I'm finishing up bar visits for New Jersey Breweries, the next guidebook, which I'm co-authoring with Mark Haynie. It's all for the book, of course, but one place I stopped yesterday was just so good, I had to share.
Good call. Helmers' has a great tap selection, split between craft and German imports. I had an Ettaler Kloster Dunkel (smooth, malty, with an edge of roastiness...God, I hope it's not just Sinamar...) that tasted so nice I decided to throw the schedule in the dumper (I skipped an Irish joint in Secaucus instead...do I really need to tell people about just another Irish pub?) and have lunch. I got a sauerbraten sandwich, which was tender and tangy, with fresh-cut fries that I had to restrain myself from finishing.
But Helmers' is more than just beer and food. A very nice selection of spirits sat on the classy backbar, and the bartender was smooth and professional. I was very happy to see a hand-operated juice press not just prominently displayed but being used regularly; there's just nothing like fresh juices in cocktails.