For decades, Spring Lake Heights locals have relied on a neighborhood bar that sits a mile from the beach, on NJ-71. The staff at Heights 27 is proud to continue that tradition after taking over what used to be CJ’s Tavern (and Wine’s Tavern before that) just three years ago.
There’s nothing more comfortable than a local spot where folks can reliably order food and drinks, or pick up some road sodas on the way home. Every town should have such a bar. Along with their staff, friends and business partners Brian LiCalsi and Bob DePetro are keeping this dream alive for the Spring Lake Heights community. With Heights 27’s third year in business on the horizon, the emphasis on quality from a neighborhood business continues.
Dining at Heights 27
From CJ’s Tavern to Heights 27, the business plan hasn’t changed much. “Basically, it’s quality food, quality drinks, and bar favorites,” said LiCalsi, as he summed up his goals for Heights 27. “We have a lot of live, local entertainment and we try to showcase NJ-based beers.”
From 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, Heights 27 offers happy hour specials, like $2 domestic draft beers, $5 house wines or well drinks, and 25% off all appetizers. If customers find themselves at Heights 27 after those deals disappear, the full menu of drinks and food opens up, complete with wings, burgers, and chicken sandwiches.
You’ll find traditional bone-in and boneless wing options. LiCalsi goes into more detail on the wings. “Hog wings, most places don’t have pork shank, but we sell those pork shank hog wings with our sauces,” he said. “That’s one item that sets us apart.”
Entrees to Write Home About
In addition to more conventional bar favorites, Heights 27 has added some exceptional entrees for customers interested in more of a homestyle meal, a nice steak, or seafood.
The menu boasts a beautiful New York strip steak with roasted potatoes, onion rings, vegetables, and steak sauce. And entrees like teriyaki sesame-crusted tuna or a fried seafood platter with clams, shrimp, cod, and fries make for solid seafood options.
“We also make a great chicken Francese, chicken Parm, and our pork chop Murphy with potatoes, onions, and vinegar peppers,” he said. “Our kitchen staff have been with us for a long time now — they’re hardworking and dedicated people who’ve been in the [restaurant] business for 20 years.”
Switch gears at the end of the day to the tune of a local guitarist, or to the banter of a bingo maestro at Heights 27. Check out the calendar of events on the Heights 27 website to stay up to date.
Local entertainment operates in a “Clean, modern, comfortable atmosphere,” said LiCalsi. And while Heights 27 brings a wide variety of music and local, up-and-coming talent, LiCalsi said they have yet to charge a cover.
On the Drink Menu
“We’re known to have a great old fashioned,” said LiCalsi. He also noted that that martinis and wide selection of domestic and imported beers are worth checking out. And he didn’t forget about the local beer scene in the Garden State. “We have Kane, Screaming Hill, Icarus, Twin Lights, and beers from Hoboken Brewery too.”
Six-Pack to Go?
Heights 27 will continue to serve the local community as a one-stop shop for great food, cold drinks, and packaged goods.
Many New Jersey restaurants look to summer for their highest volume of business. But the owners of Heights 27 are sure to prioritize supporting their community all year — especially in the offseason.
“We give back a lot to the community and support local sports and school systems,” said LiCalsi. “We’re pretty adamant about that. Our local community means a tremendous amount to us.”
LiCalsi recounted his early life, in Wall Township. He left school to start his own business, and had a love for real estate that started early. In 2020, he hit fast-forward and bought a bar and grill. It’s easy to tell he loves the area and is committed to maintaining this spot’s “go-to” identity for locals as well as out-of-towners.
All in a Name
In 1927, Spring Lake Heights was established after breaking off from Wall Township. The name Heights 27 is a reminder of where it all started…and where it will continue.
Heights 27 Bar & Grille
Spring Lake Heights, NJ