The Guinness Oyster Festival returns Sunday for a “shuck and awe” day of food, beverage and entertainment that includes Tinton Falls pop singer Taylor Tote and band, below. (Top photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
As open-air diversions go in Red Bank, it’s the undisputed pearl of the season. And making its seventh annual stand, the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street municipal parking lot Sunday for an event that, as the name suggests, pairs the fabled allure of the briny bivalve and dozens of other culinary seductions with the “Irish aphrodisiac” known as Guinness.
The Ribeye Brothers are the red meat on the grill as a Labor Day Weekend tradition gets fired up once more at the Dublin House. (Photo by Danny Sanchez)
It should be said up front that the Ribeye Brothers specialize in tales of rejection, recidivism and raw ruin. Their CDs are sales-pitched as “the latest self-deprecating offering from the band who hates themselves more than you do,” and carry titles like “Swagger Turns to Stagger,” “Come In Last,” “Far Side of a Bad Thing” and “Disappointment Punch.” Even their well-curated covers by ’60s signifiers like the 13th Floor Elevators and Syd Barrett’s original the Pink Floyd skew along the lines of “boy loses girl, gets bitter as all Angostura.”
But a Ribeyes summertime show is a guaranteed and garage-tested good time, even if it’s also, as redbankgreen has said before, “the most raucously pounding pity party (with free admission, yet) you’ll ever encounter on the fringes of a public parking lot.” And when the Red Bank-based quintet makes a long-overdue return to the Dublin House Pub) this Sunday, it will represent both the rekindling of a hallowed holiday-weekend tradition and a reacquainting that’s packed with new tunes and some potentially pleasant surprises.
When he’s not pulling pints for the clientele of Red Bank’s Dublin House Pub, bartender Brandon Zenner (seen here in 2014) puts in long hours at his laptop, conjuring fictional worlds. His third novel in little more than two years, titled “The After War,” debuts this week. It’s a post-apocalyptic story based on an idea Zenner had almost two decades ago, when he was a 16-year-old student at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, and it’s available as an e-book here. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Red 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)
The Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street lot in Red Bank Sunday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Consider 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 »
It’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)
A traditional Irish Coffee at the Dublin House. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
There 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.
The Guinness Oysterfest returnS to downtown Red Bank Sunday for an afternoon of sunshine, food, music and eary-fall good spirits.
Although 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.
Gotham Lounge will have a dress code, a partner in the business said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By 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.
Funnyman 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.
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.
Brandon 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.
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.
The 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
As 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.
Illusionist 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.
Jamians 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.
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.)
McHeffeys four-year run with Sterns TV and radio shows and related promotional appearances have brought the 37-year-old Red Bank native national fame. Now, Dead On Arrival, a remake of a classic 1950 film noir “D.O.A.,” is scheduled for online release March 1, with McHeffey in the starring role of a man investigating his own murder. Plans for a TV show are in the works, McHeffey said. Read More »
LAST COMIC STANDING semifinalist Erin Jackson, top, headlines Red Bank’s first-ever Comedy in the Park event, while (L-R) Tim Belford, emcee Chris Covert and Matt Perkins set the stage for the free show Wednesday night.
By TOM CHESEK
Like somewhat more ornery (and somewhat less romantic) cousins to the vampires of legend, stand-up comics are true creatures of the night or, more to the point, creatures of the nightclub. Which is why, day or night, it’s unusual to find them doing their thing in the Great Outdoors, breathing in the fresh atmosphere, swatting away junebugs and skeeters like so many Chuckle Hut hecklers.
On Wednesday night, however, Red Bank Parks and Rec offers up something that few if any have attempted here in the season of beach chairs and blanket bleachers: an open-air Comedy in the Park event that lets loose its crack-up Krakens in the pleasant waterfront setting of Riverside Gardens Park.
As “free-range” as it is free of charge, the 8 pm program is headlined by Erin Jackson, a season six semifinalist on NBCs Last Comic Standing and a frequent sighting on Comedy Central, BET and TV Guide Channel. The daughter of Washington, DC will be joined on the bill by a contingent of Jersey Jokers among them a familiar figure who’s fast becoming an impresario in local laugh-maker circles.
Clockwise from top left: A Cool Blues Duo, Jeff & Elaine, The Al Wright Unit and Peas & Carrots are among the acts taking it to the streets for Red Bank Street Life, the 2012 slate of which kicks off this Saturday evening.
It happens right about the time that Riverfest sounds the keynote to summertime in Red Bank. The sidewalks, storefronts and greens of the Shore’s favorite beach-free destination town ring out with great evening music every Saturday night in the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Other towns may stake a claim to being Where Music Lives, but when Red Bank StreetLife returns on June 2, it will transform the Borough of Basie into that place where Music greets visitors who arrive by rail; where Music provides an eclectic soundtrack to shopping and dining; and where Music gets mobile on the streets of the downtown and West Side business districts.
Presented by Red Bank Rivercenter (with funding assistance from the Monmouth County Arts Council), Street Life offers up a shuffle-mix that ranges from acoustic Americana to ethnic, and from sweet-Adeline harmonies to a little bit of harmonic dissonance.
It’s full! The number of aspiring Cousin Eddies taking part in the second annual EddieCon pub crawl has been capped at twenty but there’s still room for not-so-secret Santas to hitch up to the SantaCom team, also going on around Red Bank this Saturday afternoon.
By TOM CHESEK
He appears right around this time each year, making people smile; a familiar figure instantly recognizable by his trademark headgear and his distinctive transportation.
We’re talking of course about Cousin Eddie, the boorish ne’er-do-well played by Randy Quaid in various Vacation movies specifically Christmas Vacation (and its direct-to-video sequel). The image of Eddie, clad in bathrobe and flap-eared trapper hat, has been burned into our nation’s pop-cultural consciousness in recent years. And on Saturday, December 17, downtown Red Bank revelers and strolling shoppers may encounter another “thing you can’t un-see,” when nearly two dozen Cousin Eddies take to the streets (and saloons) in support of a worthy cause, as part of the newly minted local tradition known as EddieCon.
And by some Christmas magic, Saturday also marks the first appearance in Red Bank of SantaCon, the international pub-crawl phenomenon described as “a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.”
Red Bank’s Dublin House pub is on the hook for more than $1 million of a $3.3 million jury award to the family a man killed by a drunk, off-duty State Trooper in Middletown four years ago, the Asbury Park Press reported Thursday last week.
Also having to pay into the settlement is the defunct Ashes Cigar Bar nightclub on Broad Street. A third Red Bank watering hole that was sued was spared from the judgment.
Covert operations: Elsie’s Subs co-proprietor Chris Covert (pictured in his night job as stand-up comic) brings the latest in his ongoing Comedy Night Live series to the Dublin House on Friday, August 26.
By TOM CHESEK
Maybe you like your humor DRY, and your subs WET maybe vice versa. Either way, he’s got you covered.
Most days of the week, Chris Covert presides over one of the most beloved institutions within the Red Bank state of mind Elsie’s Subs, the 52-year-old Monmouth Street landmark that’s been owned by his wife Tish for over 20 years.
As the steward of a brand about which native Red Bankers tend to get territorial (it’s not uncommon for in-the-know visitors to grab an Elsie’s special immediately after coming in from the airport and to order a no oil/vinegar “dry” sub for the flight back home), Covert loves nothing more than to keep serving a loyal clientele that consists of “99 percent repeat customers the best kind there is.”
That said, the honorable earl of sandwich has been known to have his other pursuits and fancies not the least of which is an artistic bent that’s manifested itself in a series of quirky mosaic portraits, as well as a cutting-edge flair for custom-carved Halloween pumpkins.
As if he weren’t in danger of slicing himself too thin already, this Caravaggio of the capicola has an altogether separate, nocturnal calling as a practitioner of the art of stand-up comedy, and ringmaster of a regular series of Comedy Open Mic events at the equally iconic Dublin House. It’s to the second floor of The Dub that Covert returns this Friday, August 26, for the fourth and latest in a monthly menu of Comedy Night Live events.