October 1, 2016
Hailey’s Harp-Cade in Metuchen New Jersey Brings Old School Arcade Fun to Your Traditional Irish Pub
So an Arcade, Viking Beer and a Central New Jersey walk into a bar…
Yes! You heard that right folks. There is no punchline to this one. Central New Jersey now has its very own Arcade Bar. In Metuchen (a small town nestled in between Woodbridge and Edison townships) Hailey’s Harp & Pub on Main Street is an already well established Irish Pub and Eatery with a great selection of alcohol and food to choose from. However, the pub now has an alter ego located behind it on 15 Station Place. The two egos combined are like a mullet straight out of the 80s, business in the front, party in the back.
September 16, 2016
Hailey's Harp and Pub's distinguished Beer Senate had its first meeting since its annual summer hiatus. Presumably, all the Senators went back to their constituents over the break to learn what beer issues their voters felt were critical to their happiness. Or maybe they just went down the shore. Either way, they came back in full vigor.
And yours truly confirmed two salient facts during the meeting of this august body. First, this is how all Senates should function. Second, I am decidedly not a fan of sour beers.
But first things first. The agenda, as set by Barman Moshe, is always a winner: good food coupled with good beers. And the atmosphere is always convivial, unlike in that other Senate run by the government. Actually, "convivial" is the polite way of saying raucous, friendly and, most importantly, fun. Then there's the all-important vote taken at the end to decide which beer gets to shoulder its way onto Hailey's official taps, and this year, Octoberfish from Flying Fish got the nod. It wasn't my first choice, but it was well deserved. The other contenders were Boulevard's Pumpkin Sour, Neshaminy Creek's Punkler Dunkelweiss (which actually had more pumpkin notes than Boulevard's, if you ask me) and Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster DIPA. That latter was my choice.
But, of course, beer is a most subjective item. You like what you like, and no one should tell you what your choice should be, even if it's a canoe beer. That's why I took two sips of the sour beer and gave it away. I know sours are de rigueur these days, but to me me they're just, well, too sour and unenjoyable. I must not be alone, because the Sour didn't score any votes, and I know at least one famous local brewer who says, "If my beer comes out sour, I pour it down the drain." While they certainly have their devotees, I have yet to find one that can elicit even a "that's not bad" from me.
Moshe's food, as always, was worth the price of admission, and I was not alone in telling him he needs to put that fabulous Veal Schnitzel on Hailey's regular menu.
As with most beer events, the speakers became less important than the drinkers' conversations as the night wore one, so Moshe had his work cut out for him as he tried to explain why he was appointing Curtis as the host for next month's legislative session. Curtis will be using his own favorite beers in the lineup, which is a great way to spark interest and engage the Senate faithful. The real Senate should work this way, with everyone "trinken, essen und lachen." Then voting.
Here's hoping Curtis is not a big sour beer guy.
Or my "trinken und lachen" will be severely subdued.
June 2016 - Hailey's Astro Pop Martini featured in the article 'Sip away the heat with these 11 summer cocktails'
March 2016 - Prominently featured in the article 'How The Irish Celebrate St. Patrick's Day'
January 2016 - N.J.'s 20 best bars for a warm welcome this winter
Bars are cozy, comforting places year-round, but especially this time of year, when your favorite hangout turns into a happy haven insulated from cold, snow, sleet and whatever else is going on outside. What do I mean by cozy? A warm, cheery place where you immediately feel at home. Fancy, no-frills, doesn't matter.
'Cozy' doesn't have to mean small, but a cozy bar can't be bland or formulaic. It's the kind of place where you can sit down, order a drink, and turn a cold shoulder to Old Man Winter. Hailey’s Harp and Pub received an honorable mention in this category, where many of the other bars on this last have been around for 20 plus years….
March 2015 - N.J.'s top 10 Irish pubs: Where to celebrate St. Patrick's Day
Prodigious amounts of Guinness and corned beef will be poured and served in the next few days, and everyone will break out the green hats, shirts and shamrocks. Drawing on a recent two-day Irish pub crawl, and past experience, here's the list with Hailey's Harp and Pub, ranked 4th in NEW Jersey for best Irish Pub.
4. Hailey's Harp & Pub, 400 Main St., Metuchen; (732)-321-0777. A new kind of Irish pub: one known for its craft beers. Owned by Chris Flynn, who was trying out running shoes when he darted past the Thai restaurant he would later buy and turn into Hailey's. Twenty-plus beers on tap, about 25 in bottles, and the food's good; try the Guinness chicken.
September 2015 - Captain Craic's Crew: Picking Up Where They Left Off
Well, that certainly didn't take long. After two months of a self-imposed hiatus from the Beer Senate feature at Hailey's Harp and Pub, Captain Craic (Chris Flynn) and his crew hit the ground running.
The first Beer Senate of the season was dubbed a "Tier Senate" because Southern Tier was in the house and on the menu with four beers for the thirsty Senators to evaluate. Harvest, Tier de Garde, IPA and the classic Pumking were poured to complement Moshe's always-interesting menu...
November 2012 - On Tap: Why every bar needs a Beer Senate
Moshe Atzbi, Chris Flynn, and Hailey's Harp and Pub (400 Main St., Metuchen, NJ) are doing something I've never seen done at any other bar. What Atzbi, Flynn, and Hailey's are doing are what they call the Beer Senate - an open group, currently around 20 people, who come together once a month, sample beers chosen by Moshe, and pair with food cooked by Chef John LaBarbera.
Sounds a lot like a beer dinner, right? Well, not really. As good as the beers are and as well as they pair with the food, it's really not about the food or the pairings. At the Beer Senate, the focus is on the beer. And when you walk into a "meeting", focus is exactly what you'll see.
As the Beer Senators (has a nice ring to it, right?) sample the beers, they rate them in categories similar to my Beer of the Week scale: clarity (0-1), head (0-2), color (0-1), aroma (0-4), balance (consisting of acid (0-2), sugar (0-1), and body (0-1)), flavor (0-4), general quality (0-4); these all add together for a total of 0 to 20.
At the end of the night, when all the beers have been sampled, the Senators vote on which they'd like to see offered as part of the tap selection in the coming month. Customers choosing the beer to be put on tap - beerocracy at its finest.
The post-meeting discussion was nothing but positive. Everyone talked about how much fun the Senate meetings are, and how great it is that they have a say in the beer that will be offered at the bar. And that got me thinking: why don't other bars do this?
I can't give Moshe and Hailey's enough credit - it's a great thing they're doing and as far as I can tell, they're the only ones doing it. That being said, I don't know why that is. A fun beer night and letting customers decide beers to go on tap - why is this such a rare thing?
Last meeting we discussed beer terms like gravity, plato, IBUs, etc. The meeting before that there was a debate: bottle vs keg (and thanks to the newly elected Senate President, cask was thrown in the mix, and won). Good beer, good food, good people and good discussion - what more could a local neighborhood bar ask for?