Asbury Park is well known for its music scene, and one of the music venues that has risen in popularity, loved by locals and visitors alike is the Asbury Park Wonder Bar. This popular night club has been around since 2002 and, like the Stone Pony, has been linked to famous artists like Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, among many others. Located steps from the Asbury Park Boardwalk and beach, the bar is easy to spot – just look for Tillie’s smiling face to find The Wonder Bar.
One of the most unique attractions of this music venue is called “Yappy Hour.” Open every week during the summer months, “Yappy Hour” allows dog owners to bring their furry friends to the bar for drinks and socialization. There’s even a doggie pool for pups to cool off in on hot summer days. With a large fenced in area, agility course, and even a “time out” spot for those dogs needing to unwind, dogs big and small can run around and play while their owners enjoy a nice cold drink and food. The $10 entrance fee is donated to animal rescues and shelters, and the Yappy Hour Facebook page often reposts adoptable dogs as well as any updates on events or closures.
In addition to Yappy Hour, the Wonder Bar is of course also known for its fantastic live music events, hosting singers and bands from a variety of genres. The bar has a state of the art sound system and large dance floor which is a perfect combo to truly enjoy any live music experience. With a capacity to house 2,000 people, the Wonder Bar knows how to draw a crowd and have a good time. The show line up can be found on the Wonder Bar’s calendar. Seasoned bands as well as new ones can be found on stage every weekend. The bar is also an important part of the Asbury Park community and often hosts benefit shows.
Food at the Wonder Bar
Not only does the Wonder Bar have great live music and is dog-friendly, they also have some tasty food on their menu. Visitors can find classic food from wings, nachos, chicken fingers, and of course the mouth watering Wonder Burger. They also have a pretty wide variety of beer, both bottled or on tap, as well as cocktails and wine.
Art at the Wonder Bar
Another part of the appeal of the Wonder Bar is it’s also home to some of the most unique decorations and murals in Asbury Park. One large mural that is hard to miss is the smiling face on the building. As one of the most recognizable Jersey Shore symbols, Tillie’s face used to be located at the Palace Amusements building, but after being torn down the Wonder Bar painted their own rendition on their building in order to keep the tradition alive. The deck in the back is named after the mural as “Tillie’s Landing.” Other murals, brightly colored walls, and decorations throughout the bar add to its quirky and fun atmosphere.
Rich History of Live Music
The Wonder Bar is managed by music legend Lance Larson and his partner Debbie DeLisa. Lance Larson is a Jersey boy born and raised and has been a part of the local Asbury Park music scene for many years. Larson is known for his passion for music and his commitment to preserving the unique culture and history of Asbury Park.
Opening the bar in 2002 with no liquor license and little funding, Larson and DeLisa managed the space as a non-alcoholic venue, hosting charity events and other community gatherings. A few years after opening, two investors saw the potential in the Wonder Bar and financed several improvements to the space and revamped it with the intention of being able to host amazing live music events, hence the sound system and stage set up.
Overall, the Wonder Bar is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in music, history, and culture. It remains a beloved institution in Asbury Park, known for its lively atmosphere, unique decor, and commitment to preserving the city’s rich history and culture. Whether you’re a fan of live music or just looking for a unique spot to grab a drink with your furry friend, the Wonder Bar is sure to delight.