Restaurant Review #139: The Globe Hotel (Red Bank, NJ)

Hot-Buttered Pretzels

UPDATE: Read my second write-up here.

The Globe Hotel has been serving up drinks since 1840. At that time, there was actual lodging. Today, it’s just a bar and restaurant. I had been there for the first time two or three years ago. My friend had something famous in these parts—the Globe Burger—which is just like any other burger except for an ungodly amount of cheese they slather on there. So much cheese that it oozes off of the burger and drips into the basket. I did not hear any complaints. I could not for the life of me remember what I had on that first visit. I just remember leaving with the impression that this was a locals bar—a beer and a shot crowd not so concerned about food.

I’ve seen online commentators refer to the bar as a “dive”, but I want to argue against that. This is a no-frills establishment. However, when I think of a dive bar, I think of sub-par or nonexistent food, and quite frankly, a dirty or unsanitary public area which by some miracle has not been shut down yet. You could not be farther from that here.

This second trip was by chance. My friend and I were heading towards Red Bank for a late lunch. I was starving. Rather than the usual suspects, the Globe just happened to pop into my head. We made it there a little after 3:30 PM. There were four or five people at the bar. All regulars, from what I could tell. We had a seat at the bar. I started off with a pint of Blue Moon. I was really thirsty at that point, and the summer heat made it necessary. Glancing at the menu, it was bigger than I remembered. A who’s-who of appetizers, snacks, and pub favorites. Much of it fried, little of it healthy. We got the hot buttered pretzels as an appetizer. They went great with my beer.

The pretzels were indeed hot. If they were not homemade, then they fooled me. Brushed lightly with butter and with just enough salt, they served as an adequate vessel for the molten-hot cheese sauce given on the side. For my second drink, I noticed a bottle of Jameson Caskmates sitting with the whiskies. I had always wanted to try that, so I figured this would be a good a place as any. I ordered it neat. The bartender gave me a hefty pour, and here’s the kicker—when he finished and walked away, he noticed there was a little left in the bottle. Not enough for another serving, he came back and emptied it out into my glass. Now that is service. What an awesome bartender he turned out to be.

For meals, he had a hot dog (which was a foot long). It had a nice, blackened shell and was perfectly snappy. This was only $4.95 and it came with chips and whatever toppings you wanted. I went with the Swiss Turkey Melt, pretty much a Reuben without the sauerkraut. It was well-grilled and delicious. Really hit the spot nicely. Priced at $7.95. Can’t go wrong with that.

When the bill came, my jaw hit the floor. The Jameson Caskmates was only $6. I was expecting much higher. I’ve had domestic beers at such a price at other places. The Blue Moon, meanwhile, was $4. I don’t think I have ever left a bar so satisfied. My hunger cured, my thirst satisfied. For the two of us (meaning an appetizer, two drinks, and two meals), the total was around $32.

The Globe Hotel is a neighborhood bar. Anthony Bourdain might refer to it as an “old man bar”. Let’s face it—we were the only people there under 40 at that particular time. I don’t think that’s the case at night, but during the day, whatever. Even if it is constant, who cares? With such good grub and prices, while sitting in a building from 1840, can you really complain? It’s not often I say a restaurant has “character”. It kind of transcends the atmosphere. In posh Red Bank, with skyrocketing prices, hipsters galore, and hoity-toity establishments lined up on the streets one after the other, the Globe is quite refreshing. No pretentiousness here. They know their identity. I am going to give them a solid 4 out of 5 stars. Please don’t change a thing.

The Globe Hotel is located at 20 East Front Street in Red Bank, New Jersey.



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