Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Monday, December 24, 2012

Is Gonzo a Sumerian?

Joe (L.), Gonzo (R.)

As the theme of this blog indicates, The PubScout gives great credit to the Sumerians, who invented both writing AND beer. So when one of my trusted Subscouts, already seasoned in the latter, wants to try his hand at the former, am I not obligated to showcase his growing passion for writing?


But I will for a few reasons. First, Gonzo is a good, trusted friend. Second he's a wrestling guy. Third, he loves good beer. And fourth, he's developing his writing to discuss that good beer. 

Even though the PubScout may be blissfully ignorant of some of his "urban references," here's Gonzo's take on our recent visit to the Rail House Pub in Rahway. Give the guy some encouragement, and spread the word that you can read his stuff here. 

And no, I did not pay him (much) for the comment about the Belgian Monks...

Lucky Day, Lucky Day--by John "Gonzo" Gonzalez

It’s not often a man can count himself lucky especially in this day and age….but to be able say it twice…and in one day…Whoo-ie! But it is true. Surviving the Mayan catastrophe is no small feat and to come out unscathed is a true blessing. Good thing the Mayans held their beverages to a higher standard than their chronometers.

  My second dance with lady luck brings me to the main point. I am blessed with a great friend in Tony Dalmau (Big Tony D) – not only is he a brother from another, he’s a terrific wrestling coach, and a huge fan of BEER. So when he told me of this new place opening in Rahway I had to go see it. 

The Rail House Restaurant is conveniently located in Rahway’s downtown Arts District across from New Jersey Transit’s North Jersey Coast and North East Corridor train line. Excellent product placement if you ask me. It is an interesting establishment to say the least. The Rail House consists of two buildings: the restaurant and the pub. Both are exquisitely decorated. The former has a cozy lived-in feel, perfect for a romantic dinner and the latter has the exposed brick and sufficient dark wood that reminds you that you are in a pub without the showy fancy fare of a chain eatery.  In order to make the trip official, I enlisted the help of the PubScout, Kurt Epps. Yeah, he’s the guy the Dos Equis spokesman once said, “the Belgian Monks pray to him for their brewing guidance!” 

Friday night fresh off our win against the Apocalypse, Kurt and I headed straight for the Rail House and sat with its front man, manager Allan Maslo. The discussion covered the many avenues new bars travel; beer selections from local craft brewers, menu pairings, and decor. Somewhere between local bands and future events my mind started to wander.  I examined every inch of the bar, wall to wall exposed brick, the floor to ceiling glass wall that allows you to play voyeur to the commuters schlepping home, and the sizable selection of brews on tap. 

That’s right, I’ve abandoned the initial mission to recon this place for the masses.  I went native, straight off the reservation. I was sizing this place up to see if it had the potential to become Gonzo’s new watering hole. I peered over my shoulder to the rear of the Rail House and I noticed plenty of foot traffic. As I sauntered over and investigated, I found an amazing little open-air back patio complete with a cozy fire pit and seating for all my friends. There is also a twenty foot bar that can accommodate sixteen patrons, can you say “Beer Garden?” Allan can, and he said you can too this Spring. 

The patio had the mystique of a Hoboken-esque bar/lounge. Simple hanging lights adorned the entire perimeter which is lined by the brick facades of the surrounding buildings. Yes, very cool indeed. Before I returned to the bar, I noticed the quick step hustle and bustle of the wait staff. They were shuffling appetizers and entrees between the home base Rail House restaurant and the pub. 
Something told me it was time to eat. 

It has been said, “the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and with the selections and the prices, the Rail House had me falling head over heels. With ten burger options ranging from $5.95 to $9.95 and all cooked to perfection and piled high with choices like sirloin steak, pulled pork, chili, fried plantains, and pork rinds. Yes, pork rinds. The piece de resistance, toasted pretzel bread bun, fantastic!

Now with the burger, beer had to follow and I selected Lagunitas IPA. Great choice, a real no brainer, and not because of the quality but because of the price. Maslo has really done his research and he understands his clientele, by providing great beers and a gourmet menu at reasonable prices the Rail House is sure to pack them in. He has prepared for the commuters, the college students, the local music fans, and the beer aficionados; he is confident that patrons can come in with $20 in their pocket, enjoy a great appetizer, a fine beer or two, and leave with change in their pocket. DONE! 

Regardless of the occasion, I am confident your experience will be thoroughly fulfilling.

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