If you like comeback stories, all you need to do is visit Asbury Park. This shore town, now affectionately known as the South Beach of the Jersey Shore, has seen quite a change in the last few years. With a brand-new hotel, restaurants and things to do, Asbury Park is becoming a hot destination and a darling of the travel media.
WHERE TO STAY
The Asbury Hotel
Located one block from the beach, The Asbury is a brand-new luxury boutique hotel. Beautiful views of the ocean can be seen from the 110 king, suite and group rooms, which can accommodate up to eight beds. The Asbury Hotel offers 4,800 square feet with a projection monitor for meetings and events of 450 guests. With a pool, free Wi-Fi, parking, a movie theater on the grass rooftop and Salvation Lounge located on the other rooftop, there is no shortage of things to do. “We designed and created The Asbury to be a very fun environment. This hotel celebrates the gritty, authentic nature of Asbury Park,” says owner David Bowd.
The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel
The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel has been around the Asbury Park community for over 100 years and the historic charm still resonates. Nestled along the shoreline, this premium hotel has all of the amenities from private cabanas to a restaurant and bar conveniently located in the hotel. Five ballrooms are located on the grounds that can hold up to 300 guests.
Hotel Tides, also known by guests as a “piece of Miami Beach,” has recently undergone modernization. Open since 1886, Hotel Tides has 20 rooms, pool, bar, spa and a rotating art gallery in the lobby. The Restaurant at the Tides is open year round and was named “Best Restaurant in NJ 2015” by Odyssey Magazine. Located three and a half blocks from the beach, this modernized building is perfect for smaller gatherings with private event spaces holding up to 100 guests.
WHAT TO DO
Hot Sand is a glass-blowing studio, but no experience is necessary to participate in any of the glass-blowing and mold-making activities. Call ahead to plan a corporate or social gathering of up to 60 people. “We have groups of all types visit,” says Albert Dorsey, manager. “We offer a place for people to enjoy time with their friends in a relaxed atmosphere while also having the opportunity to make beautiful glass creations.”
House of Independents
House of Independents is igniting a cultural spark. “It’s a great artistic sandbox,” says executive director and partner Adam Nelson. Head downtown to this unique spot to see everything from historic Golden Glove Boxing to legendary musical acts. The smaller venue holds up to 500 for a more intimate feel and can also be rented for private events. House of Independents serves beer from the local brewery and creative cocktails mixed with gourmet food pairings.
Unique to Asbury Park is a father-and-son shop that designs and makes custom-made jeans and aprons. For the past five years, Sweet Joey’s has designed all types of jeans from everyday wear to fashion and business casual. Their aprons are often seen throughout local businesses downtown. “Our shop has a vintage, Americana vibe with a little rock-and-roll, too,” says Joey Pisch, owner. The shop is located downtown and is a fun excursion for those seeking something to do in their downtime.
WHERE TO EAT
If Italian is on the mind, head down to Porta, where Naples-style pizza and mouthwatering antipasto is waiting. Big tables pack the restaurant to ensure the family-style, laid-back feel Two private rooms are available: The Monk Room, which accommodates 50 seated and 80 standing, and The Abbot Room, with seating for 125 and cocktail-style for 200. “Porta is a great place for groups because of its communal dining tables and block party vibe,” says Mark Hinchcliffe of SMITH, the restaurant design group that owns Porta.
Tim McLoone’s Supper Club
Head down to the famous Asbury Park boardwalk to get dinner and live entertainment at Clockwise from above: Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel’s lobby is dramatic; enjoy peace and quiet at Hotel Tides; Sweet Joey’s custom denim aprons are a fun souvenir. Tim McLoone’s Supper Club. Located right above McLoone’s Asbury Grille, this unique space has a gorgeous view of the ocean, but also provides some of the best entertainment in Asbury Park. Many guests savor the crab cakes on an extensive menu that also includes desserts made by the in-house pastry chef. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the warm, rustic atmosphere can guarantee a fantastic private event of up to 160 seated and 135 buffet.
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten
A part of Munich is now in Asbury Park with the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten. “We are a completely different concept, and we really make everyone feel a part of the community here,” says Jennifer Lampert, owner. The 6,000-square-foot indoor hall and 9,000-square-foot rooftop space hosts all types of events and serves large parties upwards of 750 people when the roof is open. The beer menu includes 80 percent imported beers and 20 percent American craft beers.
ASBURY PARK BY THE NUMBERS
15,000 attend annual oysterfest
1893 became a city
No. 10 best places to travel in 2016
$5/$7 daily beach passes
11/2 hour by train to NYC