Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tour de Shore for Two

On Saturday, Housemate Chris and I toured Avalon and Stone Harbor from a more breezy point of view: bikes. Our stops were marked by where we could grab a drink.

Before I get into this post, I would like to say that if you are under 21 years old, doing this is not only illegal but stupid. And shore bouncers have little patience for underage kids and/or fake IDs. So you're warned. Chris and I are well above the legal limit.

Riding right along, then: Our first stop was the Harbor Pub (261 96th Street, Stone Harbor, 609-368-8800). It's had a few names since I've been coming down the shore, including PJ Ryan's, which is what I remember it as. A few years ago, my mom and I had dinner there, and I can't see that much has changed. It's a local spot that serves good bar food, and bumps at night. The downstairs bar has a decent selection of brews, too -- can you really go wrong if you've got Blue Moon on tap? I didn't think the bartender had to ask if I wanted an orange slice, though. With Blue Moon, that should be assumed.

Then it was onto Fred's Tavern (314 96th Street, Stone Harbor, 609-368-5591), the spot Chris was looking forward to most because of the jukebox. Unfortunately, golf was on, as was the television volume, and neither one of us wanted to step in and tick off the crowd in favor of good music. It was pretty packed for a late afternoon, and most people sitting around the square bar seemed like regulars. It's a dark spot, too, and it was easy to forget that it was still daytime when we stepped out of the bar. Thank goodness I had my sunglasses.

Back on the bikes we went to the Windrift (125 80th Street, Avalon, 609-368-5175). I've been here before, once on a Sunday night when the inside bar was packed by 8 p.m. It was much earlier this evening, but the upstairs, outdoor bar area was jumping. The crowd was mixed -- people taking in an early dinner, or stopping in for a drink right off the beach. I still want to go back on a Tuesday night for wing night, which I heard is a sight, not just for the wings, but for the throngs of people who partake.

That was our last stop before heading into Avalon proper, or Avalon that's closer to the shore house we're part of. We made a quick stop at the Rockin' Chair (
2409 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-3300), which has excellent Quizzo on Sunday nights. But the downstairs area seemed a bit too formal for two people who'd been riding their bikes all over the island in the middle of the afternoon, so we zipped over to Circle Tavern, which is part of the recently renovated Princeton (21st Street and Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-3456).

I'll have a lot more to say about the Princeton in another post, but it's almost like a throwback to a college bar. Everyone starts drinking somewhere else, and ends up paying a very high cover to get in here (usually around 11 p.m.) because that's where everyone else is going. But in the evening, the Circle Tavern is a surprisingly good restaurant. I noshed on the creamy mac and cheese. Chris finally found a juke box. I'll forgive him for playing a ridiculously long Iron Maiden song because I got to play a Guster tune ("Barrel of a Gun," if you're curious).

That was the last stop on our tour of the Seven Mile Island, though Chris was good enough to cap off the evening by trying to pop a wheelie on the 21st Street Bridge. And falling spectacularly.

Apparently, Chris and I may have jumped the gun. Sunday, August 19 is the "Tour de Shore," which is essentially the same thing we did, but it starts at the Princeton at noon and involves a heck of a lot more people. Oh, and you dress in costume. Yes, our house does have a theme picked out, and, no, I'm not going to give it away yet. But I'll probably be resting up all week to prep for another bike tour of the shore.

What I'm Listening to: If You Want Blood by matt pond PA.

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