A Quick Stop at Gaslight

This is not a review, just a quick piece to say that I have finally been to Gaslight in Atlantic Highlands. They have been around since 2014 and I have worked in town since 2011. I have always heard this was an ultra-hipster spot. The restaurant actually bears no name, simply a literal gaslight in the front. They have no website, just a Facebook and Instagram. Doing things differently and having a selection of over 30 local craft beers immediately made this a place for the “hipster scene” to thrive. However, I did not get that vibe when my friend Justin and I visited last night. We were there around 6:30 PM, stopping for a drink before heading to dinner elsewhere. That is why this is not a review, since I cannot give a rating without trying food.

The crowd was predominantly an older one. White-haired, to be more specific. That does not bother me because a cool place is a cool place, but it was a bit surprising. Justin and I were the youngest people in there, which had a decent amount of people for such an early time. There was another 20-something further down the bar. Aside from a small child eating dinner with her family, yeah, we were the youngest.

I stared up at the massive beer selection behind the bar. I am not a big beer guy, but even if I was, I would not know where to begin. This would be heaven for the craft enthusiast. There is plenty of local Carton (their brewery is located down the street), and offerings from Kane, Great Lakes, and Rogue, among many others. They even have my favorite beer of all-time: Allagash White, which is rarely ever seen on tap. I was about to go with a pint of that, but then noticed their whiskey selection.

The above-counter set is as unique as their beers. There are none of the mainstays to be found—no Jameson, Jack Daniel’s, Maker’s Mark, or that Fireball garbage. But there is Michter’s, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew, Dad’s Hat, and Old Parr. The other side of the bar contained a few more that I could not read. Having always wanted to try Old Parr, I ordered the 12-year-old Scotch on the rocks. It was a decent pour, priced at $10. Not bad considering their beers start at $7, and some go up to $9. Meanwhile, Justin started off with a Long Island Iced Tea, also $10.

The atmosphere inside Gaslight is a worthwhile one. The brick building is old, and such bricks are left exposed. I cannot say it has a pub feel, but you definitely get those old-timey vibes. Still, it is modern and updated. They had a steady influx of people coming in as we sipped our drinks. I checked out the menu, and it was good enough to get me to want to come back and give them a try for dinner sometime soon. Several sandwiches and appetizers came out of the kitchen looking delicious.

A little later on, Justin switched over to a pint of Dark City Social Mosaic. The bartender asked if he liked sour, which he said yes. The beer was a light one, incredibly sour and on the bitter side. There were hints of grapefruit in the sip I took. I went with a refill of my Old Parr. A few moments later, there was a tap on my left shoulder. I had been in conversation about Scotch with my friend. “I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but have you ever had Famous Grouse?”, asked a man seated next to me as he pointed to the whiskeys. He had a dark beer in front of him. I answered that I had not. He talked about how it was a good, cheap Scotch—$8 a pour as opposed to my $10. He then said he would order some, neat, and give me the first sip. In a few minutes he did just that. The glass arrived and he slid it over to me. I took a tiny nip and agreed that it was definitely a decent Scotch, though a little rough around the edges.

Maybe the crowd-type switches over later on in the evening. I certainly never pictured or would have guessed Gaslight as your stereotypical where-everybody-knows-your-name “Old Man Bar”. Again, that is not a knock, just an observation. The two bartenders were cool—very laid back and not pushy with drinks. Overall, it was a good experience and I look forward to another visit.

Gaslight is located at 33 First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

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