The Oaklyn Manor bar has been in operation for 90 years, and recently the owners of the beloved local tavern completed an upgrade to the outdoor patio bar… a space which hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1976!
I caught up with owner Lisa earlier this morning who is excited to let customers and fans of the bar know that the patio bar is back open for business after a several month upgrade project.
The revamped space offers a larger bar area with more stools, a more open space, additional televisions, better lighting and more! And there are still more upgrades to come!
The Oaklyn Manor Bar and Grill is located on the corner of W Clinton Ave and Manor Ave.
There is a municipal parking lot across the street, and a block of small businesses including the original Tonewood brewery (which is still operating) are next to “The Manor”.
Read on for more about the new patio upgrades, the full bar and grill tour, and hear how 30 years ago the staff and customers of the Oaklyn Manor SAVED THE WORLD!!
Oaklyn Manor Bar – Patio Upgrades
The old patio bar was always a favorite spot, but it did bring some challenges to customers and staff.
Originally opened in 1976, it gradually evolved into a bar area that was somewhat small in places, had a low angled roof over top of the bar which somewhat gave a feeling of being closed in, and the televisions were way overdue for an upgrade (plus more were needed!).
Not to mention the 50 years of electrical, plumbing and heating “improvements” which had long outlived their full usefulness.
So the challenge for Lisa and her team was to balance the need to upgrade the patio bar area while still holding on to that original charm that customers were comfortable with in the Oaklyn Manor.
The patio bar needed to offer a better experience for customers and staff, while still also making you feel like you were chillaxing in a Key West bar on Duval Street.
The first thing you’ll likely notice entering the patio bar area is it just feels more open and larger… which is even more interesting because they didn’t add any square footage, plus they also increased the size of the actual bar.
It will take a minute to realize that the angled patio roof that was positioned above the bar is now gone, which allowed them to raise up the headroom quite a bit.
While it was a signature feature for the space, it hung lower in the center of the room and just seemed to clog things up.
it truly was a style-design of the 70s!
With the center-room angled roof segment gone and headroom extended almost to the ceiling, it makes the room feel larger with better “site lines”. From any seat you can see across to the rest of the room.
The second thing you’ll likely say is “hey wait a minute, the bar Itself just seems bigger. The bar top is bigger, right?”
yes it is!
With some smart realigning of back section of the patio space, Lisa and her contractors were able to extend the bar to support six additional barstools.
The L-shaped bar now extends further down closer to the back brick wall, with an even more-open area above the bar to the ceiling.
The Oaklyn Manor patio bar was always a fun place to hang out at but due to its smaller size and configuration it felt like it was a little bit more of a afterthought add-on 50 years ago.
Now the patio bar feels like its own substantial bar experience.
The other advantage of removing the angled roof over top the bar, is that it gave the space and distance needed to place additional televisions in the patio area… at a comfortable viewing angle.
Lisa told me about an observation she had during last Fall’s Phillies Playoff and World Series run, where in the area she has now added the new bar section, there was just one TV and dozens of customers all crowding around to see the action.
Today that same vantage point offers 4 large screen televisions and another one on the brick back wall!
All told there are seven new televisions in the patio bar space.
Lisa also took the care to add hooks under the bar front for hanging pocketbooks, as well as several outlets with USB charger jacks built in.
New suspended lighting follows the lines of the bar, as well as new ceiling fans and heaters.
The upgraded patio bar is now open and it is currently enclosed with the rigid glass wall panels around the edge of the roofed space that the Manor has always had for cooler weather.
Those panels will stay in place until Kentucky Derby day in May, when the panels are removed and the patio bar becomes a full outdoor bar.
The Kentucky Derby is a big deal at the Oaklyn Manor, with the bar becoming our own local headquarters for the festivities of the premier horse racing event.
For those who have visited the Oaklyn Manor previously, you know there is an outdoor dining area just past the patio bar, which will also be opening again this year during Derby Weekend.
Together the patio bar and dining area make for a really awesome outdoor experience, tucked away up on a small hill in the heart of Camden County.
It’s like a secret little grotto with great drinks and delicious food.
Lisa tells me though there is a phase two of the project still to come. She plans on replacing the existing 3-season removable panels with a permanent glass and slider implementation, which will allow them to operate the patio bar space in all four Seasons.
Once completed “The Manor” will have the flexibility to open the patio space up to let the beautiful weather in when it’s warmer, or close things up tightly for all-year-round enjoyment.
They do have beers on tap behind the patio bar, but Lisa says she plans on adding an additional tap section soon.
Oaklyn Manor – 3 Bars, 2 Dining Areas, 1 Beloved Local Spot
The Oaklyn Manor is not an overly large space, so it’s amazing to think about the distinctive experiences that it offers.
There are literally five sections and experiences at the Oaklyn Manor.
Starting at the corner of the block, the front bar still remains a very popular place any day of the week for meeting up with friends, watching the games, or enjoying some delicious wings and cheese fries.
And 30 years ago this is the place where bartender Tim and several customers saved the world!
In 1991 the the tabloids were reporting that over in China, the 1.3 billion residents of the nation planned to jump in place on September 27th,1991 in an attempt to knock the earth from its orbit!
Tim and the crew at the Oaklyn Manor heard this story and decided to plan their own jump on the opposite side of the earth in Oaklyn NJ, to counter the effects of China’s plans!
The Manor team planned to go outside and jump, at the same time the residents in China were going to jump!
The fact that I am writing this story today is evidence that the Oaklyn Manor crew saved the world!!
The front bar is absolutely the cornerstone of the establishment. This area has not really seen much change in many decades… it’s a classic.
And if the Manor is open, than the front room U-shaped bar will be open!
The next room in line is the front half of a larger space which is set up as a main dining area.
The Oaklyn Manor has always been known for having delicious bar food, and countless guests visit regularly for lunch, dinner or late night snacks.
The next section (the other half of the large room) also features some dining tables but offers a second bar… including more televisions!
Stepping outside leads us to the newly upgraded patio bar, and then pass that is the open air dining section.
The Oaklyn Manor is open six days a week (closed on Mondays), and Tuesdays is their popular Tuesday Taco and trivia day.
Stop in to check out the updated patio bar, have some delicious food, say hi to Lisa and her crew, and be sure to thank bartender Tim who is still there 30 years later for his Heroic efforts in saving the world!
Links and Location
Oaklyn Manor Bar and Grill
198 W Clinton Ave
Oaklyn, NJ 08106