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.