Brick House Pub & Grille has live music most Friday nights and a slew of other ongoing enticements throughout the fall.
Brothers-in-law Chuck Dicken and Phil Durrant pulled out all the stops when they purchased and refurbished a onetime mainstay in the Festival at Hamilton shopping center, debuting the Brick House Pub & Grille about six months ago and reintroducing to that section of Mays Landing a satisfying local hangout.
“There was a lot of work to do since the building sat empty for well over a year, but we’ve gotten a warm welcome since we started [April 18],” says Dicken, who for 33 years served as a bartender at a local landmark on the north end of Brigantine. “The food has been the draw, and the holiday shopping season starting back up has been helping us. People who give us a try are going to want to come back.”
Brick House’s NFL game-day specials alone are reason enough to want to come back. Every Sunday has buy-one-get-one-free appetizers, $2.50 Bud and Bud Light drafts, and $5 pitchers of Bud/Bud Light or Rolling Rock during all games. Those prices also apply to Monday and Thursday night NFL action — shown on seven large-screen TVs throughout the establishment — and there are $3 Bloody Marys and $2 Rolling Rock drafts available all day Sunday too.
The Brick House has 16 beers on tap, and also has an interactive game called Buzztime Trivia available any time in which patrons answer trivia questions and compete against one another with electronic game boards. Every Tuesday there’s a Hosted Trivia contest starting 8pm where contestants can win gift certificates, T-shirts and other prizes. Tuesday also has two-for-one appetizers from 4-7pm and $3 specials on its craft beers all day, like Sam Adams Lager and seasonal ale, Victory Hop Devil, Flying Fish, Shock Top and Blue Point Toasted Lager. There’s also $5 top-shelf drinks all day Tuesday.
“We moved [Hosted Trivia] from Thursday nights since the NFL has been airing games that night, and it’s caught on nicely,” says Dicken. “We’ve had a good response on Tuesdays. It’s something fun to do on a night when not much else is going on.”
The business partners got lucky when they sort of backed into the services of an outstanding retired chef to oversee their kitchen.
“[John Hand Sr.] has worked in many of the casinos and at the Smithville [Inn] for 20 years, and was really just looking for something to keep busy,” says Dicken. “We’re very lucky to have him.”
A prime night to test Hand’s skills might be Monday, where Brick House offers half-pound Angus beef cheeseburgers with fries for just $5. Another might be Thursday when beef tacos are $1 and fish tacos are $2 all day.
“That’s been a big draw with the college kids,” says Dicken. “Three of them make a nice-sized meal.”
Dicken says Wednesday is fast becoming a popular weekday when karaoke begins 8pm with DJ Kenny B. Wednesdays also have $2 Yuengling drafts and $8 house martinis all day. Most Fridays see top-flight live entertainment at the pub, including local songstress Patty Blee making two visits this month (Oct. 12 and 26), and Chris “Jonesy” Jones performing Oct. 19. Fridays are also “Irish Night” with frosty pints of Guinness and Smithwick’s going for $4, and pitchers of house cosmos for $8.
Brian Ireland is a Ducktown bartender and lifelong Ventnor resident who, at age 26, can already claim eight years as a professional mixologist and amateur advice dispenser.
Lately St. George’s has also bolstered its entertainment slate. Currently a revolving list of the area’s top local entertainers performs in the main bar area every Friday night, starting with mellow classics around 6pm that blend well with the dinner crowd, then morphing into a more nightlife-ish feel later in the evening.
The truth is, our region has been a live-music mecca since the early 1900s, when cats like Eubie Blake and Eddie Cantor hung out for summers and performed at local clubs. Decades later the Atlantic City jazz scene was as hot as they come, with internationally heralded performers from Billy Eckstine and Louis Armstrong playing residencies at some of the hottest clubs on the East Coast, namely the venues on Atlantic City’s fabled Kentucky Avenue — all of them are gone now — including the Club Harlem.
"The Local Music Guide is a great idea. I believe it’s very important for the musicians to work together and support each other, rather than just protect their own ‘piece of the pie.’ The South Jersey music scene seems to be growing stronger and stronger, and hopefully this guide will make it easier for all involved — clubs, fans and musicians alike — to continue that growth and bring back the ‘glory days’ once more.”
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