Looking for a small-town atmosphere where you can experience the best of the big city? With a population of just more than 12,000, Red Bank, located on the southern bank of the Navesink River, is a noted social and commercial destination filled with boutiques, designer clothing and home stores, parks, restaurants and much more. It also boasts the oldest ice boating club in the United States. Known as “Mini-Wall Street” due to its abundance of financial institutions that are a major factor in boosting its population during the week to upwards of 50,000, Red Bank was ranked by Smithsonian magazine as the third-best small town in America in 2012.
Where to Stay
Rich, dark woods. A warm, cozy fire. A panoramic view of the Navesink River. These are just a few of the amenities provided by the popular International Bar that guests can enjoy at the Molly Pitcher Inn. The adjacent Navesink Dining Room was recently named “Best New Jersey Brunch” by the Asbury Park Press. The Molly Pitcher has more than 9,000 square feet of multiple waterfront meeting rooms and event space. “We also have a beautiful tented promenade available for up to 300 guests,” says Rainey Alwell, the Inn’s director of sales and marketing.
A first-class experience awaits guests of The Oyster Point Hotel. An intimate and serene dining environment greets them at the Pearl restaurant, known for its upscale Americana cuisine with a twist. The Pearl Lounge offers a casually classy, elegant vibe. Just like its sister hotel, the Molly Pitcher Inn, The Oyster Point offers more than 9,000 square feet of multiple waterfront meeting rooms and event space.
“The Oyster Point is a little more modern than the Molly Pitcher,” says Alwell, also the director of sales and marketing for The Oyster Point Hotel. “It has a nice, comfortable, contemporary feel.”
The Courtyard Lincroft Red Bank has an easygoing atmosphere. “We want people to feel like they’re at home away from home,” says Kiernan Newman, the hotel’s general manager. “We have what we call The Bistro, our breakfast/dinner venue that has a Panera-type feel, along with a 24-hour Starbucks Express, both of which are encompassed by the entire lobby. This way, overnight guests don’t feel like they’re stuck in their rooms. They can come and utilize the lobby space.”
Where to Eat
If an authentic Jersey-style Italian restaurant with an elegant atmosphere is what you are looking for, then Buona Sera Italian Ristorante is for you. “We can cater to any type of event,” says owner and Executive Chef Christopher Mariani. “Whether it’s a big, festive party, a quiet gathering or if someone wants a little action in the kitchen bistro-style, we have something for everybody. We also have a private wine cellar.” Menu favorites include the pasta, veal, seafood and specialty dishes. “Everybody always asks me, ‘What’s the most popular dish?’” Mariani says. “And I always tell them, ‘The one that brings the customer back to my restaurant.’”
Char Steakhouse delights guests with landscaped views revealed by towering windows and rich, mahogany walls, but it’s the finest cuts of dry aged and prime beef with fish delivered fresh daily that reel in the customers. “We have a New York-chic kind of look to us,” says Michael Capezio, director of operations. “We’ve got a pretty modern look, including a number of fire and copper lighting elements and high ceilings, too.” Guests in the Rain Room dine by a curved wall of water. There are two second-floor dining rooms, the Loft and the Vista, the latter of which offers a grand view of Broad Street, Red Bank’s main thoroughfare.
Have a taste for “KFC” wings? Teak is the spot to go to enjoy Korean Fried Chicken wings, plus French onion soup dumplings, seven spiced calamari salad or drunken man noodles. “We also have a sushi bar where you can watch them make your rolls,” says owner and Executive Chef George Lyristis. “We offer Asian-fusion cuisine in a casual, yet elevated, atmosphere.” Teak has two private rooms, one seating 30 and the other seating 15. A rooftop deck that seats 75-80 will be ready by the end of the year.
What to Do
Whether a beloved classic, something brand new or a rediscovered masterpiece, the Two River Theater offers exceptional productions in intimate performance spaces in which patrons engage in conversation with the actors and actresses. “We can accommodate everything from small, intimate dinners and cocktail parties to meetings, fashion shows and concerts,” says Cassie Galasetti, associate director of marketing. “It’s also beneficial because when you book a group, you get up to 30 percent off with no surcharges.” Discounted menus for local restaurants and backstage tours for groups of 30 or more are also available. Private on-site rooms for pre- or post-show events are offered as well.
More than half a century has passed and, though the dealers have come and gone and the local landscape has changed, the Antique Center of Red Bank is still going strong today as the largest antique district in New Jersey. Housed in two enormous buildings, the Antique Center is the place to go if you want that certain something that you just can’t find elsewhere. From furniture to jewelry to pottery to collectibles, there is something for everyone. “We get groups from all over the world,” says Guy Johnson, owner. “Tastes and styles have changed through the years, but one thing has stayed the same—people keep coming back for more.”
The Red Bank Marina has brought smiles to the faces of watergoers since the 1930s. “It’s one of the last family-type things you’re ever going to see on the Jersey Shore. A lot of marinas are being replaced by townhomes and condos. The people who come here … their fathers came here, and their fathers came here,” says owner Stephen Remaley. Crabbing and fishing are longtime favorites. Patrons can rent rowboats, kayaks, canoes, pontoons and a variety of motorboats. The marina also has a bait and tackle shop. Waterfront picnic facilities are accessible for private parties and the marina also offers private tours of the Lower Navesink River.
RED BANK BY THE NUMBERS
130,000 PEOPLE VISIT THE HISTORIC COUNT BASIE THEATRE ANNUALLY
1904 WAS THE YEAR RED BANK’S MOST FAMOUS RESIDENT, COUNT BASIE, WAS BORN
1902 WAS THE YEAR THE L ANDMARK LOLLIPOP CLOCK WAS ERECTED ON BROAD STREET