Long Beach Island is a Jersey Shore jewel known for its beautiful beaches, the mansions of Harvey Cedars and Loveladies, and great restaurants. The 18 mile long island consists of 6 different municipalities and numerous small towns, stretching from Barnegat Light in the north to Holgate in the south. Ok, so why the geography lesson? Because once you are over the (newly renovated) causeway bridge, you don’t have to go far to visit one of the best Craft Beer Bar/Restaurants in Ocean County, if not the state, The Arlington in Ship Bottom!
The Arlington is the brainchild of 2 brothers, Paul and Brian Sabarese, and opened for business in June of 2013. I had the opportunity to sit with Paul (actually I am there frequently, so I have a lot of opportunity, but Paul doesn’t sit that much!) and talk about the restaurant, food and, of course, beer. Beer is in abundance at the Arlington with 22 rotating taps of some of the best beers in the world! The Arlington introduced me to many beers I had never heard of… the first place I ever had (or heard of) Carton Brewing Company (Monkey Chased the Weasel Mulberry Sour), Kane Brewing Company (Head High IPA) and an all-time great, Saison Dupont!
Ocean County Guys
Paul and Brian are Ocean County guys who have been in the restaurant business for a some time and were previously partners in a couple of other Long Beach Island restaurants but decided they wanted to seek some opportunities on their own. The restaurant is on the site of the old Bayberry Inn, right on Long Beach Boulevard, about 3 blocks south of the causeway exit. The location was one of the many damaged by Sandy, so when the property came up for sale, the brothers were able to work out a deal and the Arlington was born, opening in June of 2013.
Their love of craft beer was a big part of their plan as Paul was heavily influenced by going to school in the fertile beer community of Philadelphia. The iconic Monk’s Café was a big influence, as well as many of the other beer destinations in the city. Brian worked for Hunterdon Distributors, a pioneer in merchandising craft beer in New Jersey. His experience at Hunterdon also served to enhance his knowledge of beer from not only the US, but from all over the world.
The Arlington soon developed a great reputation not only for their beer but, with Brian as the head chef, different takes on some great dishes.
Craft Beer Paired with a Menu Featuring Locally Sourced Ingredients
We asked John Howard Fusco, author of “A Culinary History of Cape May: Salt Oysters, Beach Plums, and Cabernet Franc” and the ““Eating in South Jersey” blog what he thought about The Arlington and he told us, “I love the menu at the Arlington. You can choose between sharing a bunch of small plates or staying traditional with individual entrees…and enjoy either option quite well. Make sure you get the fired chicken skins- so good and so naughty!” As form me, their shrimp and grits are also sublime, but my favorite is the bacon cheeseburger, 2 patties on a toasted bun with house made bacon!
“We make food we like to eat”
– Paul Sabarese, The Arlington
Brian and Paul also source local ingredients such as fresh scallops from the nearby Viking Village docks as well as local oysters and swordfish. Great selections abound on the menu and there is always something to pair with the amazing beers on tap. Where do these great food offerings come from? “We make food we like to eat”, Paul told us.
While Brian takes care of the food, Paul personally curates the beer list. “I choose beers from breweries I’ve read or heard about, plus some of my favorites. The tap list has a description of each beer, I want the customer to know what they are ordering, plus it serves to educate the staff on the different beers we have on tap.” Paul will choose beers based on breweries he has heard of or read about as well as his personal preferences. Paul also talks to his seasoned servers who are also good source of information.
We are lucky in that we have an experienced core staff. Alyssa, James and Chris have been with us from the beginning.” They also have a great selection of Tequila, Bourbon and other spirits (according to my wife, James makes the best Cosmo in the world!). Their current tap list includes offerings from Almanac, Toppling Goliath, Maine Beer Company are some of the standouts. New Jersey is always represented, with Kane, Jughandle, and Ludlam Island on tap now. Too many to choose from? Ask one of your servers to make a suggestion or surprise you with a flight.
In 2016, they opened Daymark, about 10 miles north in the shadow of Old Barney at Barnegat Light. Daymark is another great restaurant (Brian handles the kitchen here also) with unique selections and a decidedly different look than the Ship Bottom location. The draft beer list isn’t as extensive, but you will still find gems like Bell’s Oberon, Kane’s Sneakbox, and their Beach Haven neighbor Ship Bottom Brewing Company’s Barnegat Lager. They also have some inventive cocktails, including a Barrel Aged Manhattan.
Paul has several tap takeovers planned for the Arlington this summer including Modern Times, the extremely sought after San Diego brewery as well as South Jersey favorites Icarus Brewing of Lakewood and Ludlam Island Brewery from Ocean View.
The Arlington is at 1302 Long Beach Blvd in Ship Bottom on LBI. Great beer selection, excellent food and service, make sure this is one of your destinations this summer!
For more information about The Arlington visit them on the web at www.arlingtonlbi.com