Music is a way of life at Taste Bar & Bistro, especially Thursday through Saturday nights, when the restaurant thumps to the sounds of karaoke, DJ music, or live jazz. But it’s Taste’s thoughtfully prepared pub food that draws crowds even before the musicians take the stage. The menu comprises small plates such as steamed littleneck clams and spicy calamari, as well as heartier entrees that include cheeseburgers and spaghetti and shrimp fra diavolo. Throughout festivities, bartenders mix specialty martinis and pour wines and draft beers that enliven dinner time or can be used to paint a smiley face on one’s shirt during happy hour.
Winner of the JerseyArts.com 2009 People's Choice Award for favorite Professional Theater, Paper Mill Playhouse has been opening the curtain on top-quality musical theater and plays since its debut in 1938. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a Tony Award-winning musical comedy, follows the travails of a group of young students participating in their countywide spell off. With hilarious tunes and frequent fourth wall demolition, the musical expertly tickles audience funny femurs while filling their ears with the harmonious euphony of the Tony-nominated score. Groupon buyers will leave the theater with a Paper Mill Playhouse cup (a $5 value), allowing patrons of the arts to signal their theater affiliation to rival gangs of symphony and museum cup holders.
When Eugene Gillespie left Ireland to visit his brother in New York in 1972, he didn't know that he would be inspired to stay. The Irish economy was down, so Eugene decided to pursue the American dream by moving to the Mid-Atlantic region. He didn't leave Ireland entirely behind him though, and Eugene proceeded to spend the next several decades opening traditional Irish pubs and restaurants throughout New York and New Jersey.
With two locations, Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub demonstrates a commitment to the flavors of Ireland. The menus feature familiar comfort foods—certified Angus burgers and thin-crust pizzas—including a number of Irish favorites, such as beer-battered fish and chips and stews filled with Guinness-braised beef. To achieve an even more authentic taste, the chefs occasionally import ingredients such as Irish cheddar cheese, Irish sausages, and Irish rainbows.
The menu's iconic dishes contribute to the pubs' cozy, inviting ambiance almost as much as accents such as the stone fireplaces or the bar made of imported red mahogany. Spirits remain lively and the mood stays festive thanks to the live entertainment hosted throughout the week. Live bands perform contemporary hits as well as traditional Irish songs.
With its dining room, pub with live music on weekends, seasonal patio, and two private banquet rooms, Rolf's Restaurant offers patrons multiple ways to enjoy a meal or grab drinks within the same space. Private banquet rooms include the Sun Room, with airy windows that let light flood in and keep pet cacti happy while diners relax at four-seat linen-clad tables, and the Warren Room, where purple chairs, matching walls, and regal curtains glow in the light of chandeliers whose shapes mimic flower petals.
The restaurant’s aesthetic elegance extends to the menu, which has enjoyed a rebirth thanks to a new executive chef, Glenn Arnold. A Rolf’s veteran for nearly a decade, Arnold left the establishment to hone his gourmet talents at The Culinary Institute of America. With his victorious return, the chef adds a new twist to old standbys and devises new items for the menu while endlessly looping "Eye of the Tiger" over the kitchen speakers. Diners can now savor a selection that ranges from traditional German specialties such as kasespaetzle, jagerschnitzel und pommes, and sauerbraten to more casual fare, such as gourmet sandwiches and pizzas.
The rich scent of real hickory, apple, cherry, and oak wood drifts from low smoldering fires, infusing the racks of meat above with flavor in a Southern Pride smoker. Drawing inspiration from all over the south, SuzyQue’s BBQ & Bar’s cooks apply spicy dry rubs to every ounce of meat before slow-smoking them, then diners can either enjoy it au-natural or slather plates with one of their signature sauces. Their sauces are inspired by recipes from Texas, North Carolina, and St. Louis and built upon a Vinegar, Tomato, or Molasses base. They also whip up an Orange Habanero sauce full of peppery spice.
The resulting mountains of melt-off-the-bone ribs, smoked wings, sausage, and brisket come to table alongside fine dining entrees, including rib-eye steak, fried chicken, and grilled salmon. Eight on-tap and 18 bottled beers lodge at the full bar, along with glasses of craft cocktails and wine, preparing palates for dessert and punctuating the sound of live bands, comedians, and poker games.
At fully stocked facilities, Mix 'em Up Bartending School's TIPS-certified instructors ready students for a career mixing drinks in a nightclub setting. Real taps, sinks, and machinery offer each pupil hands-on training, all overseen by potable professionals boasting the experience and chiseled biceps acquired during a minimum of seven years manning the taps. Music and disco lights foster a true-to-life atmosphere aimed at granting graduates the confidence needed to work in real bar conditions. Showing a commitment to helping all types of students succeed, Mix 'em Up pours out its curriculum in both full- and part-time classes and encourages graduates to take advantage of lifetime access to job-placement databases.