On Our Gaydar: Asbury Park

Go north, young men and women, for a gay old time at the Jersey Shore

Divine (courtesy of Hotel Tides)

Asbury Park, long associated with The Boss, has become a gay mecca thanks to plenty of LGBT-friendly destinations and events. One event that caught our eye recently is a new art exhibition (opens July 22) at the Hotel Tides that pays tribute to Divine, the drag queen that appeared in many of John Waters’ classic films like Pink Flamingoes, Hairspray and Female Trouble.

The art gallery at this chic boutique hotel may have only opened less than three years ago, but it’s been featuring experimental – and whimsical – fine art from international artists, as well as a few names from Philly.

This latest show features a new work called “All Things Divine” by Stephanie Riggi, which pays homage to one of Baltimore’s more infamous movie stars. If you’re thinking about making a trip to Asbury Park to catch the show and to get some R&R, here are a few tips about where to sleep, eat, drink and go.


The Berkeley Hotel is located steps from the boardwalk. Mod rooms and funky features punctuate this boutique

A junior suite at the Berkley Hotel (courtesy of Berkley Hotel)

hotel with a spa to wash away all of the day’s (and night’s) drama. You can even grab a bite at the Dauphin Grill, where they serve up seasonal bistro fare, or sip at the gay-friendly Berkeley Bar.

Meanwhile at Mike’s Big House Bed & Breakfast, the vibe is more low-key, but no less contemporary thanks to mid-century decor in a renovated old Victorian. For added privacy, ask about the carriage house within walking distance of the boardwalk and shopping district.

Eat + Drink

Paradise is one of the most popular gay nightclubs in Asbury, with dance nights featuring well-known DJs. If you’re here over the weekend, check out the Sunday tea dance – poolside. The old Stone Pony is also still

Eat al fresco at the Langosta Lounge (courtesy of Langosta Lounge)

hosting live music shows, along with The Saint, Watermark and WonderBar. On July 22, WonderBar hosts a Lady Gaga vs. Madonna vs. Rhianna dance party (8 p.m.).

Hungry? Grab a light bite at Georgie’s Bar & Grill or the Harrison Restaurant – where white table cloth meets white T-shirt. You will also find gay-friendly vibes at the tiki and beachy-inspired Langosta Lounge and Moonstruck (how you could not if it’s also the title of a Cher movie?) with a live piano bar and stellar wine list.


Frank Dandy swim trunks (courtesy of Frank Dandy)

If you’re not sunning on the white sands by day (or cruising the crowds of gay and lesbian tourists throughout the summer), then there’s a slew of shops in the downtown district – within walking distance from the boardwalk – ripe for window-shopping and more.

Pick up a little something retro (think 60s and 70s) at hidden gem Modern Living or consider treating your pet (or kid) sitter with something sweet from Candyteria.

Bodega is also a great store if you’re searching for a memento for your abode or your person (like luxury soaps and jewelry). Or give Etc. a shot – the shop caters to gay men with Frank Dandy swim trucks and T-shirts from Shades of Gray and Bill Tornade.