Review: Ugly Mug in Cape May, New Jersey

The Ugly Mug on Washington Street is a Cape May tradition. This Jersey shore bar has been around for a long time.

I like the place, but a recent visit provided a reminder that, when you go to a bar, you’re generally better off with bar food. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Like everything in Cape May, the prices tend to be high. We stopped in and had two beers, an order of fries, and as entrees, a mozzarella salad and quesadillas. The total for two, with tip, was $54.

We were seated quickly by a pleasant young woman and ordered beer: a  Sam Adams seasonal was $5.50, and a Guiness cost $6. Not bad.

The menus were grimy. This is a pet peeve of mine, but a menu that isn’t new or at least clean gives a bad first impression.

Our waitress was excellent. We had a basket of fries first, very good, and $5.99. They have regular fries, which we had, and sometimes, sweet potato fries. I had a mozzarella salad as an entree while my wife had quesadillas.

The salad was actually very good. The mozzarella was fresh, the tomato was red and firm, and the balsamic reduction on top was tasty. There were fresh greens underneath, a huge pile. Too big really, but fresh. That was a $12.99 item, if I recall correctly.

The quesadillas had a ton of cheese in them. Too much. Some may like that kind, my wife did not. I don’t recall the price, it was around $15. Many entrees are in the $25 to $30 range, and the menu is more extensive in summer, I suspect.

So it comes down to taste. The Ugly Mug is a popular and friendly place, where the best options are going to be burgers, fries, and fried food. There are also some house specialties that are good. That’s fine. It was just that upon leaving, I wish we’d gone somewhere for pizza, and gone to The Ugly Mug just for a beer.

We will be back. We have gone there off and on for years and it’s a good place. Just this time, the quesadillas were not a good option. That’s a matter of taste.

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