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The Old Bay
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
61-63 Church Street
phone: (732) 246-3111
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Reviews by jwc215:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This is the place to be if you like craft beer on-tap. When I went there last night, there were 18 beers on-tap (and one cider). No macros - 6 were European, the others micros. It included some real goodies, such as La Gnomette, Smuttynose Wheat Wine, Victory Harvest Pils, and Weyerbacher Simcoe Double IPA.
The bottle selection was not as good, but still decent - including a line of Samuel Smith and a few nice Belgians.
When my friends and I entered, we were greeted by a bartender who immediately gave us a beer list, which included descriptions of each beer.
The atmosphere is nice. It has a well-lit, festive Mardi-Gras decor. Looks French Quarter. There are several floors and a small out-door area.
I haven't had the food there in awhile, so I won't comment on it, but will check back when I go there again.
It's well-worth the trip if you are in Central NJ and looking for a nice variety of tap beers.
11-12-2006 00:19:41 |
More by jwc215
More User Reviews:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Old Bay has been a part of my stomping grounds since it became legal for me to walk in. The menu has a southern style/ New Orleans theme to it, but the rest of the place really doesnt reflect that much. The food is very good. I especially enjoy the alligator balls. The kitchen serves until 11 pm too, so don't be afraid to stop in for late night eats.
What first attracted me here were the weeknight specials. Monday and Tuesday have their own stories but my nights were Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday was once $2 pint night of anything on tap. Its now $3 pints, but still a pretty good way to try new things when you consider the 23 regularly rotated taps behind the bar. Thursdays are as good or better, depending on your perspective. A $2 dollar cover is a small price to pay for half price everything. All the taps and throw in a bottle selection on the small side, leaves plenty of options.
The downsides- unnecessary/bad djs and bands, crowds and a terrible setup in a relatively small space. The DJs are nothing special and with the size of the place, the music is always too loud. Its not like there is even a dance floor inside. Again, a small space does not lend itself to accommodating crowds trying to get to the single bar. The space between the bar and wall might as well be a movie theater isle. If you can get around these things, and for $3 pints, I sure can, Old Bay can be a pretty enjoyable experience.
10-12-2010 01:09:53 |
More by iwanturgrlfrnd
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$$
Located in New Brunswick NJ across the street from the Hyatt. The bar area is a bit larger than what is was in the past and gets quite crowed during happy hour and on the weekend. There are some outside tables that are located under a canopy which is nice but somewhat loud with the street traffic right there. 2 floors of tables for sit down dining. Bright purple walls and plenty of Mardi Gras mask pictures adorn the walls.
The beer selection is nowhere close to what they had in the 90's. They used to offer some more unique and harder to get brews, but now it is loaded with beers you can find in any restaurant with a few taps that have some average micros. I think they are trying to attract the college crowd instead of being a leader. The only interesting beers were Rogue Dry Hopped Red and Hennepin. The bottle selection is much smaller than years ago and very average. When beers like Stella, Yuengling, Guinness, Hoegaarden, and Smithwicks pack the tap beer menu I know the glory days are over.
The food was overpriced and was pretty average in the flavor department. Old time classics I used to enjoy like crawfish etouffe now have plenty of rice filler with few crawfish. The gumbo was pretty thin and runny. Jambalaya had very little andouille and chicken, mostly pepper and onions in big slices.
There are plenty of good restaurants in New Brunswick so eat elsewhere. You may find a few beers to enjoy but I would recommend the Harvest Moon around the block as a better choice. This place will always be in my memory for being the place to go for unique and constantly changing beers, but no more.
05-06-2009 12:27:56 |
More by Gavage
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
I've been here twice now and I've enjoyed it both times. The beer selection is good, they always have something new and usually limited on tap. I have not been there on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night so I'm not sure what it's like then. I imagine it gets crazy. The wait staff and bar tenders are friendly, helpful and willing to chat assuming it's not packed. Happy hour white collar crowd.
The food is ok, we did the "sharing plates" recently. They weren't bad but they were more or less appetizers. The food was ok but not great considering the price. 4 of those sharing plates, and a pint for the two of us came near 60 with a tip. The beer is priced reasonably the food is a little higher, but it comes with the location I think.
03-11-2009 11:54:20 |
More by magnj
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Old Bay certainly has a good selection and it rotates often. This was, in fact, where my taste for craft beer really developed. The best part, though is the atomsphere. It probably has the best atomosphere of any bar I've been in... Sure, it can get crowded and loud, but I mean come on, its Rutgers. Its also a pretty big place, so even when its crowded it doesn't have to be cramped. I ate there once (baked chicken and stuffed bree, back when I ate meat) and it was very tasty. Back to the beers though, its also really nice that most draught beers (and there are many) are half price on thursdays!
11-27-2008 05:22:24 |
More by BirdFlu
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Was recently on business in New Jersey and headed to this watering hole for a couple of pints with co-workers. On a busy corner in New Brunswick this bar is located near some colleges and is filled with students. It does not have a college dive bar atmosphere but I can see it getting a bit immature if you know what I mean. There was a parking garage right around the corner that was convenient.
A bit tight around the bar. Wierd set-up. But it seemed to work.
The beer selection was decent and featured some local brews from the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. The beer tasted fresh so I didn't detect any issues with cleaning the tap lines.
Wait staff was moderately helpful and attentive.
Did not try the food.
If I'm in the area I'll try it again.
10-12-2008 13:56:55 |
More by Reagan1984
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Went here on a Saturday night. There was a live band playing (jam band genre), $4 cover. Mostly 21-40age crowd I can see this place getting very crowded, but it is spaced out with an upstairs section and outside area. As far as the beer, some that stood out were: Founders Red Rye, Dogfish 60min, victory hop devil, chimay, and sixpoint rye all on tap. I had the sixpoint and founders, both around $4.75 each for a pint. Overall excellent tap and bottle selection for New Brunswick. I would def check it out, went to stuff yer face the same night, and this place def is way better as far as selection
08-04-2008 12:52:27 |
More by bonbini26
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Just realized- how the hell have I not reviewed this place. I think this is a real hidden gem that I am at virtually weekly.
Atmosphere is solid with a few good tvs to catch a game but it can get a little crowded late on weekends if there's a band. The clientelle has a lot of BMC drinkers but a lot that are open to trying out some of the crafts on tap.
They would do a great thing, hint hint Harvest moon as well, by ditching the dj thing and making use of their great beers.
The beer taps are always always on rotation and have a remarkable variety each and every visit.
Being a regular, Im a huge fan of the service. They admittedly dont know the most about the beers but will usually let you sample what you need. They treat you well and let you test a few and give some recommendations while admitting not to be experts.
Selection is flat out awesome for the location and the taps are ALWAYS rotating. I go each week and am always in for a good surprise- they have a lot of stuff that is atypical and rare including Victory, Weyerbacher, Troegs hard to finds among many many others. Latest trip had Brooklyn Extra Brune and Aprihop. Bottle menu has all the necessary belgians as well as some Rogue, Stone, Oskar Blues.
Food is not my style, but the snacks you can get at the bar are upscale and pretty darn good. New Orleans style food. Bananas foster is very good.
The prices are relatively steep but you pay for good craft beers. The food is also a bit upscale but they do offer specials during the week that can bring cost down. Otherwise, I feel its worth what they offer.
Highest of recommendations for both locals and for those visiting the NB area.
04-04-2008 23:12:28 |
More by marcpal
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
The atmosphere shifts depending upon the day of the week and time of the day. Earlier in the day its a great place for Cajun styled food. Later at night it turns into more of a college bar and often features a DJ and at times a band. I could do without the DJ who can make it difficult to hold a conversation. The even feature a heated outdoor patio that makes it near bearable to endure the outdoors in the dead of winter.
Quality of the food and beer is top notch.
Service is not the greatest due in part to the larger crowds in the evening, but in my visits the food was often slow to come out. The staff is not very knowledgeable about the beer they serve.
Selection is great for the area and they have 18 taps without the typical BMC domestic swill. Still some are taken up by uninspiring imports such as Guinness and others. Last visit they had Flying Fish Espresso Porter, Sierra Nevada ESB, Smuttynose Very Old Brown Dog, Hairy Eyeball and several others of interest. Smashing selection for a college bar. Bottled selection is pretty good including Chimay, Rogue and others.
Food is great, but the portions could be larger or the prices less. I like the unique and out of place spin on Cajun cuisine in a NJ restaurant.
Value is difficult to determine. Drink specials can be great with $2 drafts on Wednesday (excluding certain beers from time to time), and half price on Thursday. Food is overpriced a little in my opinion, but this is a website for beer so I rated accordingly. Highly recommended and just around the corner from the Harvest Moon Brewpub, which can make for a great evening.
01-31-2008 14:43:28 |
More by Jmamay22
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Being a former Rutgers of New Brunswick undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to sample this joint once while on campus... located on Church Street, which is pretty much in the center of this bustling college town, this was a place that was frequented by young and old alike, with many younger college kids enjoying the place as well as some of the older regulars and local businessmen who worked in the nearby vicinity... Atmosphere was very down-to-earth and casual with a nice hometown feel... The quality of the food was great, good choices to choose from and something for everyone... The service was really exceptional, our waitress was really friendly and attentive, kept checking up on me and my friends to make sure everything was alright and had a pretty good hold on the menu items and what drinks were available... food was great and the value was pretty reasonable... Recommended if you're in the area...
12-26-2007 13:47:02 |
More by dsa7783
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The Old Bay in New Brunswick, NJ