MONTVILLE, NEW JERSEY
Definitely one of Jersey’s best beerpubs, POOR HENRY’S PUB & RESTAURANT has been in business since 1975. In a fieldstone-bricked ranch (with aquamarine trim and sidewalk cafe), this Old World tavern on Route 202 could be defined as an Irish-styled pub, dive bar, gin mill or family restaurant. Each description fits the otherwise inconspicuous establishment well.
Founded by Kenny Garrity, Poor Henry’s originated in nearby East Hanover and served Guinness Stout to experimental palates. But while that Irish bar ceased to exist, the newly established Montville gastropub continues to flourish. During 2011, Garrity’s son, Jesse, expanded the draught selection and brought craft beers onboard.
Featuring outstanding pub fare (prime rib, burgers, pasta, fish) and a quickly revolving 23-tap selection, Poor Henry’s is divided into two distinct sections. To the left, a home-styled dining area with 4-seat tables serves lunch and dinner while the rectangular right side bronze-topped bar (with multiple TV’s and blackboard tap listing) maintains a bustling sportsbar appeal.
On the side walls, several road signs and auto licenses mix with several craft beer banners from Dogfish Head, Full Sail and Ithaca (plus a green-clover neon sign promoting Heineken and a Guinness ad). The extraordinary bottled specialties on this February 2015 sojourn included Brooklyn K Is For Kriek, Victory Oak Aged Horizontal Barleywine, Clown Shoes Peace Money Can’t Buy, Lost Abbey Inferno Belgian Golden, Guinness 1759 Amber Ale eith Smoked Peat, Epic Elder Brett Saison and Allagash Midnight Brett.
Grabbing a seat at the bar for a short mid-afternoon jaunt, I down fudgy dessert treat, Neshaminy Creek Coconut Mudbank Milk Stout (reviewed in Beer Index). Afterwards, I return for dinner with wife in tow and the bar has gone from practically empty to completely crowded. So we took a dining table and order two delicious mainstay menu items: Faroe island dilled salmon and Pizza with bacon, sauteed onions and mozzerella. Alongside the food, I consume four samplers of previously untried libations including sessionable Green Flash Jibe IPA and collaborative Du Claw/ Cigar City Impey Barbicane Moongun Amber as well as Wild Beer Induna Cru Saison (with apples) and Du Claw Hell On Wood Bourbon-aged Barleywine.
As much a friendly neighborhood hangout as a great destination spot, Poor Henry’s warm, rustic charm will please everyone with its fresh food, interesting brews and cozy atmosphere.