Located in Shippan, Brennan's is nestled away in an otherwise quiet, residential neighborhood. With a block party mentality, Brennan's has become an iconic hangout after Fourth of July fireworks (save for 2007) and truly embraces a small town relationship with The City that Works year round.
Establishment. Brennan's has all the makings of a neighborhood bar, from its secluded location to its old-fashioned charm and welcoming atmosphere equipped with TVs, darts, and plenty of regulars. Brennan's normally offers both indoor and outdoor seating, however, the smallish dining room was far from sufficient for our large party of six and while the patio was very comfortable, it still felt like an afterthought, furnished with cheap nesting PVC tables and chairs. Nonetheless, the service was as personable as one would expect of such an intimate locale, albeit a bit on the inattentive side at times. Brennan's menu is severely limited to regular bar fare including wings, burgers, salads, sandwiches, personal pizzas and little else.
Pizza. Having sampled many bar pies by now, we found this pizza particularly refreshing as it actually tasted good and might be the first grilled pie we've tried. Brennan's crust was thin and chewy, with a uniquely strong flavor imparted by the grill. This paired very, very well with the cheese, which was phenomenally gooey and absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the sauce, which was proportioned so sparingly that we could barely taste it, let alone rate it. The grill also afforded this pizza a unique consistency: charred and cracker-like on the bottom with an otherwise light, airy consistency throughout. Unique wasn't necessarily better, as it seemed to detract from the overall quality of this pie. Our toppings of "choice," bacon and hamburger, weren't bad, but they certainly weren't anything special (Brennan's ran out of our actual choice toppings, sausage and pepperoni). Overall, we were impressed with this pizza despite its shortcomings and damning "bar pie" identity.
The bottom line. While not the easiest restaurant to find, Brennan's is a homey (albeit cramped) neighborhood pub with one of the best bar pies in town.
Hits the Spot: 7.8/10
Large Cheese: $6.00 (10")
2009 – Surprisingly Good