A MONMOUTH BEACH CLASSIC EATERY’S NEW BARTENDER REMIXES TRADITION, MAKING EVERYTHING OLD NEW AGAIN
BY GILDA ROGERS • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
In the fashion of iconic New York City landmark restaurant Tavern on the Green, “Big Matt,” Edelstein, the bar manager at Beach Tavern in Monmouth Beach, brings a new direction to this decidedly shore-centric establishment at the picturesque Channel Club Marina.
Legendary nautical restaurants popular with locals have long occupied the prime location, the most recent being Sallee Tee’s, which was first badly damaged in Hurricane Irene, only to be rebuilt and destroyed again by Superstorm Sandy. Eager anticipation awaited the debut of Beach Tavern in October 2014 (which was raised some six feet), with refreshed food and décor and an expanded outdoor seating area along the docks—its fare a range from light bites (cheese selections and warm olives) to Butcher’s Cut Filet Mignon and Maine Lobster.
Earlier this year, “Big Matt” joined with renowned chef Kenneth Mansfield to further transform the maritime inspired restaurant—complete with a raw bar and spectacular sunset views—into a must-see and taste destination.
“I put on a big pair of shoes for a small person,” said Edelstein, whose diminutive stature has no bearing on heightened cocktail creations that have enlivened the bar menu and the venue overall. He fancies Beach Tavern as a place “where everybody knows your name,” as in Cheers, the classic television sitcom about a Boston bar.
Edelstein, like the show’s character Sam, who ran the bar, knows his customers well. Their frequent requests for a trending favorite became the impetus behind the “Locals Only” cocktail, a fusion of muddled strawberries, simple syrup, and Tito’s Vodka, with fresh-squeezed lemon and garnished with a sugar rim.
“It tastes like… “I’ll have another one of those,’” the barman quipped.
The view of the marina from the bar, with boats bobbing on the sun-kissed water and a ood of natural light streaming through large picture windows, creates a feeling of being one with marine nature, but there’s also a dozen TVs for those who can tear their eyes away from the view.
Edelstein, who dreams of owning his own restaurant one day, worked previously at Bourbon Street Bar and Grille in New York City. Mindful of the skills that got him to his new Beach Tavern position, he explained that “I’m hands on and take care of situations.”
He’s behind the bar Thursday through Sunday, working alongside other starters to up the stakes on their bartending repertoire.
As cooler weather approaches, Beach Tavern’s cocktail menu has been crafted to include house infused pumpkin-spice and walnut flavors.
“But we don’t want to over mix,” said Edelstein. “Simplicity is the way to go,” but added that a twist is always welcome, such as in one of his top sellers, the BT Brooklyn, mixed with Baby Hudson rye whiskey, a dash of walnut bitters, and amaretto—and taking its cue from the legendary Manhattan cocktail.
The mixologist also takes pride in gently reinventing other standards, including the Old Fashioned. His warm and fuzzy remix, renamed “El Fashioned” (see recipe at left) by bartender Brian Rosenberg, is a smooth invitation to relax after a long day at work or on the water.
33 West Street, Monmouth Beach
732.870.8999 / beachtavern.net