GPS Living Fall 2020

An interconnected group of Asbury Park hotspots is offer ing guests an exper ience that is designed to surpr ise. Complex Motivations V isiting Asbury Park often feels like a return to happy memories of the past—the seaside where I played as a kid, boardwalks that have led the way to exciting live music, venues where I attended beautiful beach weddings. But thanks to the area’s spectacular growth over the past two decades, this shore destination also feels au courant—alive with new places to enjoy, espe- cially when it comes to dining. T E X T PAUL HAGEN

BELOW: Loteria tempts with marvelous Mexican—including tongue-tingling tacos and magnificent margaritas. OPPOSITE: Pizza pairs perfectly with the scintillating small plates of Capitoline.

Some time ago, while out for a walk after visit- ing friends’ new home in the area, we came upon an eatery that seemed to beckon us with huge front windows. Above the door was a stylized picture of a wolf that hearkened back to Roman myth. This was Capitoline. Our friends suggested we all dive into the Italian restaurant’s selection of shareable small plates, and we did—enjoying the breeze amidst unfussy design and high ceil- ings. “We try to cultivate a relaxed and unassum- ing vibe to help set everyone at ease as soon as they walk in,” explained Aiden Ardine on behalf of the restaurant. He says many other guests have also reported being drawn in by the windows’ siren call—whether en route from the beach, headed to a train, or out for a stroll. After our party had finished passing around delicious selections such as burrata with hot honey and hand-dredged calamari with cherry pepper aioli, we navigated our way to the “se- cret passage” that leads from Capitoline to Bond Street Bar—a casual spot with low lighting and an eclectic crowd. This would turn out to be anoth- er stop in a series of three interconnected bars and restaurants known as The Complex. Ardine explained its genesis: “Pat Fasano re-opened the original Bond Street Bar nearly ten years ago,” he says—noting that its craveable bar fare, reason- ably-priced drinks and relaxed atmosphere quick- ly attracted regulars. “With more people coming to Asbury to live and work, it was the perfect time to capitalize and expand the business.”

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