If you’ve ever shlepped all the way to the Shore to find you forgot your chair or towel, or are dismayed to find the beach entirely too crowded, you might want to consider joining a private beach club.
The Beach Club at Avenue in Long Branch has been open for nearly two decades. Avenue members get access to lounge chairs and towels, private cabanas with day beds and private showers, a locker room, and food and beverage service.
On a recent unseasonably warm weekend in May, I ventured to Monmouth County to check out this club with my fellow beach lovers—my sister, Michelle, and my niece, Chloe.
We arrived in Long Branch’s bustling Pier Village, with its fabulous shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, the club doesn’t provide parking, so we found a garage a block away that cost us $30 for the day.
We walked through Avenue Le Club, a wonderful French beachfront restaurant, to get to the beach club. We were led down a sandy walkway, past palm trees and turquoise lounge chairs, to our personal cabana, topped with a striped awning. Inside, there was an inviting daybed, a small fridge and a tiny back room with a personal shower and changing area.
Our adorable waitress brought over towels for our lounge chairs and soon came back to take our lunch order. I feasted on delicious avocado toast with grilled asparagus, roasted heirloom tomatoes and pickled red onions, while my sister and niece shared a smoked salmon sandwich, with crème fraiche on a bagel, and a side of French fries. Also on the menu: sandwiches, salads and a raw bar with oysters, shrimp and clams. There was no lemonade available, but the bartender generously made one for my sister from scratch.
Bathrooms are inside the restaurant, but that gives you a chance to check out the tiny-yet-luxurious rooftop pool, with views of the coastline and Long Branch. Lounge chairs and a fire pit add to the experience, along with a bar at the nearby indoor lounge. The rooftop currently closes at 5 pm, but is slated to open as a nightlife lounge in July.
Back on the beach, I noticed a couple nearby that was also enjoying the sunny day. Tom Uschok and Elena Tormey live in Hoboken for most of the year but have a condo in Long Branch, which they visit in the summer. This marks the second year they’ve been members at Avenue, and they love it.
“We like that we don’t have to lug beach towels and chairs to the beach, and we don’t have to pack a lunch,” says Tormey. “The overall convenience of being members here is fantastic.” They also like to bring friends to the club when they’re in town.
The club is now open, from 10 am to 7 pm, until September 4. Members also receive a wristband to access the public beach. (The only downside to the club, in my opinion, is the loud music that its DJ plays throughout the day.)
Membership for the season starts at $4,200 plus tax for families, and $2,700 plus tax for individuals. Cabanas cost extra. Members may bring guests, starting at $15 each.
For more information, visit Avenue’s website.
23 Ocean Ave N., Long Branch; 732-759-2900.