Where I Was
The Rum Runner, Sea Bright, NJ
Tuesday, March 27, 4:24 p.m.
Where I Sat
The bar at the Rum Runner is absolutely stunning. I took my spot at the far end, the side lining the water, like a cat in the sun, happily absorbing every ray of vitamin D.
Who Served Me
Mark, who’s super friendly. He’s been with the Rum Runner about two years now and leads the creation of the cocktail menu, making his own infused simple syrups along with interesting and thoughtful cocktails. He works most nights (except Mondays) so be sure to get down there and say hi before busy season really hits come May!
Bartender’s Favorite Bite
“The pork chop,” Mark says. “It’s just so good and comes with that homemade BBQ sauce. We use that for our wings, the BBQ chicken pizza, and the pork chop.” (See below for my take on the BBQ chicken pizza.)
The Vibe and My Vantage Point
A lovely exhale after a long day. The Rum Runner is a gorgeous structure, designed almost like an oversized beach house. The glass-lined restaurant, outdoor seating, and oversized bar make for a great blend of chic and comfort. The double-sided glass fireplace and expanded bar area offer a really comfortable place to hang for happy hour and the baby grand tucked in the corner of the lounge area provides an excellent spot for the live musicians featured on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. (Check here for up-to-date intel.)
What Quenched My Thirst
Sage Advice, $12.50
Clyde May’s Whiskey, sage simple syrup, lime juice, pomegranate juice, orange bitters, and ginger beer.
What’s the very beginning of that line from Romeo and Juliet? “What’s in a name…” everything. This one captured my attention the second I read it. This was the one. The color was gorgeous and the aroma citrus forward. You could tell the whiskey was going to create a lot of deep flavor to contrast again so the blend of juices and the herby sage against the sweet totally piqued my curiosity. I took my first sip and was overcome—almost tearful—it was so damn good. It has been a while since a cocktail moved me this deeply. The brilliance of melding these smoky, tart, citrusy flavors that balanced so well was really something to behold. My mouth gleeful, I took a second and third sip. Each discernible ingredient played off the others in perfect harmony. Mark, the bartender and mixologist, made the sage simple syrup himself and my guess is he added a whole lot of extra love when he created this breathtaking craft cocktail!
What Fed My Soul
Slider Duo: Angus $6, Shrimp Salad $7, Crab Cakes $8
Served on potato rolls with a pickle on the side
I guess this was an instance of seeing what I wanted to see instead of what was actually there. When I ordered, I asked Mark to pick my “duo.” When the sliders came, I got an order of angus and an order of crab cakes. Wait a minute… I checked the menu again reading duo (which, in my mind, meant one of each!). Whoops! As you can see from how the prices are listed, the duo is two of the same. So I started with the angus. The burger itself was well-seasoned and cooked a little on the well side but still juicy. The cheddar mounded nicely atop. The pickle was a half-sour and quite yummy. With the right amount of Heinz ketchup, I was a very happy lady with this three-to-four-bite slider.
The crab cake version was also quite good. The crispy edges broke through the softness of the roll and the cake itself revealed a lovely flavor: some red pepper and a little Old Bay or cayenne for some heat—I couldn’t quite tell. I asked for a side of tartar as I am a condiment queen. This was just the touch the crab cake needed.
I really enjoyed both. (I’d love to see a combo version as I’d come back to try the shrimp salad, but only if I could get another angus with it!)
Fish Taco, $7
Chef selected grilled fish, cucumber and tomato salsa, lettuce and lime aioli
The plate arrived and I wished I had ordered two. I ogled the dish, with my mouth watering. My lips parted in anticipation of the very first taste. The portion was just right. The colors popping off the plate were gorgeous—a little touch of purple from the red onion, the depth of the tomato’s flesh, and the bright green hues of the lettuce. The first bite was all fresh goodness—the sweetness of the well grilled fish was luscious against the softness of the tortilla and the crunch of the salsa and the lettuce. The tart and creamy aioli was the ideal accompaniment to this super refreshing and tasty taco. I’ll definitely be back to try this one again.
My middle son inspired this order. I was already pretty full, between the double duo of sliders and that memorable fish taco. I ordered knowing most of it would be coming home in a pizza box. The pizza came on its own single-serve pizza board with a gorgeous long handle, and looked like it was made with sincere care. The puffy flatbread crust was a most gorgeous brown, the bright white mozzarella sitting atop the glistening BBQ sauce. The diced grilled chicken was a gorgeous contrast with the tiny minced flecks of red onion.
What’s on Tap
Abita Purple Haze, 4.2%, $6.50
Allagash White, 5.1%, $7
Lagunitas IPA, $7.50
Founders Breakfast Stout, 8.3%, $9
Kentucky Bourbon Ale, 8.2%, $9
Omission Pale Ale, 5.8%, $7
Ruffino Sparkling Rosé, $9.50
La Marca Prosecco, $10
Domaine Chandon, $12.50
Ame Du Vin, $12,50
Whispering Angel, $16
Robert Mondavi Private Collection, $10
J Pinot Gris, $12
Santa Margherita, $16
Esk Valley, $10
Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc, $11
Whitehall Lane, $12,50
Domaine Fouassier Sancerre, $14
J Lohr, $10
Domaine Roux Pere Et Fils, $11
Beringer Private Reserve, $22
Other whites available by the glass & several more by the bottle.
Chateau St. Michelle Indian Wells, $14
J. Lohr, $10
Maison Louis Jadot, $14
J. Lohr, $10
Roth Estate, $14
Newton Skyside, $18
Other reds available by the glass and several more by the bottle.
What Else to Know
Serving Sunday and Easter brunches. Check out happy hours, live music, outdoor seating, and availability for private events. Visit the site for up-to-date information.
When to Show
Monday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Know Before You Go!
Hours, prices, and menus are subject to change. Please check the website for more information.
The Rum Runner
816 Ocean Avenue
Sea Bright, NJ 07760
A Lady Walks into a Bar™ is owned and trademarked by Gabrielle Garofalo.