By way of preface - I feel the same way about drinks that I do about food. Use good ingredients and execute properly. I enjoy a pre-dinner martini. A real martini, your grandfather's martini, Cary Grant's martini. Gin, vermouth, olives, served in a modest sized martini glass. It's not alot to ask for, but somehow, it's becoming impossible to procure.
Last night at the Shipwreck, I settled for a No. 10 martini, as, like most bars in the state, they can't be bothered to stock a couple of premium gins (however, they do have 30 diffrerent vodkas even though vodka has no discernable flavor and therefore all of those premium brands taste pretty much the same!) Due to turnover, the Shipwreck no longer has professional bartenders. Upon taking my order, the drink preparer took a break from discussing hair coloring techniques with her partner, filled a shaker with ice, poured in some Gin, shook it vigorously, and used another shaker to strain it into a giant glass (along with some ice). When I aksed what happened to the vermouth, I was informed that most people order their martinis without so she doesn't use any!
As I was sitting directly in front of the station where the two young ladies were mixing, I noticed the following: shakers reused after dumping out the contents without even rinsing them out (I watched this happen drink after drink), olive juice added to vodka martinis whether the customer ordered them "dirty" or not, the vermouth bottle never left the rail, and a couple of ice cubes dropping into almost every drink as the cocktails were strained between shakers.
So now, I posit the question. Are there any good bars in Central Jersey? Real bars? Professional bartenders? Perhaps, dare I ask, even a place where Beefeater isn't the best gin?