Saturday was December 5th and the anniversary of the ratification of Amendment 21, the repeal of prohibition in 1933. What better a day than to look for Amendment 21 in Point Pleasant Beach, a new craft beer pub, which was described in one blog as being a plain door in an alley behind Europa South.
Following that information led me right to an enclosed trash dumpster. In actuality the entrance to Amendment 21 is right on Arnold Ave. next door to Europa South. There is no alley but a step up entrance with a doorway to the right. There is a small sign above and a black board on the sidewalk. Upon entering the small, but entirely adequate, space reveals brick walls, bare lamp lighting fixtures some of which are creatively contrived from pulleys and mason jars. There is a long bar and more than several counter high pub tables. You must be prepared to sit on a bar stool. We took our place at the end of the bar. Our friendly bartender, Aly, seemed to have lone control of the front and she handled it well.
We were there for a drink and to pick so we started with two Bloody Mary’s. This was one of the best Bloody Mary’s I have had anywhere. Not one of those over the top things with an entire meal stuck on it, just well presented and flavorful. It had the spice from a perfect blend of horseradish which tasted fresh, and hot pepper sauce. It was garnished with grape tomatoes, olives, caper berries, a dilly bean and a celery stalk. I followed that with one of the 30 craft beers they have on tap along with a selection of 60 bottled beers. The rotating choices of craft beers on tap are all written on several boards throughout. My choice was a Luganita’s IPA which was delightfully bitter and hoppy as an IPA should be. My wife, Laura, had a glass of Hand Craft Pino Grigio which she enjoyed as well. The bar uses only fresh squeezed juices for their cocktails of which their are many new concoctions to sample which is a thoughtful and better tasting touch.
The menu offers a selection of sandwiches including some unusual Po’ Boys and an A21 Burger which is a creation of 2/3 Angus beef and 1/3 smoked pork belly topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon and a fried egg. There is a wide selection of pub style foods but with many creative spins. We sampled some fried calamari with caper berries along with BBQ ribs. This is one place that does calamari right. It was light and crisp and every piece tender. The fried caper berries added a briny compliment that was perfect. The ribs were also very tender and smoky. My wife indulged in a spicy king crab soup which was thick and savory with an awakening blend of seasonings. Like nothing I have ever had before. If those dishes are any indication, I am certain that everything else will equally as delicious.
Amendment 21 in Point Pleasant Beach is designed after a prohibition era speakeasy of which there were many in the area with rum alley being only a score of miles to the north. When entering the cozy room with the fireplace you do get the feeling of discovering a hideaway. Come summer, that probably will not be the case as throngs of people will walk by. But until then, we have found a new hangout where we can graze and imbibe. With five big screens, Amendment 21 is also an excellent place to watch a game. See you soon.