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.
The walls of Bhakti Barn Yoga bloom with poppy-red and robin's-egg blue, reflecting nature's outer beauty in a space teeming with natural light. Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom, dances above yogis in a vibrant mural, waving his arms in encouragement as students stretch theirs skyward to slap him a high-five. Experienced instructors guide students of all levels through meditative Kundalini routines and flowing Vinyasa sequences. Cores grow during Bhakti Basics sessions, which teem with fundamental poses, deep-breathing exercises, and alignment pointers. To promote community and keep stress at bay, teachers pepper classes with calming tea breaks.
Being a successful stand-up comedian takes more than just being funny or hypnotizing your audience into laughing. It is an art that must be learned and practice. During stand-up classes at The Comedy Cove At Scotty's, seasoned comics teach amateurs to find their individual voices, structure a set, and improvise material. The club's new-talent nights grant up-and-comers a space to work on performing in front of a live audience, and each class's best student receives the opportunity to open for a professional comedian's weekend show. The Comedy Cove reserves its Friday and Saturday slots for touring acts whose credits include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Show with David Letterman.
Downstairs from the club, the times are no less merry at Scotty's Steak House. Here, the menu ranges from steakhouse classics—such as 20-ounce rib eyes—to pub-style options—including disco fries. To complement feasts, bartenders serve brews and mixed drinks indoors and at the tiki bar on Scotty's outdoor patio.
From the passenger seats of two 2012 Toyota Corollas, Access2Drive Driving School's English- and Spanish-speaking instructors dispense valuable advice about every aspect of four-wheeled transportation. During hands-on lessons, students of all ages take the wheel to practice parallel parking and find a parking space that's not in the middle of a monster-truck arena. Students satisfy the state's pre-licensing mandate with five-hour courses that span topics such as driving within the transportation system and developing appropriate habits and skills. Those who enroll in the school's defensive-driving course get 10% off on any insurance purchased in New York for a period of three years.
Should a large-scale alien invasion start snatching up people and businesses with tractor beams, No Body Denied Training Zone would be in no danger of floating away. Approximately 25,000 lbs. of free weights keep the 10,000 square feet of training space rooted. The weighty array makes for well-rounded workouts when combined with a jog on the sprint track. While the gym allows for self-guided workouts, exercisers aren't left to sweat on their own. In addition to offering personal training, the fitness instructors lead more than 80 group fitness classes each week, including cycling and yoga. They even teach classes specifically designed for athletes and kids, who most scientists agree will one day turn into adults.
BAM Social Sports assembles co-ed teams of athletes aged 21 and older for regular battle in recreational games throughout northern and central New Jersey. The network's friendship-fueled leagues span a wide range of sports, including basketball, soccer, softball, and bowling, and excluding hamster racing. After games, players can retire to local sponsor bars, where discounts on food and drink help celebrate victories or fuel mournful food fights.