Porta is proof positive that down and out can be turned completely upside down. This uber-hip Neapolitan pizzeria occupies a formerly vacant building in Asbury Park and the transformation from humdrum to humming is dramatic. With room for dancing and private event space, this place isn’t your average pizzeria. And the Vermont Laundry is just the drink to get you moving.
The Peacock Inn offers that rare combination of a thoroughly modern look with a whisper of the past. Drop in for a drink at the seductive bar or pop in early before reservations at the award-winning restaurant across the hall. Either way, you’ll be in good company; F. Scott Fitzgerald and others used to imbibe here back when it was a speak-easy.
Step inside Chakra to a sexy, stylish setting. Handcarved Cambodian reliefs are set within walls crafted of 120-year-old textured bricks, and an eclectic New American menu keeps taste buds guessing. Located in Paramus, Chakra celebrated its 10th anniversary in April 2014. Chakra also welcomes private events for groups from two to 250.
—1 oz. Four Roses Bourbon
—1 oz. Bols Pumpkin Smash
—.5 oz. pear puree
—.5 oz. house-infused spiced vermouth*
—1 dash lemon juice
—4 pods green cardamom
—1 dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
The legendary Ryland Inn has always been a destination restaurant, but with its reopening two years ago, it’s not just the kitchen that’s shaking things up anymore. Patrons travel long distances to sample the cuisine and cocktails, thanks to mixologist Chris James. James, who is something of a celebrity in his own right, won New Jersey’s Iron Shaker (or best bartender) contest late last year. Here, he whets our appetite for spring with a taste of the French Riviera.