Where I Was
The Whitechapel Projects, Long Branch, NJ
Friday, September 20, 4:05 p.m.
Where I Sat
I headed straight to the Courtyard bar, located just inside the massive sliding barn door at the main entrance to the space. It was a spectacular weather day and the bar had just opened, so I felt pure joy as I selected my very own private spot. The Courtyard is one of two amazing outdoor spaces, with the second being the Yard.
Who Served Me
Dar, on staff since “the beginning” (December 2018) and the passion of a proprietor—his pride and attention to every detail evidently conveyed throughout my not-very-short visit.
Bartender’s Favorite Bite
“Oh man, the deep-fried cheeseburger is amazing, but the menu is realllllly good…” I already felt lightheaded and tingly all over, and I hadn’t even found my way to the bao!
The Vibe and My Vantage Point
As I sat amidst 77,000 bricks I wondered, How does a vision like this come to be? I learned that the space was inspired by the Whitechapel district of London and was more than a decade in the making. This spectacular vision came to life in a very special way—the space brings together food, drink, lovers, artists, musicians, creation, and community. It’s really not to be missed.
What Quenched My Thirst
Gin-City EP, $8 (happy hour price, regularly $14)
Bluecoat Gin, lemon juice, muddled (and strained) blueberries, and a splash of club
I HAVE FALLEN HARD. You may know how I feel about my tequila and gin: when I can be still be wooed by the magic of a well-concocted drink, I am deeply delighted. The gin bottle itself was cobalt blue and absolutely stunning. The color of the cocktail was alluring. And the flavor? Simply magnificent. The gorgeous contrast of the herby gin against the acidic notes of the blueberry was perfection.
What Fed My Soul
Long Branch Stuffies, $6 (happy hour price, plus menu special)
Cherry stone clams stuffed with housemade chouriçio, breadcrumbs, onions, peppers, and herbs
Truth be told, I was already somewhat swept away by the boozy blueberry madness of my cocktail when I realized I’d better start ordering some food. So it’s no surprise I was feeling flummoxed when Dar came over for the upteenth time to ask what I may want to taste.
The first thing I spotted, I ordered—and this would not normally be my pick. (I guess with bivalves I’m more of a purist?) The “stuffing” was a bit much and it’s fair to say this wasn’t my first stuffed clam. I remained open-minded.
They were plentiful and that’s a plus! They were not just gorgeous to look at, but I could tell upon its arrival this baked clam would not be the mushy experience of yore! The chunkiness of the clams and pepper-and-onion crispiness was enough to set it apart. However, I still wasn’t feeling the pure love until someone asked, “What if you put that on the burger?” Holy smokes—that was something tasty indeed!
Lángos-Wrapped Burger, $16
Deep fried potato bread, cheddar cheese, bacon, bread & butter pickles and Mississippi comeback sauce
My first question was, What the heck is lángos? It’s a Hungarian fried bread. It’s flatbread with what appeared to be semolina-type seeds on top. The bread is pressed flatter than a pita but not quite as flat as a tortilla. Following so far?
Since Dar so passionately effused about the choice I couldn’t resist. The burger arrived and I was super-duper excited. The whole things was SOOOO good—the ramekins of ‘comeback sauce’ and ketchup, the fries and that burger—all fried up with its bacon-and pickle goodness! One bite and it was a fully body experience if you know what I mean. The swipe of sauce on the outside of the burger, the crisp exterior playing against the supple juicy nature of the beef; the bacon, the pickle the cheese—I was G O N E. And yes, I did indeed smoosh some clam into a bite or two and it was actually not so bad! I’ll order this burger again.
Pork Belly Bao, $4 (happy hour price, regularly
Steamed caramelized pork belly bun
Wow. There are two things I’ve discovered in my more than half-century on the planet: I love carbs and really dig some perfectly cubed Chinese-style bbq pork bits tenderly packaged inside of the most exquisitely fluffy, white doughy casing. The pork was tender and silky. Simply put, I adored every sumptuous bite. After spending time in Shanghai, I experienced this type of bun and this was really something. And the price made me wanna line up 10, at least! I refrained, however.
All beers are brewed by WCH unless otherwise specified.
Centennial Double IPA – ABV 7.2%
Red Ale – ABV 6.6%
Irish Coffee Stout – ABV 4.1%
Belgian Golden Strong (BGS) – ABV 4.1%
Summer Citra IPA – ABV 6.7%
American Ale – ABV 5.3%
Guest Taps featuring:
Red Tank Brewery
Tempus Fugit Pale Ale – ABV 5.0%
The Amazing Lilly Blonde – ABV 6.7%
Chateau Saison – ABV 5.1%
Jersey Devil Double IPA – ABV 8.4%
Hops Cream IPA – ABV 6.2%
Jughandle Brewing Company
JugLite – ABV 4.6%
Lightly dry-hopped with Laurel Hops
All wines: 4 oz. pours for $8
Rose, Bullas – Spain
Pinot Grigio, Sicily – Italy
Cabernet Sauvignon – California
Limited offerings; please call as selections change.
What Else to Know
The Whitechapel Projects is home to several well designed, thoughtful spaces that create an essence unlike anything I’ve experienced locally. It’s not that we lack brick-walled beauties but here, behind the brick, behind the brewery, the vision is something else. WCH offers something unique—true community—creation-curated experiences that allow the person experiencing it a unique offering every single time.
When to Show
Wednesday through Thursday, 4:00 pm. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday, 4:00 pm. to 1:00 a.m.
Saturday, 12:00 pm. to 1:00 a.m.
Sunday, 4:00 pm. to 9:00 p.m.
Know Before You Go!
Happy hour: Wednesday through Friday, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
SO worth it! Get the latest information and updates on the website.
The Whitechapel Projects
15 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
A Lady Walks into a Bar™ is owned and trademarked by Gabrielle Garofalo.