After hearing so many good things about The Avenue in Egg Harbor City, I decided it was time to make a visit.
I must say the accolades did not do it justice. The exterior is old school and inviting and, once through the door, the ambiance is comfortable. Although it’s not a large space, it is efficiently set up with tables and chairs outside the bar area. A wrap-around bar seats maybe around 20 people with a standing-room shelf on the back wall and a comfortable seating area in the front window.
The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable and will allow you to taste from the 10 taps. But no fizzy domestics here — those 10 are heavy on New Jersey and regional brews. You can’t even find a bottle of Bud Light anywhere in this place! Enjoy a flight of four of the beers to get a taste of new beers or favorites. Speaking of bottles, they have an extensive list of import and national beers in glass. I was impressed!
A nice selection of whiskies and wines also adds to the appeal of this venue.
But what about the food, you ask? Well, I was also impressed with their small but innovative choices to accompany your drink selection. An esoteric menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and a smattering of entrees, gives it that gourmet feel.
No simple burgers and fries on this menu! On top of that, everything is homemade on the premises so you can’t find fresher anywhere. They make their own bread, pickles, mayonnaise, fried potatoes.
It has grown into a local favorite with the regulars visiting several times a week and meeting up with friends for a drink and a bite to eat. I certainly wish it were closer to me, but maybe that’s a good thing too. Be sure to stop in and give it a try.
On May 14, I will be co-hosting an Ommegang beer dinner at Sandi Pointe Bistro in Somers Point as a fundraiser for the Somers Point Jazz Society. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception serving beer-battered Cape May salt oysters paired with the Witte, a Belgian-style white beer. At 7:15, dinner is served beginning with steamed Gulf shrimp and P.E.I. mussels, sweet pepper grits and saffron broth accompanied by Rare Vos, an amber ale. Next up is a (Hop) house salad with frizze, caramelized pecans, Saga cheese and strawberries with honey-infused balsamic vinaigrette served with Hop House, a Belgian-style pale ale. A pan-seared bone-in pork chop topped with sauteed wild mushrooms and Emmenthaler cheese, Hennepin boiled potato and broccoli rabe paired with Hennepin, a saison style, is the entrée. For dessert, there is a chocolate stout cheesecake with a pretzel walnut crust served with Abbey Ale, a sweet Belgian-style dubbel.
Tickets are $70 inclusive but can be discounted by showing your Cape Bank Jazz @ The Point all event pass* for $60, or any other festival ticket, $65. Call 609-927-2300 for reservations. Hope to see you there.
At Glasstown Brewing in Millville, an expansion of sorts has already happened. They have upgraded to a locally-sourced fully automatic 1-barrel system which will allow them to increase production. Plans for further expansion are already in the works and should see fruition within the year. Best of luck to them!
Up in Mount Holly, progress is being made on NJ’s newest brewery, Spellbound Brewing. Equipment is beginning to arrive after the building renovation was completed. They expect to be brewing in June.
Other breweries are also moving forward: Forgotten Boardwalk in Cherry Hill, Little Dog and East Coast Beer Co. in Belmar and Lower Forge in Medford.
Support your locals!
May 9: The Continental Dogfish Head Beer Dinner, The Continental Atlantic City beginning 7 p.m. Tickets are $65 and dinner features four courses of new American cuisine paired with Dogfish Head Brewing Co. beers. Go to ContinentalAC.com.
May 10: Garden State Brewfest, Mount Carmel Fairgrounds, Berkeley Heights, 1 to 3 p.m. VIP($110) includes food for general admission($60) begins at 3 p.m. Go to GardenStateBrewFest.com for info and tickets
May 31: Sea Isle City Craft Beer and Rock Fest, 63rd & Landis Ave, 2 p.m. VIP($55), 3 to 7 p.m. ($35) general admission, discount prices end May 1. Go to SeaIsleChamber.com for info.
Mark Haynie is a craft-beer expert who lives in Somers Point and travels extensively to find new beers. He is a contributor to the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and is the co-author of the book New Jersey Breweries with Lew Bryson. His column runs every other week.