Long Beach Island is best known as a seaside mecca for the throngs of tourists who flood the region in the summer months each year. And while it’s true that the island seems to rise from the dead each Memorial Day, the bigger truth is that, come autumn, it’s not just a bunch of shuttered beach supply stores and fudge shops. The fun is still here, you just need to know where to find it. Below are a few great bars that keep the party rolling on LBI all year long.
1.Port Hole Café
Very much an LBI locals’ bar, Port Hole Café gives off the vibe that just about everyone in the place is a regular. But that doesn’t mean the crowd is unwelcoming — quite the opposite, as the good cheer extends to all patrons who come through the door. The beers here are paired perfectly with its world-class roast beef sandwich — an item that has reached true legendary status among the locals on this barrier island, a group of loyal devotees who simply wouldn’t stand for these sandwiches being served in the summer only. Port Hole Café is at 1620 Long Beach Blvd. in Ship Bottom. Call 609-494-4242.
2. Nardi’s Tavern
The key to Nardi’s has always been its ability to be all things to all people at all times. Need a place to buy package goods? Go to Nardi’s. Need a place that’s open year-round? Go to Nardi’s. Need a place that will pick you up and drive you home? Go to Nardi’s. Yeah, that last one is no misprint — Nardi’s has been shuttling patrons from all over the island to and from the establishment via its giant pink bus for as long as anyone can remember. Now that is a place that wants and deserves your business. Nardi’s is at 11801 Long Beach Blvd. in Long Beach Township. Call 609-492-9538 or go to NardisTavern.com.
3. Delaware Avenue Oyster House
When Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012, Steve Eisenburg helplessly watched it destroy the candy store that he and his wife owned next door to their flagship restaurant, Terrace Tavern. But clearly preferring to make lemonade from the lemons, three years and a lot of sweat later, Delaware Avenue Oyster House was born where the sweets shop once lived. A small but gorgeous oyster bar serving some of the finest seafood on LBI, Eisenburg chose to run this as his only year-round restaurant on the island. Delaware Avenue Oyster House is at 13211 Long Beach Blvd. in Beach Haven.
Call 609-492-3352 or go to DelawareAveOysterHouse.com.
4. The Gateway
Sitting at the foot of the bridge that takes folks to and from Route 72 and essentially marks the beginning and end of any trip to LBI — The Gateway offers itself up as both a welcoming committee for those on their way in and a last goodbye to those heading back to the grind. The space is large — large enough to house a full stage where live bands are featured regularly, as well as a dimly lit bar with a nice mix of beers and well-made cocktails. Tourists are welcome, of course, but The Gateway lives here year-round, and is proud to cater to folks who make LBI more than just a weeklong stop. The Gateway is at 227 W. 8th St. in Ship Bottom. Call 609-494-2816 or go to GatewayLBI.com.
5. Dutchman’s Brauhaus
The Dutchman — as the locals call it — is one of those places that has been here forever and, with any luck, will be here forever. It’s the rarest gem — a place that both your grandparents and your college buddies will get a kick out of visiting and where somehow neither will look out of place. Open Thursdays through Mondays in the off-season, the waterfront location of the Dutchman adds to its visual appeal while providing a great option for boaters, who regularly dock their vessels right outside. Do yourself a favor and step in for a few pints of one of the rare German beers that are on tap here year-round. Dutchman’s Brauhaus is at 2500 E. Bay Ave. in Manahawkin. Call 609-494-6910 or go to TheDutchmans.com.