By Tim Kelly
Just as we hope the Eagles play on Sunday the way they did all year to make it to the Super Bowl, we already know the Anchorage Tavern will be the Anchorage for the Big Game.
In other words, don’t expect anything special at the Bay Avenue, Somers Point landmark.
Which is exactly what makes “the Anch” so special in the first place.
Some would categorize Anchorage fare as “bar food” and the burgers and wings and sandwiches are definitely at the top of the food chain in that category. However, Mahoney and staff deliver it with flair — and they offer much more. Gourmet fresh seafood dishes, signature she-crab soup, gigantic fresh salads are just a few examples.
Mahoney showed off his own crab-stuffed flounder on the Food Network recently. How many “bar food” competitors offer that kind of plate?
The food is only part of the experience. Everything is served up in the ambience of a nearly 150-year-old building. and a diverse crowd that feels like family and close friends. Doctors and lawyers and white collar workers mingle and interact freely with construction workers and tradesmen. You will see just as many pickup trucks in the parking lot as you will BMWs.
The building itself has been operating almost continuously (a fire and reconstruction project closed it for a few months about 10 years ago) since 1875. an historical marker in front of the place designates the Victorian structure as being listed on the National Register for Historic Places.
Baby boomers have a fond remembrance of an earlier time when the bar famously sold seven beers for a dollar. A few of the old “Anchorage 7 for One” T-shirts are framed and hang on the walls, along with dozens of historic Jersey Shore photographs, press clippings and other memorabilia.
The Anchorage floor plan is almost as well thought out as the menu. A large, more formal dining room provides a quieter spot to eat away from the main bar, which is always lively.
There are smaller tables scattered around in the heart of the action, and the dining room is separated from the main area by a smaller side bar, what Edmonds calls “the adult bar.”
There’s also a pool table and a quaint porch providing bay views. On the weekends a few of the tables are moved out to create a dance floor, which the patrons take advantage of to the spins of local DJs.
No matter what kind of night out you’re looking for, the Anchorage will find a way to make it happen.
“I like it that Don walks the floor and greets every customer personally,” Edmonds says, “That means a lot when the owner takes a personal interest that your experience is a good one. They are geniuses at good customer service. Not just Don but the entire staff.”
“That’s because most members of the staff have been with us for years,” Mahoney says. “They get it.”
Even though the Super Bowl plans remain under wraps and Mahoney says New England fans will be welcomed, make no mistake about it: this is an Eagles bar.
“Most of our Eagles regulars will be here early, at their same tables in front of their same TV, and they know we are going to be ready for them.”
“We’re going to be cheering hard for the Eagles,” Mahoney said. “It’s about time somebody ended it for the Patriots. They’ve won it enough times already. This feels like its going to be our time.”
If that does turn out to be the case, the Anchorage is a great place to see it all unfold.