RED BANK: NEW OWNER AT BRANNIGAN’S

paul marcotte 040615Paul Marcotte hopes to retain┬áBrannigan’s charming dive character while making small improvements. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallPaul Marcotte is thinking about hitting the ladies’ room.

Well, both restrooms, actually. But the one that matters most to the new owner of Brannigan’s Bar & Grill in Red Bank is the one that, to put it delicately, the ladies don’t find all that welcoming. Hence, they tend to stay out of the bar, too.

So fixing the facilities is a top priority as Marcotte figures out just how much tweaking the Wharf Avenue watering hole needs and can stand without losing its dive charm.

Marcotte, 33, grew up in Middletown in a family of bartenders and tavern owners. “I’ve been working in bars since I was a kid,” he told redbankgreen. For the past dozen years, he and his brother Joe have owned the Green Rock Tap & Grill in Hoboken.

Last month, Marcotte bought the majority stake in Brannigan’s from Bob Phillips, of Donovan’s Reef fame. Members of the Bowler family retained a portion, Marcotte said.

So, what does Marcotte have in store for the triangle-shaped building and bar overlooking our beautiful Navesink River? He’s not sure yet. He’s talking to an architect, and expects at some point to close Brannigan’s for renovations, he said. He’d like to elevate the quality of the food, which he says now is “not bad.”

Meantime, the place is in need of some basic TLC, starting with the restrooms and moving on to the kitchen and the TVs. The bar now accepts credit cards after 31 years in business. Marcotte’s also hoping to bring in more entertainment.

“I’m not going to rush into anything,” he said. “Nothing crazy is going to happen right away.”