Baker’s Port Hole Cafe
1620 Long Beach Blvd, Ship Bottom, Long Beach Island, NJ
Hours: 11am – 2am
I’ll admit, I’ve always had a little bit of a bias towards the Port Hole. I’ve spent my whole life on Long Beach Island, and I had never been in this bar before tonight. Frankly, I never felt the need to. I’ve got a couple of go-to bars at the south end of the island, nowhere near the Port Hole. And it just never looked like anything special. But that’s the thing about dive bars. Their looks can be deceiving. So tonight, I put all preconceived notions aside, and decided to do my duty as a dive blogger.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the Port Hole was the décor. In true dive fashion, there was almost no theme to the shit hanging on the wall. With the exception of a map of LBI, a few black-and-white photographs of old ships (staples of every establishment on the island), and a few other relics of times-gone-by down the shore, nearly everything else displayed around the room was seemingly arbitrary. I was happy to see a functioning pool table, plus
three video arcade games: Crazy Taxi, Buck Hunt, and Galaga.
I was seated at the bar for a few minutes before the bartender came over to take my order. He must’ve been weeded by the whopping eight other people who were in the building. My order was simple: a pint of Yuengling and a roast beef sandwich. The sign outside of the Port Hole reads, “World Famous Roast Beef,” so I figured that’s what I’d order. And shit, I’m glad I did. Although $8.95 for any sandwich on a kaiser roll is a bit steep, this thing is worth every penny. Between the bun is a generous portion of roast beef, with your choice of cheese (Provolone, American, Swiss, or Cheddar). On the side is an enormous helping of sweet peppers, with a cup of au jus. The au jus was delicious. I could’ve drank that shit straight. And god damn, I’ve never had better sweet peppers in my life. I guess there’s a reason they claim this sandwich is world famous.
I left Baker’s Port Hole Cafe full and happy. Although the bartender barely noticed I was there (I don’t think he made eye contact with me once), I’m glad I finally penetrated this [port] hole. If you’re ever in the Ship Bottom section of Long Beach Island, and hankering for a cold beer and some good grub, this place is your best bet. It’s certainly not the best bar on Long Beach Island, but it’s probably the best one on the northern half of the island. Bring cash, the Port Hole doesn’t accept credit cards.
Food and Drink Specials: Happy Hour: 3pm – 7pm, Mon-Fri
The Bottom Line: The best place for a beer and a sandwich for a couple miles in either direction. If you’re going to be closer to Beach Haven, just go to the Hudson House. Cash only. ATM on site.