Asbury Park bar in standoff with city over decor

Johnny Mac's House of Spirits on Main Street in Asbury Park attracts crowds with its fine drinks and fun games but mostly with its quirky atmosphere.

With mannequins, weird signs, and funky doodads on the walls, Johnny Mac’s is a cool-looking place that spices up the streets of Asbury, which is inviting for customers.

Owner John McGillion said the five years since he opened up has been a blast, until now.

McGillion is expanding into his own parking lot, building an enclosed beer garden.

The first phase is permitted and underway.

McGillion said he had permits for the next three phases, until the Asbury Park Planning Board started tacking terms onto already-set agreements.

“...It’s just a hassle that we might have to wait as long as two years in court, but we will,” McGillion said.

Essentially, the city wants him to take down his decorations before they'll let him continue.

So no more kissing booth, no more Irish yoga, no attractive pirate mannequin, no more window signs… nothing, which is all a part of what makes Johnny Mac’s unique and stand out.

However, according to a former Asbury Mayor, the planning board actually has no real guidelines beyond the personal tastes of its members, who have been appointed not elected.

With that in mind, Johnny Mac’s is now suing the city to be allowed to go ahead with their expansion, as formerly permitted.

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