This weekend adventure was Asbury Park! Josh and Amy got us up bright and early for breakfast at Bryans Luncheonette. We were trying to beat the church crowd since Bryans was a very small breakfast joint. Everyone got a seat at the counter before the place was overflowing with people waiting. It was old school cheap grill food. I think all four of us ate for $25. Really hearty and filling. Perfect setting for our day, but terrible plan for the semi-long ride ahead of us.
We headed down to Asbury, probably a good two hour ride or so away. Our next stop was the Asbury Lanes for their garage sale and record swap. We needed to kill about an hour before we landed at the Watermark to meet the owner, Russel. The Lanes was overflowing with milk crates of records, VHS and buttons. It was clearly too much for me to handle, so I parked myself at the bar. Again, before the crowd figured out the bar was open. We had a good time chuckling with the staff and patrons, then headed out to the car.
The Watermark wasn’t very far… or there just wasn’t very much in between. It still feels like the old Asbury I remember. The abandoned ghetto feeling is still very much there, but it could have just been that it’s still winter. The entrance to the Watermark directly faces the Empress Hotel and there seemed to be plenty of parking (although it was all metered).
The hallway leading up to the second floor reminded me of the Dark Horse in Morristown. Only leading up instead of down. It was dark and concrete. Up at the top was the host stand and coat check, which was unattended since it wasn’t very busy. The view is amazing. The place was a little smaller then what I imagined, but it was in no way tiny. We ventured to find the restrooms right away. I held out since I knew they’d be nicer then at the lanes. Nothing incredibly shocking or amazing… except that Amy picked a stall without TP.
We took a quick lap around and headed back to the bar where we found our barmaid, Laney. I’m going to have to double check with Amy, since she took all of her information. As it turns out, our tattoo’d lovely primarily bartends at the Lanes. She was adorable and friendly, we liked her a lot. I think she was the make or break. We spotted Russell buzzing around in his gray sweater vest, but he didn’t approach us. I asked Laney if he was Russell, the owner, and she said that she’d send him over. Still nothing from Russell as we sipped our drinks. Which, btw, needs some addressing. The drink bible overwhelmed me. All of the spirits seemed to be infused in house. Strawberry or jalapeno infused tequila, pineapple rum, pear or apple vodka. The mixes are a lot to look through, and all peaked my interest. Brett’s scotch interest apparently was also peaked, as he successfully picked out the $23 Japanese 18yr old single malt. Oops! Apparently it was well worth it, and it was super awesome of our bartender to tell me about it when no one was around.
Back to Russell… well, he was a busy little bee. Apparently, two other couples had just happened to walk in to inquire about weddings. So much for us doing something new. But whatever, I don’t really care that much… What was off-putting was that Russell couldn’t stay focused. There was always something he had to excuse himself for. Now, I get it, running a bar is fast paced and distracting. Even still, I just wanted to get some of the important things out of the way. I still have unanswered questions. I think he saw that we were chill and he just wants us to come back and see him again. He really liked Josh the best of all of us. We may just need to get him back out there with less clothes.