So did everyone go to Hot Rods and Harleys on Saturday? As you can see, my friend Batman stopped by for the festivities. Between Friday’s monsoon and Sunday’s gray skies and rain, we really lucked out with the weather.
My “entourage” and I managed to hit up four of the six most popular bars, as voted on by Rahway Rising readers, while we strolled downtown. You could say the crowds at each bar were fairly representative of the poll results (which topped the last poll for most votes, by one), at least while we were there. The Waiting Room was packed Saturday, Cubanu had its share of groups coming and going, Luciano’s quieted down by the time we were seated along the sidewalk, and we wrapped up with dinner at Flynn’s.
In the days after the poll was posted, The Waiting Room jumped out to a huge lead and was consistently above 50 percent of the votes for nearly the entire two weeks. It really became a race for second place after that, with two newcomers, Cubanu and Luciano’s, faring pretty well against some old-school joints, Bachmann’s and Butch Kowal’s.
What’s your favorite bar in Rahway?
49 percent, The Waiting Room (38/77)
14 percent, Cubanu (11/77)
10 percent, Flynn’s (8/77)
6 percent, Bachmann’s (5/77)
6 percent, Butch Kowal’s (5/77)
5 percent, Luciano’s (4/77)
2 percent, Firehouse (2/77)
2 percent, Other (2/77)
1 percent, El Toro (1/77)
1 percent, Rocky’s (1/77)
0 percent, Koza’s
0 percent, Mango’s
So, how did you decide which bar to vote for? Atmosphere? Beer selection? People? The bartenders?
The Waiting Room: They have surprisingly good cheesecake. When I want a gin and tonic in a pint glass, this is where I go. Same goes for when I’m just looking for a beer and a ballgame. It just seems like this is where you go if you live downtown, or even if you don’t. Though the TVs behind the bar seem to be at an awkward angle; a touch too high and too close, or is it just me? But I do like the big screen they put it on the other side. For those new to town, the photo at right is where The Waiting Room was located (Lewis and Irving streets) before it moved to East Cherry Street.
Cubanu: The reincarnation of the former Eighty Eights/Fat Tuesday’s has been good to me when I’ve visited, but I know a few people who’ve had occasional complaints about service and food. Still, it’s a nice addition to the downtown mix of places.
Flynn’s: Every town needs an Irish pub. Like The Waiting Room, Flynn’s is one of those places that’s stuck around amidst the changes downtown, so for that, it gets a thumbs up from me. Technically, it’s also one of the few places downtown that has outdoor seating.
Luciano’s: The newest bar/restaurant downtown, Luciano’s got a pretty favorable review in The New York Times this weekend. Someone also found the blog yesterday via a Web search for Luciano’s and “hot pants.” Though some friends aren’t crazy about Luciano’s, I like the lounge area and occasional live music.
Firehouse: Not sure I’ve been there enough times to really comment. Though I do appreciate the theme, the food is so-so the few times I’ve eaten, but they have some good bar specials and plenty of room in that department.
As for the other places, I’ve only stopped in for packaged goods at Kowal’s and have heard good things about the sandwiches at Bachmann’s. All I can say about Rocky’s is that I drive by it pretty regularly. Anyone else want to chime in? We’re open to any suggestions on new polls, but let us know what you thought about Hot Rods and Harleys in this week’s poll.