I’ve always said that if I could only go to Atlantic City one day a year, it would be for the Atlantic City Beerfest. And, with my growing family, it perhaps might be the true for 2019. This was my fourth time in five years going to the Beerfest, and I am running out of ways to sing its praises. I’ve recounted my favorite Beerfest moments, I’ve given advice for Beerfest beginners, and I’ve…written whatever this was. This year, however, it felt different. In almost every other year, I felt like I was missing out on something. I was craving more. In 2019, however, something changed. I felt…satisfied. I felt…comfortable. The Beerfest wasn’t the madcap chase for beer samples and brewery stickers. It felt like visiting an old friend. Some breweries were the same, some had changed, but it was still the same Beerfest I knew and loved. So, rather than give advice, or recap wild antics, here’s just some beautifully blurry photos from this year’s activities.
This year’s featured activity was Beerfest Bingo. While I was successful in get my bingo ticket fully punched, I must confess: I didn’t finish every sample. Sorry purists, I hate me, too.
This year’s companion was Keith, of the legendarily inactive blog Rainmansuite.com. Say hi, Keith!
Here’s a small smattering of the other Beerfest offerings in 2019: free pinball, beerpong with garbage cans, and a comedian roasting people as they went to the bathroom. The only one we didn’t participate in was the giant beerpong – remind me in 12 months.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Beerfest without the beers. It was a top notch performance by every brewery this year (yes, even you, one non-alcoholic brewery this year that was fighting the good fight). As there are no further Atlantic City trips on my radar, the Beerfest did its job, and I got to leave on a high note. The countdown to 2020 begins….now.
On the surface, the Atlantic City Diary is a collection of drunken recaps of my degenerate life. However, what truly lies beneath all these ramblings is my undying nostalgia for AC. Each entry a time capsule, preserving a moment that may soon be lost. Nostalgia is a main reason I’m drawn to Atlantic City – while each year comes with something new (a make-over the Pier Shops, the Hard Rock, Ocean), the boardwalk is still littered with dollar stores, t-shirt shops, and carnival rides that have been there since I was a wee lad.
However, I’d like to dedicate this entry to a lost bar: the Dizzy Dolphin. Part of the late Atlantic City Hilton, the Dizzy Dolphin never stood out from the typical casino bar. It had local musicians, screens to play video poker, and drink specials – staples fairly unremarkable compared to literally any other casino bar. In fact, I was probably only there a handful of times myself, mainly around 2007 and 2008. So, why am I still thinking about it a decade later? Four words:
THE DIZZY DOLPHIN DRINK
This concoction was everything a youngster like me needed/desired/dreamed of back in my early Atlantic City days. For some exorbitant price, you received a green beverage served in a plastic cocktail shaker. I don’t recall what exactly it was composed of, and for good reason: it got the night going. Now, combine that with the fact that you could attain this at the dirtiest/cheapest casino in town. You see where this is going?
From what I recall, the Dizzy Dolphin Drink was eventually taken off the menu. I’ve frequently scoured the Internet for any information I could find relating to this drink, but have come up short. In fact, the Dizzy Dolphin bar itself seems to be eroding its digital footprint: the best I could find scattered amongst my Goolge results are a few photos from Facebook pages. I’d say that the Dizzy Dolphin didn’t last long enough to make it to the age of social media, but it died less than 5 years ago. It wasn’t like we weren’t already taking videos and pictures of everything in our lives. The harsh truth was: nobody cared about the Dizzy Dolphin.
Except me. And I’m sure, like, eight other people somewhere.
So here’s to you DD. Thanks for the drinks, the memories, the messy nights, the nostalgia, and THE DRINK.
This past Friday, Mrs. ACDiary and I took our fortunes to the Hard Rock Atlantic City. While I had previous gone in early July, this was my first time as an overnight guest and gambler. So now, I feel like I’ve gotten the full Hard Rock Atlantic City experience, and am ready to share it with you, my loyal reader(s?).
Dinner at Council Oak Fish
While I’m usually freeloading my way through AC off the efforts of OB the Gambling Don, tonight I wanted to make is special between me and the missus. So, I put on my blazer, and dashed her away to Council Oak Fish at the Hard Rock. I’m not a foodie, so I won’t waste your time here – it’s a bit high end, but I liked it. What I can comment on is the ambiance.
If you can, I highly recommend getting a window seat – the restaurant is right on the boardwalk, and you have the perfect viewing of all of AC’s crazies. However, I will say Council Oak felt a bit empty, almost like the restaurant was two sizes too big. We passed Il Mulino and Robert’s Steakhouse on the way, and those places were packed to the gills. That’s the true conundrum I’ve found frequently in Atlantic City – you’ll go to some place, and you’ll swear that Atlantic City is having a renaissance, you go to another place, and you’d swear it’s the next Detroit. And, as you can see, it can happen within the same casino.
Don’t Let The Makeover Fool You – This Used To Be The Trump Taj
Despite all the memorabilia and cool music (I heard The Strokes, Pulp, and LCD Soundsystem – which would usually be mistaken for medical conditions by the AC clientele), there’s definitely some signs that this was a dilapidated casino suffering a union strike not that long ago. I was on several shaky elevators, and, somehow, I also suffered my second clogged toilet of the summer! It was immediately after we went to our room after dinner, and sure enough, the maintenance crew found that someone flushed a bar of soap down the toilet. If this happens a third time, I’m writing to the mayor of Atlantic City and demanding a golden plunger.
With Mrs. ACD, I try not to gamble too much. I stick to the old tried and true “sit at a slot machine and order free drinks” method. However, luck was not on our side at the slots, with the first two drinks setting us back $40. So, I moved to this odd “community gambling” section, where players had a choice to play digital craps, roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. For $3 a hand, I was playing blackjack with some other random strangers. I love the “community” aspect of blackjack, such as the dealer busting and everyone winning, but this ratcheted it up – we were all playing the same cards. It is hard to describe without playing it yourself, but in the end my next two drinks earned me back $20, so I’m a fan.
Hard Rock Mischief
After a fancy night of dinner, clogged toilets, and $3 blackjack, my wife and I needed end the night with some shenanigans. Last time I was in the Hard Rock, we found out that each floor has it’s own artist associated with it (OB was staying on the Bon Jovi floor). This trip, we were staying on the Bo Diddley floor. So, out of drunken curiousity, we rode the elevator to the 40th (Beyonce), and stopped on every floor on the way down, singing a song by the designated artist. Good times. Very drunk times, but still, good times.
So, that’s what I’ve got for my end-of-the-summer Atlantic City blowout. If anything, this summer rekindled my love for AC. The last few years, the trips have been few and far between, and usually only for special occasions. These last three months have revived the lost art of the pointless trip, as they’ve been various levels of successful. Winter is coming, though, meaning empty casinos, meaning comped rooms. I’m sure there will be more impromptu and unnecessary trips coming.
OB is a man synonymous with the Atlantic City Diaries. Although I started chronicling these trips back in 2012, the true AC stories started innocently enough back in 2007. It was a trip ostensibly to merely see a comedy show, and perhaps gamble a little bit. We didn’t have comps, we didn’t have player’s cards…hell, we didn’t even stay at a casino. But, that fateful trip started us on a path that has led to many highs, horrible lows, unforgettable moments, and nights we have absolutely no memories of.
Trips to AC have evolved over the years, as the circumstances of our lives have changed – moving locations, getting married, gaining responsibilities, etc. Recently, they have gotten into a familiar pattern – OB gets a comped trip, I mooch off him for dinner and drinks, and OB gambles like a maniac. Rinse and repeat.
However, as I’ve written several times here, I love to “explore” the boardwalk. It’s not something OB normally does, and why should he? He gets it all on Lord Caesar’s dime in one convenient location – why put in the effort to go elsewhere and spend more money? It’s a valid point, but after much cajoling (“Do you want to do a pub crawl?” “OK”), I was able to convince the man to venture out of the casinos and onto the world famous AC Boardwalk. Below is what I can remember:
- Harry’s Oyster Bar
I’ve been to Harry’s several times before. It is a great lunch spot – despite the prices, you absolutely get your money’s worth with high quality seafood. With gentle 90s pop tunes being strummed on an acoustic guitar, OB began the bonanza with a bucket of beers. For himself. Afraid that I’d lose a finger trying to grab one, I ordered a bloody mary, and thus began the first boardwalk and beach beer and booze bar bonanza.
2. Firewaters Saloon
For the second spot, I picked a somewhat nostalgic bar. And emphasis on the “somewhat” aspect – I only really remember Firewaters as a dead bar we’d stop in for a cheap drink. Today, though, it was fairly lively, with drink specials around $7. Like Harry’s, you ended up getting your money’s worth – I got some sort of vodka lemonade concoction, which somehow led to a debate regarding net neutrality. My words were beginning to slur, but I’m sure we came up with a solution that was absolutely brilliant and left everyone happy. After that success, we headed to the next bar.
3. AC Biergarten
It was a toss-up between this place and the Bungalow Bar, which is right next to it. Given the atmosphere, I think we made the right choice. With a shiny new setup (this place opened in April), we listed to Celtic folk music, people-watched on the boardwalk, and almost saw the bouncer knock a guy out. I had a cocktail called the Nucky, which, as soon as I was drinking it, I knew would be my doom. If this diary seems suspiciously short or incomplete, blame it on the Nucky.
4. American Craft Beer Joint and Eatery
Like the Biergarten, this is a fairly new setup (from 2016), nestled right between a couple of novelty t-shirt shops. There’s not much to say here – it’s got a great selection of beer and cocktails, but overall it didn’t have the atmosphere of the other places. It was the least crowded of the bunch, without any extra entertainment. But, the location is excellent if you just want to hang out by the boardwalk. It is worth exploring if you are looking for a more chill scene.
After that, the night is a blur. Which, in my mind, makes the first boardwalk beach bar brouhaha whatever crawl a success. We left several bars unexplored (mostly on the north end), so I expect to give this another shot in the future. Overall, I highly endorse the AC Biergarten, but will give a stern warning to anyone ordering the Nucky.
As always, with these AC diaries, remember: AC is what you make of it. Sure, it has a reputation for being a seedy, dirty cesspool filled with degenerates, and that reputation is rightly earned. However, with a curious and adventurous spirit, it isn’t hard to find something completely new and fun.
Oh, god. It’s been a long time.
Back in 2016, I uprooted my life in Brooklyn, and plunked down my hard-earned savings on a house in central New Jersey. Sure, I told my friends and family that it was time to grow up, be a responsible homeowner, think about the family, etc.. But, deep down, I think they all knew my true motivations: to satisfy my gambling needs.
The first year, however, it was difficult. Between the costs of moving and various other travel obligations (weddings and whatnot), I only made it to Atlantic City twice. But, in 2018, I was determined to make my mark known.
So, in the last few months, I’ve been to Atlantic City thrice. But, why no diary entries? Well, these trips were very short in nature – getting there for dinner, drinking heavily, and driving back bleary-eyed the next morning. There were no concerts or beerfests anchoring these trips: just roughly 12 hours of debauchery.
But, no matter how many times I go to Atlantic City (and by my count, that’s 26 times in the last six years, and god knows how much before that), there’s always something new I learn. So, without further ado-do, here’s three tips from three trips to AC!
1. Check In Late!
Back in March, the wifefriend and I took a trip on a random Friday night, where we were blessed by the Roman gods with a free room at Caesar’s. Unfortunately, due to work schedules, we ended up rolling it at 11:30PM. However, upon checking in, we were offered a free suite upgrade. Now, full-disclosure: I don’t work for Caesar’s, nor have bothered doing any research, but I am a guy with a blog. So, I have to assume that if you arrive late enough, they’ll give you whatever open rooms they have, for free! I haven’t tried it since this trip, but it is something to keep in mind.
(The downside of arriving so late is that we crammed six hours of boozing into roughly 28 minutes. And, as far as I know, that can be most easily accomplished at the Mountain Bar at Wild Wild West.)
(Pro-tip: if you are planning to play beerpong at the Wild Wild West, bring your own ping pong balls. Cheap beer, even cheaper balls. It was like tossing a marshmallow.)
2. Order Extra Towels!
In June, the boys were back in town, as I was joined by AC Diary Hall-Of-Famers OB and Keith. Going down apropos of nothing, it was yet another night of drunken debauchery. Unfortunately, we had a surprise waiting for us in the morning.
Being the early riser that I am, I headed to the bathroom at 7AM to cast away last night’s sins. Unfortunately (yet unsurprisingly given the company I was with), there was a strange liquid hovering around my feet. I flushed the toilet and got the hell out of there and back to bed.
But I still heard the toilet. Running. Rising.
Yes, it finally happened: we killed a toilet. There was talk of a monstrous bowel movement clogging the bowl’s movement, but I blame Neptune for this mishap. The staff at Caesar’s took their sweet time helping us out of the situation, dumping a handful of towels on the problem as it seeped into the hallway.
So yeah, when you get to your room, order some towels. Even if you don’t clog the toilet, at least you can use them to build a little fort.
3. Drink on the Boardwalk!
This month, the crew (the wifefriend, the Hall-of-Famers, and others) took a trip to visit the Hard Rock Casino. That place is definitely worthy of its own entry, and it will be coming in due time. However, the spotlight that night belonged to the Bally’s Boardwalk Beach Bar. After getting dinner and gambling a bit at Hard Rock, my wife and I stumbled back down the historic AC Boardwalk. Hearing some fun dance music wafting from the sea, we were lured into the Bally’s Boardwalk Beach Bar. Once there, we ordered $15 novelty glasses filled with some sort of alcoholic concoction that was basically a Men In Black mind eraser in liquid form. We drank, we danced, we ate $1 hot dogs from some place on the boardwalk, and we (accidentally) ordered $80 mozzarella sticks from room service.
I’ve always been a strong proponent of getting out of the casinos and exploring the boardwalk. And drinking on the boardwalk is like drinking in the casinos, except the air smells bad and there’s a hint of danger!
So, three trips, and three new lessons learned. But the real moral of the story is this: no matter how many times you go to AC, there’s always going to be something strange that you didn’t prepare for. Will you get the room upgrade, or the clogged toilet? It’s the lady-or-the-tiger of South Jersey.
For more tips on doing AC right, check out this ancient post. Remember “Do AC”? Those were the days.
Good god, it has been a while. I made excuses for it in the last AC diary, but I really have been slacking on my trips to the lost city of Atlantic. Things haven’t slowed down for me over the last six months, as there have been many things over the last six months that both required my time and money (the holidays, house repair and decor, planning for weddings to attend in 2017, etc.). But, I knew I wouldn’t be missing the Atlantic City Beerfest, the greatest weekend in Atlantic City’s calendar. And, with thanks to the great and powerful OB, what a weekend it was! Let’s break it down:
Friday, 4:30PM – It’s raining, and I’m at the Cheesequake rest stop in the middle of the Garden State Parkway. That sentence is normally the start of a miserable story, but not in this case, as OB shows up to pick up my lady and me in a limo. You see, after hitting it big years ago, OB took down a group of able-bodied gamblers in a limo. Since then, he had been looking to recreate the experience. Unfortunately, this led to many times where he had claimed he was going to Altantic City via limo, but then cancelled it for a variety of reasons (not enough people to go, conflicting plans, realizing that it’s already 2AM and calling a limo to Atlantic City when you were drunk is probably not a great idea). This earned him the nickname “The Boy Who Cried Limo To Atlantic City”, a label he was desperately trying to shake lest it ruin his standing in high society. So, imagine my surprise when The Boy Who Cried Limo To Atlantic City actually showed up….in a limo to Atlantic City!
Unfortunately, this limo ride coincided with another experiment I was conducting: being sober the month of March. The gist of it is: anyone can say they don’t have a drinking problem and can quit any time they want, but how can they know for sure? Therefore, my wife and I put this to the test by keeping sober during the month of March (we would have done February, but we had a trip to New Orleans already planned in that month). And, within a week, I found out I don’t have a drinking problem. Much like running, I found sobriety to be very….boring. It wasn’t a struggle – I wasn’t white-knuckling it, or shaking on the bathroom floor. But it wasn’t that rewarding either- sure, I probably saved a bit of money, but I didn’t find myself feeling that much better physically or mentally day-in-day-out. Sobriety was just…there. Thus, my wife and I were in countdown mode on the way to AC.
8:00PM (4 Hours of Sobriety Left) – We have a lovely dinner with OB and LadyOB at Nero’s Steakhouse in Great Caesar’s Casino, where it’s a competition of sins. OB is drinking lovely pink alcoholic drinks in front of the sober people, while we heathens stuff our faces with meat on a Friday in Lent (OB is Catholic). Only LadyOB is enjoying both worlds, meating and boozing it up.
After, OB hits up the Britney Spears slot machine (which he fell in love with during the last trip to AC), and has the greatest run of slot machine success I’ve ever seen. Starting with $100, he gambles it all the way down to his final $0.50. Then, after hitting some crazy games, he’s back up to $140! That’s a 28000% increase on his investment! As they say in Atlantic City, you can never count a man out on a Britney Spears slot machine.
11:58PM – I’ve been sober so long, that I’m watching a women’s college basketball game….and I’m enjoying it.
12:00AM – DRINKING!!!!!
I drink a little drink, and then drink some more. The night become a blur of Britney Spears slot machines (which treated me poorly this time) and $5 blackjack at the Wild Wild West. I missed you drinking. Welcome back.
Saturday, 11:00AM – Well, I’m not too hungover. Last year, I claimed I would go to two sessions of the AC Beerfest, and, given how much I drank on Friday, I think I’d be ready for it in 2018 (my two sessions would be Friday night and Saturday night, although OB argued it would be best to do the two sessions all day Saturday). After a small breakfast where I meagerly eat a Caesar salad, my wife takes a nap and I putz around the premises. As I mentioned in the last AC Diary, I am thoroughly impressed by the Wild Wild West casino. It still provides a plethora of $5 table games, as well as other non-gambling arcade games (Pop-A-Shot, Guitar Hero, etc.). It was quite lively for a Saturday afternoon in the off-peak season, with both gamblers and non-gamblers alike. It’s become the casino I’ve dreamed of since I first started going to Atlantic City: it’s youth-oriented (I felt ancient as a 32-year-old), it provides cheap gambling, and it provides cheap drinks/entertainment for non-gamblers. It is so simple, and they had the tools to make this the whole time – I’m not sure why it took them 10 years to get it right. By the way, I fully expect to see an article about why the Wild Wild West is closing any day now…that’d be typical Atlantic City.
2:00PM – My wife and I make a trip to the outlet malls, which I cannot recommend more if you are doing a full weekend trip to Atlantic City, for two reasons. First, at some point in the weekend, you need to step outside the casino, if only to re-orient yourself with society. Casinos can be maddening with their pumped-in oxygen and loud noises. Whether it is a walk on the Boardwalk or through the outlets, a breather is a must.
The second reason? Treat yo self. Atlantic City is going to take your money in some form, so why not come home with something? I ended up getting a shirt for $35 off – that’s a $35 win for me! More money to gamble with!
6:00PM – We’re back at the AC Beerfest! How I missed you!
Really, there’s not much more I can say that I haven’t said before. I dressed up, grabbed as much swag as possible, and got drunk. It’s the fastest four hours of the year, which is why I am always pushing for two sessions: you simply can’t get to everything. I was still recovering from sobriety and only finished with about 25 samples this year (as opposed to last year’s 35), and there was even more I wanted to see.
10:30PM – A dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s (that I remember, unlike last year), and $5 blackjack at the Wild Wild West cap off an excellent weekend. I am able to recover a bit of my Britney losses, and wind up down $40 (or $5, if you are counting the “winnings” from my shirt). I am still as impressed as ever with the Wild Wild West’s makeover, as a live-band is playing, the beerpong tables are packed, and everyone is having a blast. It is a far cry from the chain-smoking zombies that are the hallmarks of Atlantic City casinos. There is definitely room for another Wild Wild West-esque casino in AC, and I’m hoping that’s what the Hard Rock (opening next year) can be. Usually, I like to find an “event” to go down to AC for, but with the new WWW, it’s the first time in a long time I’m itching to go to AC just to be in a casino.
So, that ends this journey: great dinners, great limos, mediocre sobriety, great savings, great gambling, and great beers. What else could you want?
Well, the Atlantic City Diaries 2.0 has gotten off to a slow start to say the least. After churning out twenty-three pulse-pounding entries from 2012 to 2015, I’ve only been to the great city of Atlantic once in 2016. But, there was a reason for this: I have moved from New York City to Central New Jersey, cutting my Atlantic City commute in half! Alas, this means a good-bye to the Greyhound Lucky Streak bus, which I have had a love-hate relationship with for years. But, hopefully this will lead to more impromptu trips, as I try to re-embrace a city that I’ve been slowly drawing away from.
And what better way to start it with than a “Weird Al” Yankovic concert!
Once again, my friend OB hooked us up with complimentary tickets to the penultimate show on Weird Al’s sprawling Mandatory Fun tour. It was my second time seeing the Weird one (the first time being after my bachelor party), while OB was popping his Al cherry. Should you be in a rush, and not wanting to finish this post, you know already know how it ends: Weird Al is amazing.
But, the first thing that stood out to me upon arrival was the crowd. The last time I saw Weird Al was at Governor’s Ball, where he was just one of dozens of acts performing that day. The crowd was enthusiastic, but they weren’t “Weird Al” people. This, however, was pure, unfiltered “Weird Al” people, seemingly pulled straight from the Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention. Spanning from about 5-years-old to 65-years-old, you had people from all walks of life, assuming that “walk of life” was generally white and overweight. Costumes were prevalent, as were the Weird Al VIPs, carrying a swagbag of goodies that I regret not being drunk enough to try to steal for myself. It would be a bit intimidating for a “normie”, but having grown up among the comic nerds, I foundmyself strangely at home. Unfortunately, this didn’t translate into a raucous concert-going experience, as the crowd would applaud loudly during the beginning and end of each new song, but mostly sat quietly throughout the song, perhaps trying to take in the showmanship of Weird Al himself.
And boy, what a showman. Weird Al began his show with “Tacky”, maneuvering through the dank, 1984-esque hallways of Caesar’s, eventually popping out within inches of where OB and I were sitting (promptly OB to shriek with childish glee “I LOVE WEIRD AL!”). Throughout the next two hours, Mr. Yankovic played all the hits (“Fat”, “Amish Paradise”, “White & Nerdy”, “Word Crimes”, etc.), but I appreciated that he included some original songs, which were sadly absent at Governor’s Ball. For example: “Wanna B Ur Lovr”, a track from the not-so-notable Poodle Hat, had the best reaction from the audience, as Weird Al grinded upon several ladies, and was able to get a laugh with nearly every line in the song.
(This is me trying to take a picture of Al’s “Wanna B Ur Lovr” performance. I am crappy at taking photos during concerts. And, yes, I’ve ranted about people who take crappy photos at concerts.)
A personal highlight for me was seeing his re-interpretation of “Eat It” into the acoustic version of “Layla”. Weird Al’s parodies are like a lot of modern art: it may seem simple, but he thought of it and you didn’t.
At this point, “Weird Al” has become such a musical icon that, even if you are not a fan, it is worth seeing. He’s been around over three decades, and his popularity only seems to be growing. While the tour may be over now, make sure to add him to your bucket list to see the next time he rolls around to your city.
Gambling Side Note: While past Atlantic City Diaries would have intricate details about how I gambled that night, I’ve decided to cut back and focus more on Atlantic City’s events, as the gambling stories can be a bit monotonous after a while. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a few things for posterity’s sake. First, while the KISS slot machines may be gone, OB has found a new love: the Britney Spears slot machines. I should have stuck with them, too, as they paid me the best at night. On the table games front, Caesar’s has installed many $5 digital blackjack tables, which are completely awful. While it tries to emulate the sensation of playing with a real dealer, it falls into the uncanny valley, and you can’t quite get into a true blackjack flow. I will be staying away from them in the future. However, the Wild Wild West has wonderfully brought back $5 live blackjack! I have been fighting for that since the very first AC Diary! It’s a bit of a grind playing blackjack for $5 a hand, but I played all night long and found myself down only $20 or so dollars. Unfortunately, I found out the Wild Wild West has a closing time (somewhere between 4 and 5AM), and they were quite stingy on the free drinks (which may have been why I wasn’t losing so much). But still, it is a gargantuan step in the right direction, and I look forward to spending more time at the Wild Wild West.
This past weekend, I went down to the Atlantic City Beer (and Music) Festival at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The 2015 Beerfest was my rookie experience, and it was the highlight of my
life year springtime (I did get married after all). If you check out last year’s recap, you’ll see I listed the top six things about Beerfest. After a year of hype, I am happy to report that the beerfest remains relatively unchanged. It was still the quickest four hours you’ll ever spend in Atlantic City, with great music, great people, and great beer. There isn’t much more I can add on what’s great about it, so this year I’ll give you a guide on how to best enjoy the beerfest.
Dress for success. Whether going to a job interview, or going to a beerfest, the way you look will determine how far you get. Some people treat the event like Comic-Con, and dress up in full costumes. Personally, I prefer a simple festive shirt. This year, my group went in coordinated t-shirts for my mother’s birthday (yes, my 64-year-young mother attended her first beerfest). Even if you don’t want to go that far, I’d suggest wearing something that is in the deep end of your closet. Don’t make it a casual Friday, make it a beerfest!
Accessorize. As you can see, my shirt wasn’t enough. With the help of swag from different breweries, I gave my shirt it’s own unique, um, let’s call it “style”. Remember: stickers are a drunk’s best friend. Approach pins with great caution.
Pretzel. Necklaces. On the car ride down, my crafty wife concocted pretzel necklaces for the entire crew. The pretzel necklace is like a Halloween costume – you originally feel silly putting it on, but once you get to the party, it is essential. The pretzels will be the source of your life force throughout the night. Don’t be a bum that buys it at the convention – make the pretzel necklace your own. Some people even personalize theirs, adding candies and even bagels to the necklace.
Keep track of your drinking. As you can see, I put this t-shirt to work, tallying my drink intake on the back. When the night seems a little fuzzy, you can just look at the back of your shirt for the reason why. I preferred having the brewers check it off – it was definitely a conversation starter.
Take a breather, drink water, and see the sights. If there’s one trap most people will fall into at the beerfest, it is drinking too much beer. There’s plenty of fun things to do there, whether you are looking for a fashionable new kilt, trying to work your yoga, or want to get a picture with the Batmobile. Your liver will thank you the next day.
Talk to the little guys. It seems that every year, the big breweries have big lines. You can get those any time of year. But, how many times can you try beer from the Pinelands Brewery or the Alpine Beer Company? There’s something I love about just seeing a simple booth with two guys and a cooler. While the quality at microbrews can be a gamble, you can bet that they’ll generally have a higher ABV.
The more the merrier. Last year, it was just me and long-time ACer OB. This year, the group had exploded to seven. There’s nothing like four hours of drinking with your friends and family. But….
Keep track of your crew. I thought going with more people this year would make it easier to find everyone. That was not the case. For the last 20 minutes of the beerfest, my phone was dead and I was completely lost. After the beerfest, I stumbled into a local Applebee’s and asked the manager for the phone. Shockingly enough, this man saw a drunk guy covered in stickers and thought, “Of course this man should use our phone.” I dialed as many cell phone numbers as I could remember until reaching a member of my crew. If it weren’t for that disturbingly helpful Applebee’s employee, I might still be lost in Atlantic City. So, I would set check-in times/locations prior to the beerfest with your friends.
Go to two sessions. Does it sound dangerous? Absolutely. But, you really can’t do it all in one session. I feel like, even after four hours, I just scratched the surface of what the beerfest had to offer. I didn’t even ride on a toilet or throw a football at a stripper! I’m itching to go back for more. So, my current game plan is to try out going to TWO sessions next year. Am I crazy? You bet. Will I live up to my word? Eh, we’ll see.
Keep this article flagged, my Atlantic City loving functional alcoholics, and I’ll see you next year!
Hello and welcome! Presented, fresh for 2016, is the new home of the Atlantic City Diaries! Here’s just a couple questions to get new and old readers re-acquainted with the site:
What are the Atlantic City Diaries?
The Atlantic City Diaries are blog posts about my drunken misadventures in Atlantic City. As I am not local, nor a high-roller, nor a senior citizen, I usually have to find an excuse to go down to the lost city of Atlantic. So, these trips to AC often include review of concerts, comedy shows, beerfests, and bachelor parties. I do not regularly know when I will be going to Atlantic City, and it may be months between articles, so it is best to become a follower of the blog.
What are the “old” AC Diaries?
Since 2012, my friend Keith graciously hosted and contributed to my old articles. Below is a list of all previous trips:
Chapter 1: Back to Basics
Chapter 2: Orion Music Festival
Chapter 3: The All-Nighter
Chapter 4: Summerland at the Revel
Chapter 5: Louis CK at Trump Taj Mahal
Chapter 6: How I Do AC
Chapter 7: The Anti-Social Comedy Tour
Chapter 8: AC vs. Las Vegas
Chapter 9: Third Eye Blind at Caesar’s
Chapter 10: The Bachelorette Goes to AC
Chapter 11: Arbitrary Sin
Chapter 12: The Killers at Borgata
Chapter 13: The Atlantic City Marathon
Chapter 14: Cheap Trick at Harrah’s
Chapter 15: Every Casino in Atlantic City. In One Night.
Chapter 16: The April Fool’s 7K
Chapter 17: The Last Days of Showboat
Chapter 18: Arbitrary Summer Fun
Chapter 19: The Altantic City 10K
Chapter 20: The Atlantic City Beerfest
Chapter 21: Atlantic City Boardwalk Con
Chapter 22: The Bachelor Party
Chapter 23: Norm MacDonald at Harrah’s
What are the “new” AC Diaries?
Other than the new URL, hopefully not much. I just thought it would be easier for people to find this URL than Rainmansuite.com. That’s all.
Thanks for reading, and let’s see what this new format brings!