Jimmy Steal

One thing is for sure, Toms River has had it’s share of great bars and restaurants over the years. Some of my favorite are no longer with us. I cannot speak to the real old days in Toms River, as I have only been living at the Shore for 27 years, and a full time resident of Toms River for 21. However in that time I have found some gems that I love. Luckily some are still with us.

Take for instance The Office Lounge, one of my all time favorites. 

Or The Miracle Pub. I was just there with the family this past Christmas Eve and had a wonderful time.

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McIntyere’s in both it’s locations has always been dear to my heart and liver, and with the new incarnation of Mac’s Pub, it’s even better than ever. 

Yup, there sure are a lot of great watering holes in Toms River. Meanwhile, it’s the ones that are no longer with us that seem to hold the fondest memories, much like loved ones.

The Places Where Everybody Knew Your Name.

The 6 gone but not forgotten venues that I have included on this list have 3 main criteria. First, they were places I had actually been to on numerous occasions. Second, I loved multiple aspect about them. Finally, and obviously, they no longer are in existence. For me, these were joints that you could pull up a bar stool, or grab a table, to watch the game, have some wings, or a burger, and just shoot the shit with your buddies, or many times fellow bar flies. Good food, good drinks, and usually great bartenders. That’s what made these places special to me. Meanwhile, there are other places in town that while no longer around, still make the “Honorable Mention” list. These include Tiffany’s on Route 37, Mulligans on Hooper Avenue, even the bar at Charlie Brown’s on Kettle Creek.

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Again, this is my list over the last couple of decades. It is in no way meant to leave out or besmirch the legacy of other older places that were before my time. In fact, please feel free to comment on whatever page you’re reading this on, and let me know a great old Toms River haunt you remember fondly! I’d love to hear about it.

  • The Old Time Tavern - Dover Mall, Routes 9 and 37

    While I won’t wax poetically about the restaurant, since I only ate in there once or twice, the bar was always a staple of the Rat’s pregame for the Toms River Fire Company Number One Halloween Parade. Bar snacks and beers. Many beers. Almost didn’t make the parade once or twice thanks to Carl Craft and his credit card. I put this first on the list because without question it is the number one toms River bar/restaurant I see folks talking about to this day on social media. The OTT really left its mark.

    Old Time Tavern

  • Phil's Liquor Locker Lounge - 11 Kettle Creek Road

    Ohhhhh yeahhh baby. This place was great. While good old “Phil”, Philip Forgione left us last year at the ripe old age of 96, one of his lasting legacies remains, if in memory only. Phil’s Liquor Locker was like the friend you had who never gave a shit what people thought of him. He was who he was, take him or leave him. The first time my buddy took me there in 2003, right after buying my house, I saw a sign on the door that said “No Club Colors”. I literally said out loud, “What kind of clubs do they have here?” to my buddy Mike. He promptly shut me up and let me know about bikers. The drinks were good, the Mangos or some other cool band playing in front of the beer cases was great, and If you wanted a great meal there was always Jules South, right next door.

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  • The Hub - 1850 Hooper Ave

    Much like Roxy’s and Rivs battle it out today, back in the day across from Phil’s there was the Hub, perhaps the OG establishment of the Silverton section of Toms River. Another ‘come as you are’ type joint. I used to stop in for a sixer after work and the old timers would be singing karaoke at the bar and the guy at the register would be telling them to shut the F up. Haha, good times. Happy, friendly, smoke filled fun. Watched many a Jets game there too.

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  • Pizza King/Mugsy's Sports Bar 1356 Fischer Blvd

    I first ventured here in 1998 with Doug The Promo Rat to get the lowdown on the “Official” bar of the eventual Little League World Series champion Toms River East team. It was a crazy atmosphere. Later, after I moved to Silverton, I used to love to go in, sit and relax watching a game, and chow down on my favorite app: the coconut shrimp with that fruity dipping sauce. DAYUMMMM. I can still taste it!

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  • The Huddy Brew Pub 1250 Hooper Ave

    Long before the great B2 Bistro, and the places that came before it, but after the Ground Round (that my wife allegedly worked at in the early 90s), was the Huddy Brew Pub! Now I will tell you the number one reason I loved this place. It wasn’t their beer, which was good. It wasn’t their wings, which were great. It wasn’t the oddly placed bathrooms in the middle of the dining room. Nope, it was the Sunday specials. Pot Roast, Meatloaf, Beef Bourguignon over Egg Noodles, and more…JUST 8.95!!! OMG soooo good. Plus you could spin a wheel and whatever it landed on, is what you paid for your kids meals! 75 cents, a buck fifty, even free! It truly was a special place for me and my young family and one I wish I could revisit.

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  • The Prime Time - Indian Head Plaza

    I remember doing Rat football gigs at this place that is now home to Hobby Town and other stores in the Indian Head Plaza off of route 9. Always good service and people really seamed to love the food. They used to get a great football crowd with their good amount of tvs, and giant screen showing the Giants or Jets game. Interestingly another memory I have is that of going in there after it was long abandoned, after Superstorm Sandy. We were volunteering, and storing donations of food and water in the old Prime Time. I remember the eerie feeling I had still seeing some of the beer specials on the walls and the pay phone near the bathroom.

    Throw Hatchets, Find Bargains, Race Toys: New Toms River Stores | Toms River,  NJ Patch

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