I Went to the New Scores Outdoor “Gentleman’s” Club and It Wasn’t Horrible

scores-deck-940-full-jen-miller-photo

In September, an outpost of Scores, a strip club chain, opened in the Taj Mahal. In May, they took over part of the Taj Mahal’s deck and opened an outdoor sports bar. So of course I had to check it out, which I did on Wednesday night. The strip club (they would prefer I call it a gentleman’s club, but I’m going to go ahead with “strip”) is on the second floor of the Taj Mahal, facing the ocean, though obviously you couldn’t peek inside. The deck is right outside the club, on the south end of the building — right over the Hard Rock Cafe.

It looks like any other outdoor venue: long bar with TVs showing ESPN, and craft beers on tap (I had a Yards Love Stout and a Curious Traveler, $6 each, which isn’t bad considering I paid $3 for a hot tea and $3.25 for orange juice at Revel). The bulk of the space was made up of clusters of couches. Of course there was thumping club mix, and fancy lights. The only difference, when I was there, was a few platforms on which I assumed there’d be dancing. It was more outdoor than the new Margaritaville bar up the boardwalk at Resorts.

Read more »

Jersey Shore Beach Smoking Ban Bill Has a Gigantic Loophole

shutterstock_beach-smoking-940-full

A bill that would ban smoking on New Jersey’s beaches has taken another step closer to becoming a reality, but with a loophole big enough for a Sea Isle ice truck.

The beach smoking ban bill, which was introduced last summer, would prohibit smoking in New Jersey’s parks and beaches. It just passed the state senate, but with an amendment tacked on at the last minute that would allow towns to set up designed smoking areas on up to 20% of their beaches.

Read more »

Battered by Sandy, Ocean Grove Boardwalk Finally Returns

ocean-grove-boardwalk-rebuild-940x540

In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, even as millions of dollars in donations poured in for her victims, I said that things were going to get a whole lot worse before they got better.

The Ocean Grove boardwalk is an example of that.

Ocean Grove is a small town in New Jersey’s northern beaches between Asbury Park and Avon by the Sea. Ocean Grove calls itself “God’s Square Mile at the Jersey Shore.” The town can get away with putting church and state together because the town is owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. If you buy a home in Ocean Grove, you don’t own the land. You’re signing a lease with OGCMA, most of which have terms of “99 years in perpetuity.” They own the beaches, too, which is why they’re closed on Sunday morning. (Side note: Despite their religious bent, you can still BYOB in Ocean Grove while the practice is still banned in Ocean City.)

During Superstorm Sandy, Ocean Grove lost a chunk of its fishing pier, and its boardwalk was destroyed.

Ocean Grove, like many distressed Jersey Shore towns, applied for $1 million in aid from FEMA to rebuild its boardwalk.

Read more »

Guy Fieri Is Coming to Atlantic City: Nucky Knuckle Sandwiches Anyone?

Photo | Denise Truscello

Photo | Denise Truscello

It’s official: Guy Fieri — shock top, blond Food Network host Guy Fieri — is opening a restaurant in Atlantic City.

Guy Fieri’s Chophouse will open this summer at Bally’s, taking the spot that was once The Reserve plus the casino’s former poker room space (Bally’s new poker space is World Series of Poker branded. Fieri’s restaurant, like The Reserve, will be a steakhouse, though the concept is less traditional and more “simple with a twist,” according to the announcement.

I know people don’t like Fieri, but he’s not the worst thing that could come to Atlantic City.

Read more »

Uber, UberX Want to Be Jersey Shore’s Designated Driver

uber-shore-940x540

Uber is continuing its march across New Jersey by adding services for the South Jersey Shore, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

Today the company announced that both regular Uber (what it calls Uber BLACK) and UberX will start rolling on Friday, and will be most active on Friday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday from noon to 5 a.m.; and Sunday from noon to 3 a.m.. Ballpark prices put rides from Avalon to Sea Isle at $11 on uberX and $24 on Uber BLACK and from Sea Isle to Atlantic City at $56 on uberX and $118 on Uber BLACK — add more if you’re calling for an SUV in all cases.

My feelings are mixed.

Read more »

The New Jersey Casino Experiment Has Failed

AtlanticCityHow low can Atlantic City casinos go? The numbers for 2013 aren’t looking very good — for N.J.’s gambling resort, or for casinos across the country.

Last year, Atlantic City’s casinos brought in $235 million in gambling earnings. That’s bad — 35 percent less than 2012 —and even worse given the following:

  • The 2013 number includes the introduction of the much ballyhooed Internet gambling that was supposed to be the latest and greatest thing to save Atlantic City. Apparently not.
  • The 2013 earnings are still down 35 percent even when being compared to those of 2012, a year that included Superstorm Sandy. The storm shut down casinos entirely and slowed business for months after.

It’s not getting any better this year, either.

Read more »

Shore Trip Confessional: Peeing on the Garden State Parkway

cape-may-940x540

Last week I played hooky from my day job and drove to Cape May. The goal: Lock myself into a hotel room facing the ocean and work on a possible book project while enjoying what I consider a profound luxury — room service.

I was more than halfway there, on the Garden State Parkway just over the bridge between Ocean City and Sea Isle, when the front passenger tire blew. I pulled off to the side of the road, and after the shaking in my hands stopped, reached into my wallet to pull out my AAA card.

Read more »

Five Observations About Trying to Find a Date on the Internet in 2014

shutterstock_online-dating-keyboard-heart-400x400

When I was in my 20s, and stinging after a break-up, I would sometimes place a personal ad on Craigslist. I did so half seriously, half on a lark — I know a couple who met on Craigslist and who are now happily married with two children. So why not?

The answers were often entertaining, and sometimes random: once an ex-boyfriend replied (no, you’re really not a nice guy). And I actually met two men there: One was a former Navy Seal who occupied my time for a summer; the other was an environmentalist who showed up in a pleather duster and talked in a way that made me consider shimmying out of the bar’s bathroom window.

I find myself on the single side of things again, and even though I’ve vowed to not date until April, I placed an ad in Philadelphia and South Jersey anyway, just to see what would come of it.

In two weeks, I got about 60 responses (some of them were doubles, obviously guys sending the same response to anyone who posted). I noticed five things in those 60 replies. What I’ve quoted here has not been altered, except to redact the names of the not necessarily innocent.

Read more »

All of the Philly Bars I Went to In My 20s Have Closed

lucy940

Photo | Lucy’s Hat Shop. Author not pictured.

The end of Sugar Mom’s marked it: The bars of my youth are gone. The places I haunted as a 20-something are closed. Alfa, Sugar Mom’s, Bar Noir, Mad River, Lucy’s Hat Shop — kaput. Add Khyber Pass to that list, too, because while Khyber today is a very nice restaurant, it looks nothing like it did 10 years ago: a grimy club bar with writing on the bathroom walls and a second floor that shook when the band played too loud — which was always.

Philadelphia was not the same back then, either, not when I got my ticket to drink legally in 2001. No one was trying to re-brand the Gayborhood for marketing purposes. The dining scene was Le Bec Fin — period. No one was trying to convert everything into a condo. Of course this was before the domination of Facebook and Twitter, but we’d never have created a hashtag to make ourselves feel better for choosing Philadelphia. We were not city snobs. We didn’t need to tell people why we hung out in the city, or scream for validation. We just did.

Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »