Empire Sports Bar & Grill is coming to the Clancy’s Pub property in Brooklawn, NJ. The new owner of the property is Derviş Aktürk of the Empire Diner and he will continue to operate both restaurants, offering a different menu and experience in the two very close eateries. We spoke to Derviş on Sunday night, and he shared some of his exciting plans for the property!
Owner Derviş tells us he plans on reopening the Bar Restaurant as soon as all final approvals are completed, and will then work on his remodeling and expansion plans. In the early design wish list are a sports bar, upgraded restaurant, larger outdoor patio area and… a new construction dance club area!
The Empire Sports Bar & Grill will be at 304 Crescent Boulevard (The old Clancy’s Pub), which sits at the intersection of the busy Route 130 and the upgraded Old Salem Road intersection and traffic light. Old Salem Road has become a much more heavily traveled road after the the “Creek Road to Brooklawn Circle” access was removed by the State.
And yes if you weren’t aware, the Clancy’s Brooklawn location closed a few weeks ago. Clancy’s still operates their Somers Point full bar location, and the seasonal Ocean City Boardwalk location.
Empire Sports Bar & Grill Plans
With the success of the Empire diner at the Brooklawn circle, owner Derviş had been looking for other opportunities to expand his… Empire!
While he shared a story or two of other properties that he looked at, it was Clancy’s that made the most sense for him.
He tells us he walked into Clancy’s one day not too long ago, checked out the set-up and thought about what he would do to improve it if he owned it.
And simply asked “Is the owner available?”
Soon after a deal was made… and the plans kicked into place for Empire Sports Bar & Grill.
While his two restaurants will be close to each other, he plans on offering different menus and experiences at the two eateries… and having the two restaurants so close together will surely make it easier for him to keep tabs on both properties. I bet Derviş will be driving around the Brooklawn Circle a lot!
Reopening FIRST Mostly As-Is
Derviş has big plans for the property which include a larger outdoor deck area, and more entertainment space! More on that in a few.
But those plans and approvals are going to take some time to get together, so he will first be reopening Clancy’s mostly as it was previously, while adding some additional exterior lighting to the main entrance of the building to brighten things up.
This soft-opening trial run will also allow him to get more familiar with the building and kitchen as he finalizes the menu and plans for what he wants his new restaurant to become!
Derviş is very eager to get the old Clancy’s bar restaurant back open again, and it seems the last remaining large hurdle is the town and State approval of the liquor license transfer, which is in process.
The Future Empire Sports Bar & Grill
Derviş has big plans for the property. Actually it will be three restaurant and entertainment experiences under one roof! Four if you count a larger patio area as a different experience!
He has established a budget of the upgrades which is substantial. Everything will be either “freshened up” or all new construction additions!
Currently the building interior has two defined sections. When you enter the building, to the left is the large bar area and to the right down 2 steps is the restaurant portion.
The Sports Bar area to the left will remain a Sports Bar under the new Empire Sports Bar & Grill
And I know what everyone who has been to Clancy’s Brooklawn is wondering… what about the wall of televisions?
Derviş tells us the wall of televisions will remain!
It really is a cool and unique feature of the bar. And from what I remember during my most recent visit, the televisions were upgraded to new flatscreen models!
No other bar in South Jersey has a TV setup like this! I forget the count but its two horizontal rows of televisions… maybe 14 or more?
For sports heavy days like NFL Sundays, it allows patrons to catch all of the action across the NFL!
The restaurant portion will remain on the right, and as mentioned earlier Derviş plans on offering a completely different dining experience to distinguish from his successful Empire Diner.
The Empire Sports Bar & Grill Restaurant will have a slightly more upscale dining menu and…
… a brick oven will be added for wood fired pizza and other delicious offerings!
Currently the Clancy’s property has a small outside patio area, and Derviş hopes to make it a larger outdoor patio dining area. The current patio area is small and I dont think it was getting used a lot by customers, so a larger and more inviting outdoor space could be a big draw.
And the most significant upgrade for Empire Sports Bar & Grill?
The new owner wants to add a second floor Dance Club!
Currently there is a small private second floor office area above the restaurant area. Derviş would like to clear out most of that second floor and rebuild it with a high-end dance club.
His goal is to make the club a place where people dress up to go out… like they did back in the day, and as the still do in European night clubs, or the clubs in places like Miami!
This is obviously the biggest change on the Empire Sports Bar wish list, and probably has the longest design time requirements.
And now you understand even more why Derviş has chosen to reopen the Bar Restaurant mostly as is for now, as he plots the upgrades, approvals and construction.
And if you have any doubts on these ambitious plans, you have to consider the amazing transformation that took place at the Empire Diner!
With all the mentions of his first restaurant the Empire Diner, I thought we’d close with some information on the diner!
If you haven’t been to the Empire Diner you really need to check the place out.
In 2015 the old Brooklawn Diner reopened with an amazing remodel of the building… inside and out.
It’s a modern design with that old school diner aesthetics.
Inside and outside it is bright, colorful and inviting.
At the end of 2019 the diner was renamed to Empire Diner. I believe at this time Derviş became the sole owner of the diner, and the name was changed to put his stamp on the business.
Oh and most importantly, the food at the Empire Diner is amazing!
Derviş tells us he hopes to soon bring back 24 hour operations to the Empire Diner!
And as a bonus, there have been a couple “feel good” stories coming out of the Empire Diner.
Just this past August, Derviş and the diner made news around the world when he saved the life of a customer who was choking. Derviş tells us it was something he did simply as a good person. One of his loyal customers reached out to local news who contacted him for a story and any security camera video… and with that the story went viral!
The humanitarian mentality must be in the air of the Empire Diner because in 2020, two customers… a New Jersey Couple.. tipped a car to their favorite waitress! The couple told WPVI6 “She’s our favorite person!”
Links and Locations
Empire Sports Bar & Grill – Reopening Soon!
304 Crescent Blvd (Rt 130)
Brooklawn, NJ 08030
297 Crescent Blvd at the Brooklawn Circle
Brooklawn, NJ 08030
Empire Sportsbar Facebook
Empire Diner Facebook
Empire Diner Website