back a special guest stander-upper to the Downtown.

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RED BANK: NIGHTCLUB EYES BROAD STREET

rb gotham 060414Gotham Lounge would feature bars on two floors. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_02By JOHN T. WARD

Vacant for just a month, the former Red Bank home of Hamilton Jewelers could become a swank nightclub if approved by town planning officials.

A Shrewsbury anesthesiologist, Ted Kutzin, has proposed converting the storefront at 19 Broad Street into the Gotham Lounge, a “high-end bar/lounge with tapas food and occasional entertainment,” according to documents filed recently with the town planning office.

Gotham would become part of an rapid overhaul of upper Broad Street that includes half a dozen new restaurants, as well as two that have already failed, and another that’s about to add 200 seats to a competitive dining market. It would also join Red and the Downtown in competing for clubgoers.

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RED BANK: AUTHOR EMERGES FROM THE CELLAR

brandon zenner 2 052114Brandon Zenner at his basement writing table. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

For 11 sunlight-deprived years, he’s slung drinks and traded banter with customers at the Dublin House in Red Bank. And for a good chunk of that time, he’s spent his free time in a dim, prosaic Red Bank basement, typing away at a windowless desk near a clothes dryer.

But until earlier this year, when he self-published a 294-page novel titled “The Experiment of Dreams,” Brandon Zenner kept his literary ambitions to himself.

“I never told anybody I was a writer,” Zenner told redbankgreen recently. For one thing, “sports is big in a bar. Writing is not,” he said.

Besides, “it’s just easier not to have to talk about it” and instead just do it, he said.

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RED BANK: RIBEYES, ON A BACKYARD GRILLE

the-ribeye-brothers

The Ribeye Brothers are the raw meat that rekindles a Memorial Weekend tradition, Sunday evening backside The Dub.   

It’s as sure a signifier of Memorial Weekend as lowered speed limits on Ocean Ave, or highered prices at the pump: the Capistrano-style comeback of The Ribeye Brothers to The Dublin House, an event that heralds the season of sunblock with a party that takes over the play-pen courtyard of The Dub’s outback Temple Bar.

On Sunday, May 25, the guys that redbankgreen hailed for their “mastery of the sixties garage template, and more ways to spin a booze-basted yarn than anyone this side of the big Bukowski” return to the historic House on Monmouth for a session that sees the venerable “detached garage” band (Monster Magnet veterans Tim Cronin, Jon Kleiman and Joe Calandra, plus marshmallow-biking guitar ace Brent Sisk and mega-skilled multi-tasker Neil O’Brien) squeezing out two sets beginning at 7 pm.

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RED BANK: EXPRESS TO THE SEASON OF LIGHTS

crowd 112709The Christmas-capital crossroads of Broad and Canal streets is the place to be on Friday night, when Holiday Express presides over the annual concert and town lighting ceremony. (File photos. Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

stage 2 112709As Tim McLoone tells it, he’s “just the keyboard player” in Holiday Express, the winter-wonderland Wall of Sound and Brilliant Light that he founded and has fronted since 1993. But if the big band is merely the part of the all-volunteer humanitarian train that “makes the most noise,” then there’s more to the Express seasonal journey than meets the eye or ear.

The 21st season of performances by Holiday Express — a schedule that takes two regional touring and support units to 60-plus stops in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — actually got underway more than two weeks ago. By December 24, the Express team will have logged some 10,000 miles visiting, playing for and distributing gifts to more than 15,000 people in area homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places well off the beaten path — places whose residents are often without any family or friends.

For most of us, however, the keynote to the holiday season on the greater Red Bank Green happens on the evening of Black Friday, when the Express makes a rare public-invited pitstop to the downtown nexus of Broad and Canal streets. It’s there, on November 29, that McLoone and company will be flipping the switch on a wintry interlude of special activities and events in the borough — a Town Lighting made all the more special, with the welcome return of some much-missed local traditions.

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WEEKEND: OLD MASTERS, HISTORIC HAUNTS

mikesuperIllusionist extraordinaire Mike Super materializes for an evening of large-scale prestidigitation at the Basie tonight.

Friday, October 25:

RED BANK: At the Count Basie Theatre — where a “ghost light” is kept burning for passing Lantern Tours and house phantoms — the newly minted tradition of “Harley-ween” is kickstarted with the theater-scale area debut of America’s Favorite Mystifier, illusionist Mike Super. Last seen in an appearance at Brookdale College, the winner of the NBC TV competition Phenomenon materializes on the Basie boards with a spectacular 8 pm show that promises a live murder-mystery round of CLUE, a demonstration of voodoo mind control, and an outright repeal of the law of gravity. Most potentially amazing is the fact that all ticketholders are eligible to ride away with “the vehicle that Mike will make appear on stage” — a little item from Harley-Davidson of Long Branch. Tickets ($39 – $69) right here.

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RED BANK: JAMIAN’S OUTDOOR BAR OK’D

Jamian’s plans an open-air bar out back, replacing a garage on Gold Street, below. (Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

Another open-air bar is set to join the Dublin House‘s Temple Bar and the yet-to-be-built rooftop bar atop Teak on Red Bank’s Monmouth Street.

Jamian’s Food and Drink won borough planning board approval Monday night for a plan to to expand its restaurant and bar operations by adding back-door dining patio with eight tables and an 11-seat bar.

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GREEN ON GREEN

From oceanfront Sea Bright to suburban Rumson to the bustling hub of downtown Red Bank, everyone seemed to be feeling Irish Sunday – Saint Patrick’s Day.

Guinness, Bailey’s and Jameson lined bar tops. Murphy’s Tavern in Rumson served fresh Irish soda bread as munchies. Medicated Pete McHeffey, dressed in full leprechaun regalia, kept the tentful of revelers at the Dublin House in Red Bank laughing. And one old soul at Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright claimed that though he wasn’t from Ireland, he’d lived his entire life as though he were.

It was a great day to be Irish – or to live for a few hours as though you were.

(Photos by Wil Fulton. Click the embiggen symbol to enlarge.)