Mule Barn Tavern, Highlands

On a recent dreary, rainy, chilly late September afternoon, we drove out to the tip of Sandy Hook to the Fort Hancock area of the Gateway National Recreation Area to the 6-week-old Mule Barn Tavern. The building was used as a mule and horse barn when Fort Hancock was active. The structure itself dates back to pre-1900. The renovation of the building took quite some time and turned out great. Not only is the indoor space very cool, but the exterior was also preserved. So great to see another building saved that could have continued to deteriorate like many others at the Hook.

When we got there some tables were taken and a few folks at the bar. We chose to sit at the bar. There was also overflow tables and a bar on second floor, as well as an outdoor patio when the weather is nice. Based on the rather low number of people I think the first floor could get quite noisy when filled up - which apparently happens on weekends. There are numerous flat screens with sports and a sound system playing classic rock.

Our bartender, Adriana, was great. Not only attentive, but a lot of fun. As we checked out the menu, I ordered a Kane Head High ($8) on tap and my wife got a glass of the house Chardonnay ($8). She said the wine was good, but the pour was a little light. I decided to get the M.B.T. Classic Burger - swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and fries ($19). My wife ordered the Ahi Tuna Taco – coleslaw, radishes, jalapenos with Wasabi sauce ($21). I can’t speak about the taco price, but I thought the burger price was a little high.

OK to the food. My wife loved her tacos. Fresh ingredients, very tasty tuna and a good sized portion. My burger was huge, maybe 7oz. So, my thought about the price being a little high was wrong. I asked for medium, and it was cooked to perfection. It also had a nice little char to it as well. I am a burger snob and I have to say, this was one of the best burgers I have had. My only wish is that it was on a hard roll rather than the brioche bun. The fries were excellent as well.

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Bottom line. A fun place with very good bar food. Maybe a tad pricey, but worth it. The taco, burger, 2 wines and 1 beer came to $71.25 including tax and credit card fee (3% fee for using a credit card).

Went last Sunday night. 30 min wait at 5pm and you are correct it’s very loud.

Agree with your assessment of the burger it was very very good (had the industrial bacon/cheddar/onion ring). Food was solid all way around

Service was hit and miss some food out with 10 min wait for others in our party of 6 but hoping they can fix their service issues as time progresses.

I’ll go back but midweek and sit at bar. Too crowded/loud to be enjoyable for me but I guess some aren’t bothered by that


We went back with some friends from Michigan who were staying at a rental place at Ft. Hancock. It was Wednesday, October 19, around 1:40. The downstairs, both the bar and the all the tables was filled and very loud. We asked about the second floor and the hostess said it was not open. After waiting about 5 minutes, 2 couples came in and they opened the upstairs. Quiet, and very nice.

Three of us had burgers, three different kinds and they were excellent. My wife had the ahi tuna tacos. As with our last visit, the food was excellent.

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