By SUSAN ERICSON
A sandwich board on the sidewalk of Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright informs us that Rory’s Pub is open for breakfast at 8:15.
“8:15?” we ask the owner, Tony Maher. In a brogue rooted in his childhood in Waterford, Ireland, he tells PieHole, “Give or take, it could be 8:16 or 8:17.”
Tony Maher, owner of the pub, stands behind the open-to-the-elements bar that he recently opened for weekend breakfast service. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
Artfully hardscaped and hedged, the courtyard of the former Harry’s, which Maher helped revive last year before taking over and rebranding in January, is filled with orange-umbrella-topped tables, young trees and vines climbing brick walls.
We find an inviting, marble topped open-air bar against the back wall of the garden. Too beautiful out, and too good to pass up, we belly up to the bar for breakfast at the pub.
Maher, who is celebrating his 30th year in this country, tells us he named the pub for his youngest son, Rory. “I didn’t think ‘Tony’ set the right mood for an Irish bar,” he says. Maher’s older son, Drew, and a friend wait on tables while they’re on summer vacation from school.
What led Maher to open for breakfast on weekends?
“We have a nice courtyard, and I thought it would be a nice experience to have breakfast out here,” he says. “It has a European flavor to it, like a pub in Ireland.”
A chalkboard list of coffees is elemental, offering cold brew, Newman’s Own, Folger’s Roast, Guatamalan light roast, organic dark roast, espresso and cappuccino. There’s no pretense here. The coffee came out strong, dark and hot. Just right.
The handwritten menu offers several varieties of omelettes, an impressive huevos rancheros served on corn tortillas, a breakfast avocado filled with sunnyside eggs, and — the most expensive choice — steak and poached eggs covered in hollandaise sauce for $12. Don’t miss the beautifully seasoned homefries that accompany the omelettes. They’re worth the calories.
Rory’s, at 1124 Ocean Avenue, is open for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but only until noon, when the lunch menu takes effect and the bar opens. There’s live entertainment on Friday and Sunday nights, the latter offering Irish music by Sean Hennessy.