When the only thing on the menu is free homemade popcorn, you know you’re in a real watering hole. Pint, on Wayne, right off Grove, is just that, and its hours are marathon, often staying open until 3 a.m. If you’re an insomniac and you wake up in the middle of the night and get a yen for a craft beer, head over to Pint. It’s also a popular spot for restaurant workers after their shifts.
The space is cozy and bright, with a chalkboard that runs the length of the bar and a collection of tap handles on a shelf above the small wooden booths. Each booth has a row of tap handles as part of the décor. Patrons can also sit on stools pulled up to high tables, each with a digital trivia game called Buzztime. An app called Rockbot allows participants to pick songs from a preapproved library of tunes.
There’s a free phone-charging station, and helpful hooks all over the place, especially under the bar where you can hang your coat and backpack, so they are safe and out of the way.
The bar, under various names, has been around since 1911; it’s been Pint for six years.
Tommy DeMaio has been managing Pint for five years. A Middletown native, he’d been casting around for a career, trying sports and finance. He decided to go to bartending school, and landed the Pint job as soon as he graduated. “I fell in love immediately,” he says. But it’s amazing he got the job at all after telling the boss that his favorite beer was Keystone. “I thought all beers were the same,” he admits.
On the wall is a mural painted with the words “Great American Craft Beers.”
Tommy’s responsible for updating the chalkboard, which features some 50 craft beers at any given time. Local breweries such as Departed Soles, New Jersey Beer Company, and Brix City are featured. If you’re not familiar with the craft offerings, helpful bartenders will steer you toward a beer that resembles a brand name that you’re familiar with. On Sundays, bottles go for as little as $3 or $4. And you can join the Pint Club for discounts all year long.
“Miller Lite” is code for a beer that you would never see at Pint. A popular bar game is solving the puzzles tucked inside the bottle caps of Lone Star Beer. If you’re not a beer drinker, there’s a full bar, giant fishbowl cocktails, and a selection of summer cocktails.
Though Pint boasts six TVs, note that there are no TVs in front of the bar. Management doesn’t want patrons staring dumbly at TV screens. It wants folks talking to each other and the bartenders, for that friendly, neighborly vibe that the bar gives off. “We want them to feel that this is their living room, but we don’t want them to feel they are by themselves,” Tommy says.
They’ll tune those other TVs to classic movies, and of course the Super Bowl, “but mainly for the halftime show,” Tommy jokes.
If popcorn isn’t going to do it for you, don’t worry, it’s BYOF. “We have no kitchen,” Tommy says, “but sometimes someone will bring home-cooked meals for the whole bar.” You can also bring in pizza or anything else that floats your boat.
Pint will host your party, with giveaways, including free T-shirts, hats, and sweatshirts. It has a slew of happy hours, as well as Martini Mondays, and live trivia night. At Christmas, in addition to holiday parties, Pint staff and customers buy gifts for hospitalized kids. And, get this, Pint is open on Christmas day.
The restrooms are marked “Sit” and “Stand,” a fun reminder that Pint has a diverse clientele, though it’s often thought of as a gay guy’s bar. “Gay, straight, we aim to please,” Tommy says. “Boys, girls, everyone is welcome.”—Kate Rounds
34 Wayne St.