The Empire Sports Bar opens today Monday April 18th in Brooklawn NJ, in the spot which used to be Clancy’s Pub.
Today they open at 3pm, and after that they are open every day 11am – 2am.
The new owner of the Sports Bar property owns another nearby business, the Empire Diner. Owner Dervis has taken over the property and refreshed the entire space, changed a few things.. and yes he has all new TVs in the signature Sports Bar TV wall!
While the property still holds true to it’s Sports Bar roots, the new ownership has changed up the lower level to include a dedicated dance floor area, lighting system and an awesome sound system!
I mean, it’s not like people are watching sports at midnight!
Read on for details and pre-opening photos of the Empire Sports Bar upgrades! The biggest changes are in the lower level.
Empire Sports Bar – New but Familiar!
Empire Sports Bar is located at 304 Rt 130 in Brooklawn NJ, at the intersection of Old Salem Rd (which is now a signalized intersection).
For many years the location was known as Clancy’s Pub, and way before that us old timers will remember the building as Wayne’s Log Cabin in the front section, and J’Antonio’s restaurant in the back.
So back in November 2021 we wrote about the Empire Diner ownership taking over the bar property, and offered some hints to the initial plans to upgrade and reopen the bar.
I think everyone would agree that the prior Clancy’s remodel still had “good bones in it” with it’s two section approach of an upper level bar area, and a lower level restaurant area.
The building just needed some love, and a few new innovative ideas to give patrons even more reasons to return!
Well first, everything inside and out was patched and repainted. A distinct blue paint now adorns the outside, and inside all the walls were repainted… and a few smart changes were made to the layout, particularly in the lower level.
Upper Level Sports Bar
The upper level of the restaurant remains mostly unchanged in layout… which is a good thing as I always felt the layout really worked well.
Have I mentioned I was in a cover band years ago and performed in this bar area?! 🙂
The first thing everyone remembers about the bar area is the signature wall of televisions.
Yes the TV wall is still there, and YES it now has all new HD televisions!
The cutout area for the projection screen also remains, and even the projector was upgraded.
In fact, we’re told the projector has some electronics behind it which allow him to project DJ driven music videos, internet sites such as Youtube, and more.
The bar offers 16 beer taps, and realizing bourbons/whiskeys are very popular right now… care was taken to offer a very good selection at the bar!
Empire Sports Bar Lower Level
The biggest changes have taken place in the lower level.
What immediately grabs your attention first is right as you enter the lower level (near the entrance) is the large open dance floor area!
The dance floor runs along the wall of windows (facing the patio) and is probably about 1/3 of the lower level.
This dance area has new flooring which helps clearly define the space.
Dance lighting was added… as well as an awesome house sound system. During our weekend visit we got to experience the sound system cranked up out loud. We could hear and FEEL the power!
And over in the far corner of the dance floor is a dedicated sound booth, where Dervis has installed a mixer and DJ board.
The rest of the room features several high-top tables in the the main floor area, and booths remain around the perimeter walls.
Another change for the lower level is a second service bar in the back inside corner.
With the placement of the dance floor and DJ booth in the lower level, it’s clear that Dervis wants this section to be a fun party hangout area… and to him it just felt awkward for servers or customers to have to walk up and over to the main bar.
So the second bar in the lower level will allow servers and patrons to have better service for a large variety of drinks and beers.
It’s a great idea and a clever placement for the bar, which required a replacement of a wall or two to redirect the restroom entrance.
Sports Bar and Dancing. While it’s been a common pattern for bars for over 50 years, Empire Sports bar may have one of the best setups in each category!
And many will ask “Will they have live bands?”. We’re told yes.. but maybe once a month, and he isn’t ready to move on that just yet.
So maybe the biggest change to the lower level is more inferred from what we show here. Whereas Clancy’s Pub used this space as more of a quiet restaurant setting, the Empire Sports Bar is looking to make this a fun and lively space with a dance floor, DJ sound system, and it’s own service bar!
Which brings us to food!
Everyone wonders that since they also own the Empire Diner close by at the circle, what are the plans for the Empire Sports Bar?
100% the Empire Sports Bar will have food… delicious burgers, wraps, french fries.
Awesomely delicious variations of food that you would normally expect from a sports bar.
But you won’t find the dinner menu that they have over at the Empire Diner which is close by at the Brooklawn circle.
Simply, if you are looking for that full diner menu experience… the Empire Diner is your better option to start with. Then come over to the Sports Bar for a drink! But the Empire Sports Bar will also have amazing food options!
In our original post last fall we shared that Dervis was considering plans to add a second floor to the building for a dance area, but he has since change his mind on that and brought that dream to this lower level.
Exterior and Patio Area
With the building sitting on busy Rt 130, it becomes an advertisement itself!
And the Empire Sports Bar is featuring a bold blue exterior paint that looks great and absolutely captures the attention of everyone driving by!
In our conversation we learned that Dervis is proud to be in America after finding such success in a short dozen years here… so he chose his color scheme to celebrate the USA!
Empire Sports Bar also has an outdoor patio which is located right outside of the dance floor area along the wall of glass doors.
As one would expect, the team spent considerable time on maintenance items inside and out. With the bar closed for several months it just made sense to “knock it all out” so that he would be ahead of maintenance items for a long time.
While there won’t be a second floor, there other ideas for the property which he shared to us.. but we’ll hold that for a much later post as the focus right now is on reopening the Empire Sports Bar!
Links and Location
Empire Sports Bar
304 Crescent Blvd (Route 130)
Brooklawn NJ 08030
Facebook (Go Like!)
11am – 2am.
297 Crescent Blvd (Route 130 – Brooklawn Circle)
Brooklawn NJ, 08030