Area’s Newest Water Spot Hits All the Right Notes

By GINA G. SCALA | Jul 24, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Stafford Township, NJ — On a hot summer night when even the beach is burning, the easiest thing to do is barricade family and friends in the house with air conditioning blasting and Netflix or something else streaming to the television. Don’t do it! Instead, opt to spend some time – and it doesn’t have to be a long time if you just can’t bear the heat – at the newest, coolest (both in temperature and trend) waterfront spot in the Long Beach Island region: The Boatyard.

Located on Bonnet Island off the Causeway to LBI, its expanse of open dockside ground facing Barnegat Bay for the most part is an opposites-attract look and feel with a distinct Key West kind of vibe under a large, white tent surrounded with planned landscaping that, along with fans, keeps the inside of the tent cool. The décor is about as cool as it gets in these parts, too; think vintage sport boats meeting on-trend industrial bar stools (and in bright yellow, too).

Then there’s the music. Ah yes, the music. It reaches every individual, human and canine, before their eyes get a chance to adjust to their surroundings. It’s as soothing as it is enticing and dance-worthy. What the music isn’t is overpowering, allowing the din of voices from family, friends, neighbors and visitors to be the soundtrack of what could become a perfect summer night despite the weather. On a recent Friday, there wasn’t a whole lot of room to dance, but that didn’t stop some from grooving their way to food trailers.

Ray Cerwinski, a project manager for Mercer Management, which is developing the site of the former Causeway Boat Rentals and Marina, described the venue as a “backyard party – every day.”

He isn’t wrong. From the basketball court near the end of one of three parking areas to corn toss, there is something for every member of the family – even the family dog is welcome.

“We want people to feel like they’re coming home,” Cerwinski said.

With food trucks boasting both classic all-American and seafood fare, Cerwinski called the food selections “good, familiar.” Whether it’s a classic burger or shrimp tacos, prepare to be dazzled by taste and simplicity.

Recently there was something extra, a pop-up of sorts, from the catering company Oyster House at Home. Trained attendants served oysters and clams with the accoutrements from the mobile shucking station as they do when people hire Oyster House at Home for their own party. The service is an outreach of Terrace Tavern and Delaware Avenue Oyster House.

Whatever your food selection, there’s a variety of beers on tap, including Ship Bottom The Shack IPA, 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon, and Corona Premier; canned beers include Asbury Park Stout, Narragansett Lager, Corona, and Kaliber non-alcoholic beer. Not a beer drinker? There’s Tito’s Vodka Lemonade, Cuervo Margarita, and Prosecco as well as cocktails, such as Fishers Island Lemonade, Fling Cucumber Lime Gin and Half-Seas Daiquiri.

Come by land or sea – just make sure to check out the area’s largest, most consistent backyard party. You might be surprised who you find there; then again, you might not.

— Gina G. Scala

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