Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

We all have our favorite restaurants and watering holes to grab a cocktail. Every now and again you want to change it up.
You want to break out of your routine and find a cool place you have not either heard of or explored yet.

Friends and coworkers are always a good source of information when it comes to looking for new places.

You know me, If I’m not asking listeners or coworkers, I’m asking people on social media sites and message boards for their opinions on where to go for certain foods, beverages, and desserts.

Even though you trust someone else’s opinion, sometimes their suggestion winds up being not so great.

For instance, Bruce and I had dinner at a place that a friend swore was one of the best places near her town to grab a meal.

After a year of hearing her tell us a thousand times to try this place, we finally made our way there.

Let me tell you, it was one of the worst meals we have ever had. The food was over-cooked, and tasteless, but I will say, the service was very good, and the restaurant was lovely.

We never told our friend that we dined at her suggested place because we don’t want to hurt her feelings.

We’re usually easy to please, and even food that is just “so-so”, will never set us off or launch us into “Karen” mode. We just won’t go back.

I try to never write a negative review about a place because I specifically write these listicles to highlight small businesses. I like to give them a boost, I’m interested in spreading positivity. If I hear a place sucks more than enough times, I will never write about them. I’ll just go on my merry way and pass along suggestions that get a lot of positive feedback.

I’m going to give you a list based on other people’s experiences as well as a few of my own. I’m going to venture out to the places I haven’t been to lately in the next few months.

Let’s take a journey through Monmouth County to find some of the coolest places that offer great cocktails.

  • Laylow Cocktail Lounge - 603 Mattison Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    If you want to be transported back in time, let’s say a hundred years, then check out Laylow. It’s a Speakeasy, modeled after the 1920’s places during the time of prohibition. Upstairs, you can enjoy a great meal at Reyla, I’ve been there, and I loved everything about it. It’s Middle Eastern and Mediterranean deliciousness.
    After dinner, make your way downstairs for a unique handcrafted cocktail. The cocktail menu is like no other you’ve seen before. They create different themes throughout the year.

  • Mix Lounge & Food Bar - 71 Brighton Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740

    Creative cocktails, gourmet food and a welcoming staff are what Mix Lounge is all about.

    Happy Hour all night on Mondays. Tuesday, Thursday- Sunday until 7pm. $2.00 off all wine, beer, and spirits, and they mean ALL! 

    $2.00 tacos on Taco Tuesday with $5.00 Margaritas, and $3.00 Coronas.

    This Friday may be the day I make it out to Mix Lounge.

    I don’t know how I missed this place! Michael, Sammy, and the entire crew welcome you to mix and mingle


  • Le Malt Royale - : 22 W Front St, Red Bank, NJ 07701

    This is a membership only private establishment.

    A leisure focused private club for smoking and non-smoking members. It’s all about appreciating the best of the best and being comfortable.

    The memberships are currently sold out, but there is a waiting list should you decide you want in.

    Here’s a positive recent review:
    Le Malt is second-to-none. Whether for cigars or food the experience is exceptional.
    The cigar lounge area is elegant and modern, with an ambiance that leaves you thinking this must be located in New York or LA.

    The ventilation system in the cigar lounge is awesome, the air is clear and crisp, no thick clouds or unbearable smells for non-smokers.

    The restaurant is even more awesome. The décor is modern yet elegant. The staff is always welcoming, tentative, and friendly, with that personalized service making it much more of a friendship than a staff/customer feel.

    The food is fantastic, and the chef always clearly puts love into each meal, because they are not serving in high-volume like a traditional restaurant, so the added ‘extra love’ is noticeable. The Sushi is second-to-none in all of New Jersey. The Sushi Chef sources fresh fish daily and it’s incredible!

    On certain nights they have live performances which adds that extra-special ambiance to the restaurant. Really – all around – an incredible place.”

  • The Bar Room + Kitchen - 100 Norwood Ave, Deal, NJ 07723

    They make a peanut butter espresso martini! That’s enough to get me in the door. Hannah, a listener from the area told me the food is incredible and everyone has a good time visiting. Hannah’s recommendations: The Blackened Salmon Burger, the Stuffed Italian Artichoke, and the Roasted Cauliflower.


  • The Seafarer - 1 Atlantic St, Highlands, NJ 07732

    According to their website: Our Cocktails are crafted with top-shelf liquors and luxurious ingredients. Our menu adapts with the seasons.

    OUR ON-SITE food purveyor is the award winning local smoke bbq!

    They offer dock and dine as well, plus live music.

  • Whiskey Lounge - 403 Higgins Ave, Brielle, NJ 08730

    Our promo Goddess, Jackie made me aware of this place. The burgers here are among her favorites. Artisanal American Cuisine. The cocktails are superb and go perfectly with whatever you choose to eat.

    Check out these cocktails:

    Bourbon Blueberry Smash – Old Forester 86 Bourbon, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Blueberry Purée, Lemon
    Juice, Lemonade, Sugar Rim.

    Peanut Butter Whiskey Martini – Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Dark Crème de Cacao, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Cocoa Powder &Chocolate Syrup Rim, Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar Garnish

    Such a lovely atmosphere too.

  • The Grand Tavern - 1105 6th Ave, Neptune City, NJ 07753

    Unfussy and unpretentious, this place not only serves an amazing meal, their handcrafted cocktails deserve some sort of award. Such lovely unusual handcrafted concoctions like:

    • Dazed & Infused
      strawberry-infused mezcal, Carpano Bianco, luxardo bitter  stirred
    • Laughing Stalk
      rum, lemongrass, watermelon, lime, Fever Tree tonic  shaken.  I’ve heard many great things about this place. A former colleague of mine advised us to find time to eat and drink at The Grand Tavern
  • The Wine Loft - 32 Laird St, Long Branch, NJ 07740

    Located in Pier Village, The Wine Loft offers wine by the glass or bottle as well as some beautiful custom spirits and libations. Don’t forget the Tapas. Tuna Tataki, Baked Brie, and the famous empanadas from our friend “The Empanada Guy.”

    It’s a lovely space with lovely people.

  • Bar Bella - 101 Crawfords Corner Rd, Holmdel, NJ 07733 At Bellworks

    Now located in the Big Bang Cafe under the string lights, Bar Bella Inverno transports its guests to a cozy, coastal getaway, right in the heart of Bell Works. A relaxed, chic vibe, Bar Bella is the destination for your weekly night out, local entertainment, and beyond! Serving specialty drinks, like our mezcal negroni or Bella Mule, craft beers, and wines with food available at the eateries on The Block.

    Open Wednesday through Saturday 4 to 10pm.


  • Scarborough Fair - 1414 Meetinghouse Rd, Sea Girt, NJ 08750

    Scarborough Fair is one of my favorite places to dine for special occasions. It’s a 19th-century farmhouse with romantic private dining with an upscale menu.

    They have a beautiful wine and cocktail lounge that is stocked with a large assortment of wines. The extensive cocktail menu offers something for every taste.

    Happy Hour Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6pm. Great food at the bar and it’s half off during happy hour.

  • R BAR - 1114 Main St, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    Tasty eats, creative cocktails, indoor and outdoor seating, and very friendly service. One of the most unique food and cocktail menus in the area.  Every meal and cocktail is a pleasant surprise.  Check out  this drink: Happy Idiot – Pueblo Viejo Blanco, Pineapple, Lime, Combier Grapefruit, Celery Bitters, Mediterranean Soda.

    Don’t pass up the opportunity to hit The R Bar on your next visit to Asbury. Live Jazz adds to your eating and drinking experience.



  • 618 - 618 Park Ave, Freehold Township, NJ 07728

    Have you ever had a pistachio martini? I have not, but I’m really into trying one. 618 is the place to grab one according to a few listeners and a few reviews. Plus a specialty zodiac cocktail menu representing the personality of your zodiac sign. Hey Libra, join me for a fabulous cocktail at 618.


  • Mister C's Beach Bistro - Allen Avenue &, Ocean Pl, Allenhurst, NJ 07711

    I’ve had a cocktail or 2 from Mister C’s mixologists. They’re not just your average bartenders, these folks are well prepared to create an amazingly well crafted cocktail especially for you. Their Social Hour happens daily 3 to 6pm, and all day Sunday except in the Summer. Fall arrives soon, so don’t miss out. Oh, and don’t sleep on the Ahi Tuna Nachos.

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