By Catherine Galioto
Whether for the romantic or cozy feelings it can provide, a dining room fireplace makes a meal that much more warm – and special. That’s especially true for a night out at a great restaurant, lounge or bar on the Jersey Shore. Snag a table next to the fireplace while you enjoy a wintry feast and seasonal cocktail, and you’ll be warmed twice – once by the radiant heat and once by the menu.
Here’s some places locally that have both – a warm fireplace and a hot menu.
Harpoon Willy’s, Manasquan. Besides a ranging fireplace in this wood lined bar is a great marina view, off Route 70 by the Manasquan. But the wine and beer menus – with many seasonal and local offerings — are expansive and sure to help with some wintry merriment. To help further is some live music each weekend. This place is a real treat, at the base of the Sept. 11 Memorial Bridge between Brick and Manasquan. 2655 River Road, 732-223-8880, https://www.harpoonwillys.com/
Crab’s Claw, Lavallette. Ask for a table by the fireplace in the smaller dining room by the bar. Seafood, burgers, pasta – it’s all good here, as is a neighborhood crowd of locals and generations who’ve come here, hoping to crack down their list of beers for the 99 Beer Club. Specials, weekend live music, friendly staff and other fun events such as football promotions and barside bingo make this a fun spot on our list. 601 Grand Central Ave., 732-793-4447, https://www.thecrabsclaw.com/
Tuscany, Brick. Whether arrabiata or alfredo, Tuscany has classic as well as exciting Italian and American fare on its menu. Grab a cocktail at the bar while you wait for a table, as this place is packed weekends, but the wait is worth it. A fireplace is the icing on the cake for a great night out for an Italian feast. 1490 Route 88, 732-840-5835, https://www.tuscany88.com/.
Brickhouse Tavern, Neptune. Each restaurant in this “modern sports bar” chain – there’s another outside Princeton – has delightful fireplaces and firepits. At this spot just outside the outlets, you can warm by the fire inside, or check out the fires outside too. A rotating beer list, some trendy plates, and you’ve got a fun night out. 3655 Route 66, 732-922-0800, https://www.brickhousetavernandtap.com/
Windward Tavern, Brick. Take a jaunt down Princeton Avenue and enjoy views of the lagoon fronts, Metedeconk, Windward Beach and other sites, but make your destination after that Windward Tavern. A classic brick fireplace in its dining room, and popular local acts like The Mangoes and Mike Dalton Band really heat up this place. Whether Prime Rib Night or the breakfast buffet, the menu is classic, too. 292 Princeton Ave., 732-892-9463, https://www.windwardtavern.com/
St. Stephen’s Green Publick House, Spring Lake. Hanging above the fireplace is a set of bagpipes, an obvious touch for a great, authentic spot for Irish fare. Named for a famous inner city Dublin park, the roots run deep and so does the hospitality. With a beer list featuring all that Guinness brews – from its stout, to Harp, Smithwick’s and Kilkenny – and a 3 to 6 p.m. and late night happy hours, there’s fun on tap and tasty feasts that are a traditional take on Irish classics. But there’s also some twists such as the bites of Dublin Rolls – corned beef, cabbage and vegetables in egg roll skins. 2031 Route 71, 732-449-2626, https://www.ssgpub.com/.
Half Moon Point, Point Pleasant. With a modern fireplace behind glass, and some trendy bites and cocktails to match, this newer member of this list is killing it on Bridge Avenue. This winter, you might have sipped on hot buttered rum and hot mulled wine at Half Moon, and there’s lots of fun beers focusing on local breweries such as Kane on tap. Tapas Tuesday is one of many specials that adds to the fun of Half Moon Point. 2154 Bridge Ave., 732-475-6535, https://www.halfmoonpoint.com/
Frankie’s Bar & Grill, Point Pleasant Beach. Saddle up to this mainstay neighborhood bar on Route 35 South/Richmond Avenue just off Arnold Avenue. In addition to the cozy fireplace, Frankie’s also has lots of nooks and crannies where they put tables, so every corner is pretty cozy. Friendly place to meet up after catching a high school sports game or to catch up with the alumni you used to play with, with fresh burgers and cold beer. 414 Richmond Ave., 732-892-6000, https://www.frankiesbarandgrille.com/.
The Ark, Point Pleasant Beach. Warm next to the fireplace as you “talk to each other,” a refrain of the camaraderie The Ark has cultivated over the years. No free wi-fi here, instead is the opportunity to have your own catch fileted and cooked – that’s how fresh this place is. Plus, members of the 40/40 Club who complete a list of 40 imported and domestic drafts get special bar perks For Life. Plus trivia, karaoke, football specials and award-winning burgers are but a few reasons The Ark is a must. 401 Route 35 North, 732-295-1122, https://www.thearkpubandeatery.com.
If you’re into trendy, down home, cozy or big party, there’s a place with a fireplace to warm you. Got a favorite place we didn’t mention at Jersey Shore Scene? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.