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.
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.