January 14, 2020

Landmark pub renovated, Reef & Barrel hits the shore

Edgar’s Pub renovation includes new menu, atmosphere & name

by Sean O’Brien, Star News Group

MANASQUAN — The list of Irish pubs in the area has gotten just a little shorter. One of the area’s Irish-themed restaurants, Edgar’s Pub, located at 153 Sea Girt Avenue in Manasquan, has reopened after several months of renovations that have changed the bar and restaurant from top to bottom. The Irish theme has been replaced with a brand-new menu and a re-branding that aims at bringing the best of what Edgar’s always offered. Brothers Bob and Chris Fahey have been the owners of Edgar’s Pub since 2009 and are the driving force behind the recent renovations and re-branding.

The change from Edgar’s to Reef & Barrel was not a spontaneous decision, but was instead a carefully planned course of action.

“Edgar’s had a long history,” Bob Fahey said. “We bought Edgar’s in 2009 with the intention of changing the name when we initially bought it.”

The process of buying Edgar’s took a bit longer than expected, and the deal was not finalized until May 2009. The decision was made to keep the name Edgar’s Pub for the first summer.

To their surprise, they had a terrific first summer with Edgar’s and decided against their initial plans to re-brand.

“As the years went on,” Bob Fahey said, “we kept noticing more and more that the building needed a lot of work, and we had finally gotten to a point financially where we were able to put a significant amount of money into the place.”

It was at this point that the Faheys realized they could comfortably make the changes they initially wanted during the renovation process.

“I said to my brother, ‘We have an opportunity to change this place; if we don’t do it now, it will be Edgar’s forever,’” Bob Fahey said.

It was important for the brothers to maintain the same atmosphere and offer a similar variety of options, featuring new and old items.

“The burger is still the same,” which is important for anyone who has had a delicious burger at Edgar’s before, as you can have an equally delicious burger,”Bob Fahey said.

Although you can get the same burger, you can also order from a completely new menu that includes many options presented with a tide theme.

For starters, you can enjoy surf nachos, Squan skewers or Eddie’s wings from the “low tide” portion of the menu. The “spring tide,” “mixed tide” and “high tide” portions of the menu offer entrees from lighter to heavier fare. Those options include salads, paninis, wraps, seafood selections of mussels, salmon and clam linguine, as well as filet mignon, pasta and stir fry dishes. The “tide pool” offers a selection of sides to compliment meals, and the “ebb tide”presents dessert options. Barrel burgers and mini barrel burgers also take center stage on this new menu.

The restaurant theme is now nautical, and that is where the new name stems from.

“The name itself, Reef & Barrel, comes from two nautical terms,” Bob Fahey said.

Part of the interior renovations has transformed the darker feel of an Irish pub to a light and beachy feel. The walls and ceilings have all been repainted and the wood trim on the walls in the bar and in the bar room seating area is all new.

The wood trim is reminiscent of the siding of a shore shack that has endured the salty breeze off the shore.

“What we did with the wood trim is we painted it gray, then we painted it white, and then we hand sanded it ourselves to give it a distressed feel,” said Bob Fahey.

The brand-new wooden tables were built by a friend of Bob Fahey’s, Jason Stevens.

The three momentous additions to the restaurant come in the form of the bar, the dining room and the rooftop dining area.

“This bar is a brand-new granite bar that fits very well with our theme,” Bob Fahey said. The white with pale streaks of blue bar matches the color scheme of the restaurant. Further, as Bob Fahey said, “It looks like the ocean floor might from up above.”

“This was a big job,” Bob Fahey said, in reference to the bar. “This is the centerpiece to the room, and we really wanted this to be a showcase — and it came out very nicely.”

The other major change is the dining room. They did not renovate the room, but instead tore it down and rebuilt a beautiful dining room. The widened entry that connects the dining room and the bar area helps create a brighter atmosphere in the bar

“We wanted to open it up to have more of a one-room kind of feel with this entry,” said Bob Fahey.

The obvious addition is the rooftop deck that will hopefully be opening in July.

“We’ll be on the council meeting for June 30,” said Bob Fahey, “where we will hopefully be granted the permission to extend our license up there.”

According to Bob Fahey, “The rooftop will be primarily for dining purposes. The capacity up there is 40 people, and we will be strict with enforcing that rule. Of course, people will want to go up and socialize and have a cocktail, but the focus of that area is primarily for dining purposes. There won’t be a full-service bar, just a service bar.”

Though the town of Sea Girt has expressed its opposition, Bob Fahey remained optimistic as Manasquan has helped a lot and been very patient, understanding and helpful throughout the process.

“Every project always runs into some trouble somewhere along the way, and this is what we have dealt with, but we have not changed our vision or goals since the start of the project,” Bob Fahey said. “We opened by Memorial Day which was our main concern.”

Despite the setbacks, Bob Fahey said they have opened to resounding praise from both new and returning customers, and they are looking forward to yet another successful summer at the Jersey Shore.

“Edgar’s was always praised for its food,” said Bob Fahey, “but I always said that it needed a new establishment.”

Reef & Barrel aims to provide that new establishment for great food and drink.

Bob Fahey said, “We want customers to feel comfortable to come in a bathing suit and flip flops if they want, or to feel free to wear a suit.”