A lot of people get depressed about the fall. It seems for many the simple fact that it is no longer summer requires some sort of grieving period. Not me. I welcome the cool, crisp air, the spooky vibes of Halloween and, of course, the return of pro football to my weekly routine. I’m a lifelong Giants fan. Yeah that’s right —a Giants fan. I may write for a South Jersey paper, but I grew up in North Jersey. Surely you remember the Giants — they are that team that always wins the Super Bowl (an alien concept to those who root for the Eagles, I know).

So, I was delighted to see that one of my favorite local bars was planning to show the Giants opening game on an 18-foot screen that can be viewed from their outdoor patio. They even offered the option of bringing your own lawn chairs to set up in the parking lot tailgate style. The big screen isn’t permanent, but makes more than a few appearances throughout football season at this particular spot. What was even better? The bar owner is a Giants fan too.

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The bar in question is Tailgaters — a sports bar in Galloway that knows how to make watching the game a great experience, even if your team loses.

How? Well, let’s start with the beer selection. Tailgaters offers a myriad of taps, pouring everything from local microbrews to the big names. Beer goes with football, and they have something for everyone seeking out suds. I ordered a Garden State Blue Jersey, an excellent blonde-colored wheat ale flavored with a hint of Jersey blueberries. I was a bit disappointed to not see a pumpkin beer on the menu yet, as they are generally my “go-to” fall beverage, but the Garden State Blue Jersey was a fine substitute. I had my dad along for the ride, and he went with a Sam Adams Octoberfest, a classic malty fall brew with notes of caramel.

On this particular night we were seated on the patio, but if weather does not cooperate, the indoor area at Tailgaters makes for a great time, as well. The large floating bar is manned by some of the friendliest bartenders around, and the vibe is always welcoming. They make you want to come back again and again.

Without question, one of the strongest suits at Tailgaters is their food. A few years back I had publically complained in an article I wrote that no restaurant in South Jersey seemed to be able to properly cook a medium rare hamburger. My claim was publically challenged on Facebook by Tailgaters owner Ari Frangias, who invited me to come down and order one at his restaurant. I did, and to my surprise he was right — the burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was utterly delicious. It has since become my favorite local burger spot. On this visit, I ordered the American classic, a simple burger served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and American cheese. I added bacon, raw onion and a bit of mayo to it in order to create my ultimate “Pub Scout Burger.” Maybe they will add this version to the menu someday in my honor (hey, a guy can dream right?).

In addition to burgers, the menu here is massive, with a long list of classic pub grub options, as well as a special big screen night menu which offered a variety of specials on items like buffalo wings, sliders, pizza and hot dogs — each served in large buckets meant for no fewer than two people.

We ordered some wings and their buffalo chicken dip, both of which were just spicy enough and packed with flavor.

Sadly, as the night wore on it became clear that the Giants were not going to win this time, so we decided to pack it in for the night. While I never enjoy watching my team lose, I always enjoy a night out at Tailgaters. It’s worth the trip every time.

Merit badge earned.

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