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Summer At The Shore

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In Atlantic City, an unforgettable summer season is starting to heat up—and the best is still to come

By Felicia Lowenstein Niven

 

 

Whether you want to indulge your wilder side at the clubs, sip sangria served by bikini-clad waitresses, learn to cook like a gourmet chef, or be entertained by the hottest stars in music, look no further than this historic seaside destination.

 

Once upon a time, there were Barbershop quartets singing “Rosie” against the backdrop of sand and surf. There were comfortable old chairs at Zaberer’s and double-size, a.k.a. “Zaberized,” cocktails. There were intimate evenings with Sammy, Dean or Frank in a place known as the 500 Club.

This was the Atlantic City, NJ, of our parents and grandparents’ generations—the conventioneer’s town known for its wacky stunts, parade of celebrities and giant entertainment piers. It brought tourists from far and wide to walk the world-famous Boardwalk, taste salt water taffy and meet Mr. Peanut, the unmistakable character who greeted visitors outside the Planters Peanut store for many years.

Today’s Atlantic City is clearly more worldly, refined and sophisticated—but it’s just as much fun. The grand old hotels have given way to glittering resorts packed with amenities. The gala dances in seaside hotel ballrooms have been replaced by international entertainers and shows.

This summer, look no further than Atlantic City for your seasonal road trip. The welcome is warm, and this queen of resorts is already basking in the summer sun as its casinos gear up for their most exciting time of year.

Whether you want to indulge your wilder side at the clubs, sip sangria served by bikini-clad waitresses, learn to cook like a gourmet chef, or be entertained by the hottest stars in music, look no further than this historic seaside destination.

But beware. You might just be tempted to stay up past your bedtime.

Atlantic City Hilton Resort

Boston & The Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 347-7111, (800) 231-8687

www.hiltonac.com

Nothing says summer like the Hilton’s Beach Bar which this year features a new “look and feel” along with a new menu. The emphasis here is on partying and bottle service. Stop by on Fridays to hear Jerry Greenberg’s “Bringing Back the Music” rock tribute bands, playing favorites from Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Queen, and more. On Saturdays, enjoy parties hosted by the pretty girls of College Mansion. Sundays will feature live bands. Exclusive VIP sections with couch seating are available, but they’re limited.

The Hilton is also debuting new restaurants starting June 23rd. Simon Prime is an elegant, contemporary American steakhouse by famed chef Kerry Simon, who runs some of the coolest restaurants in Las Vegas. ONO Pan-Asian Bistro and Bar features exotic dishes from sushi to Rock Lobster with Kaffir lime butter. Nick’s Burger Bar offers more traditional fare with unique toppings and gourmet sauces. The Burger Bar will serve up exotic beer from countries around the world as well as adult “Kicked Up” shakes.

The resort’s all-star lineup of summer entertainment includes Blue Oyster Cult (July 2), Meat Loaf (July 10), Bret Michaels (July 16), Cheech & Chong (July 17), Eddie Money (July 24), and Dar Star Orchestra (August 6). Also, the Summer Speaker Series is presenting quite a lineup. Former President Bill Clinton (July 23), Ann Coulter & James Carville (August 21), and Former Vice President Dick Cheney (Sept. 18) will share their experiences and opinions with audiences. Check the website for details.

Bally’s Atlantic City

Park Place & The Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 340-2000, (800) BALLYS-7

www.ballysac.com

Rock ‘n roll legend Sammy Hagar has brought his high-energy Cabo Wabo Cantina lifestyle to the new Beach Bar at Bally’s. This “Tex Mex”-style restaurant will serve up Mexican fusion treats such as Spicy Jersey Shore Fries and Wabo Wings with Tequila-infused sauce. There’s also a full taco menu, along with appetizers and salads. The bar will feature live music on Thursdays through Saturdays and high-energy DJs throughout the week. Wednesday is 80’s night. Monday is Latin night. Tribute bands play on Thursdays.

Bally’s is also revamping its Wild Wild West Casino with a new dedicated Wheel of Fortune gaming area; a new live performance space, featuring more free entertainment; and a new Wild Wild Wings restaurant. There will be a dedicated beer pong area, a new beer bar, and for anyone who ever wanted to be a cowboy, a full-sized mechanical bull.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

One Borgata Way

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 317-1000, (866)-MYBORGATA

www.theborgata.com

Join the fashionable crowd at a SUNBAR pool party at The Water Club this summer. Each Sunday, as the sun begins to set, crowds will gather poolside and rock to the sounds of the resident DJ. The SUNBAR parties start June 27. SUNBAR will also be open to the public every night of the week as an extension of The Sunroom Lounge for cocktails and light bites.

Meanwhile, Mixx nightclub is debuting a new vibe this summer with a dance club experience that will feature the country’s top DJs. DJ Samantha Ronson and singer-songwriter Orianthi, the late Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist, will kick off the season on June 26.

The Borgata is also home this summer to some of the biggest names in entertainment on stage. The Kings of Leon, Adam Lambert, Conan O’Brien, sting and Jerry Seinfeld are on the roster. The Borgata is also hosting Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated July 4 performance at Boardwalk Hall, and Rihanna at the Event Center on August 14.

Caesars Atlantic City

2100 Pacific Avenue

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 348-4411, (800) 443-0104 (reservations)

www.harrahs.com

It’s a whirlwind of entertainment at Caesars this summer. Enjoy Ringo Starr on July 3, Huey Lewis and the News on July 10, and Melissa Ethridge on July 17. August brings Willie Nelson, the Black Eyed Peas, Heart, and Sheryl Crow.

If you’ve ever had a secret desire to party like a rock star, hit the floor at Dusk. A private venture within Caesars, Dusk is open to the public as a nightclub destination on Tuesday (industry night) and Saturday nights from 10 pm to 4 am. Hostesses with glow sticks escort guests to their seats, where they can enjoy bottle service, DJs, dancing and a light show. Celebrity sightings are frequent in this super-cool venue.

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City

777 Harrah’s Blvd.

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 441-5000, (800) 2-HARRAH

www.harrahs.com

If you’ve ever wanted to be a celebrity chef, or just dabble in gourmet cooking, here’s your chance. Harrah’s Entertainment has opened the Viking Cooking School, giving guests a chance to learn and perfect cooking skills in a state-of-the-art facility. Popular regional and national guest chefs will teach unique classes such as “Thai Taste Explosions” and the “Girls Night Out” series.

Then on July 29-August 1, Harrah’s  will be home to the 2010 Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. Your favorite Food Network stars, from Guy Fieri to Sandra Lee, will make special appearances. There will be more than 40 events including cooking demos, wine and spirits seminars and walk-around tastings. The festival will take place at all four Atlantic City properties: Harrah’s, Caesars, Showboat and Bally’s.

Musical entertainment also abounds at Harrah’s this summer. The acclaimed all male a cappella group, Straight No Chaser, will perform from July 2 through August 28.

Meanwhile, WET Sundays at The Pool—the resort’s year-round tropical paradise—features DJs, dancers and live performances, starting at 4 p.m. on Sundays, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Sitting beneath a 90-foot-high glass dome and featuring an Olympic-size pool, six Jacuzzis, 12 Cabanas, and indoor and outdoor decks, The Pool is a party location that must be experienced.

Don’t miss The Pool After Dark, Harrah’s nightclub experience. DJs take the party to the next level. You never know who you might meet; Carmen Electra to Kim Kardashian have dropped by. While you’re there, check out the Loft, a brand new and exclusive balcony area with bottle service in an ultra lounge setting.

Resorts Atlantic City

1133 Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 344-6000 or (800) 336-6378

www.resortsac.com

Join the nonstop dance party that is Boogie Nights, every Friday and Saturday night at Resorts. Guests are transported back to the 1970’s and 1980’s with lava lamps, funky furniture and staff dressed as 70’s and 80’s characters. Table reservations, VIP seating, bottle service, wedding, wedding vow renewal ceremonies, class reunions and private events are available during Boogie Nights.

Resorts will also throw a retro party outside the property each week with “Boogie on the Boardwalk.” These events feature 70’s and 80’s music, along with the chance to hula hoop with the Boogie Nights dancers; play Twister with a roller girl; or race a slinky with Mr. Boogie. Boogie on the Boardwalk cranks up the music each Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

When you’re hungry, stop by The Burger Bar, located directly across from Gallagher’s Steak House at Resorts. The Bar is debuting a new menu just in time for summer. Coconut shrimp and mozzarella triangles are among the new appetizers. Italian Burgers, Buffalo Chicken Burgers and Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches are among the tantalizing new entrees.

Throughout the summer, big-name entertainers will be on property to give performances. Rodney Carrington on July 17; Bill Engvall on August 14; and KC and the Sunshine Band on August 21.

Showboat – The Mardi Gras Casino

801 Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 343-4000, (800) 621-0200

www.harrahs.com

Catch a show at Showboat—for free. You can enjoy free Mardi Gras parades Wednesday through Sunday; these parades begin at the lobby bar stage and feature dancers, singers, musicians and acrobats performing to 50 minutes of Cajun-inspired New Orleans rhythms. Parades march three times daily, at 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

For a more provocative performance, try either X Burlesque or the Men of X. Fresh from Las Vegas, these shows are making their East Coast debut in Atlantic City. X Burlesque has been described as a show that “pushes the envelope” with its erotic dancing, costuming and lighting. The music features some of the hottest artists today, including The Muse, Wolf Mother and the Pussycat Dolls. Their male counterparts entertain as Men of X. This all-male revue showcases a sexy six-pack of men as they strut their stuff. Both shows are at Club Worship. Check the website for times and other details.

Tropicana Casino and Resort

Brighton Avenue & Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 340-4000, (800) 843-8767

www.tropicana.net

The appropriately named FIN seafood restaurant just opened at Tropicana. FIN features locally-grown food and wine from New Jersey fishermen, farmers and vintners. Menu items range from “Chef D’s Dancing Shrimp” to Crabsickles. The extensive wine list includes “50 Under $50,” showcasing local, reasonably-priced wines. The space itself sports a “sea chic” theme with an outdoor oceanfront patio where diners may be seated, weather permitting.

A full schedule of entertainment is also planned. Craig Ferguson (July 9), the Wonder Girls (July 16) and Daughtry in Concert (August 7) are just some of the acts coming to The Trop this summer. Boxing fans will enjoy Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing on July 17.

The Cuban-themed Quarter at the Tropicana continues to attract huge crowds to its amazing mix of signature restaurants, retails shops and colorful bars. The third annual Taste of The Quarter take places on Monday, August 30. For $25, attendees can sample special menu items at Tropicana’s restaurants and nightlife venues. Proceeds benefit the United Way of Atlantic County.

Trump Marina Casino Hotel

Huron Avenue & Brigantine Blvd.

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609 441-2000, (800) 966-6608

www.trumpmarina.com

Trump Marina delivers big laughs this summer as its hit show Hypnosterical II returns to The Shell, July 1 through September 5. Starring master hypnotist Joe Boccuti, Hypnosterical II is a funny and edgy adult-oriented comedy hypnosis show. There are no “plants” in the audience; you’re seeing real hypnosis (done in a hilarious manner). Boccuti puts volunteers under his spell and gets them to have some R-rated fun, and no two shows are alike.

Tribute bands will rock the Deck with the sounds of your favorite performers, from Foreigner to Green Day, Jimmy Buffett, The Who, Styx and Billy Joel. The free Jerry Garcia Art Show will complement the music this weekend.

Starting Independence Day weekend, The Disco opens at Trump Marina. DJ Jim Stritch mans the turntables, spinning everyone’s favorite tunes from the 70’s and 80’s. The Disco will be open every Friday and Saturday night at 9 p.m., and will stay open for entire holiday weekends.

Ragdoll, A Tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons returns to The Shell August 28 and is considered one of the best tribute groups on the circuit.  With fine harmonies and the falsetto of lead singer, Eddy Rezzonico, this tribute brings back the era when Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons ruled the charts.

Enjoy free live entertainment in the Main Atrium from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, courtesy of Trump Marina’s 25 anniversary celebration.

Trump Plaza

Mississippi Avenue at the Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 441-6000, (800) 677-7378

www.trumpplaza.com

Head to the Beach Bar that the Travel Channel voted as one of the 21 Sexiest Beach Bars in the World. It’s right here at Trump Plaza, and there’s something planned for every day of the week. Try Beach Blast Mondays, Sin on the Beach Tuesdays, Beach Idol Wednesdays, Live Rockin’ Thursdays, Sex in the Atlantic City Fridays, or Sultry Saturdays. There’s no cover charge on Locals Sundays.

Las Vegas’ number one show is now in Trump Plaza’s theater. V: The Ultimate Variety Show features mind-blowing illusions, laugh-out-loud comedians, and award-winning vocals. This family-friendly show is hosted by Michael Holly, known for his talent in juggling, magic, mentalism and comedy. It features Ronn Lucas, a remarkable ventriloquist who has performed for U.S. presidents and the Queen of England. It also features Jason Bryne, twice named Stage Magician of the Year, and 16-year-old singing virtuoso Bianca Ryan, winner of America’s Got Talent.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to see the doctor—Dr. Bobby Fingers, that is. He brings his hilarious act to Jezebel’s every Friday and Saturday night. He’ll often turn a song on its head by inserting his own funny lyrics, and every performance is unique. You can sing along, or just sit back and enjoy.

Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort

1000 Boardwalk at Virginia Ave.

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 449-1000, (800) 225-7777

www.trumptaj.com

“The grandest circus spectacle east of Vegas” is now at Trump Taj Mahal. Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy will be performed through September 5. The show, which debuted on Broadway, is a groundbreaking theatrical, acrobatic and musical adventure. Life in a fantastical jungle is brought to life by soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians. From its breathtaking, soaring butterflies to balancing giraffes and gigantic flowers, this show will entertain audiences of all ages.

The American Idol Live Tour! will be in town at Trump Taj Mahal on July 10, Santana and Steve Winwood on July 24, Simon and Garfunkel perform on July 31. Later in the summer, catch Stevie Nicks (August 27) and Donna Summer (August 28).

When you’re hungry, soup’s on at SOUP, the newest venue to open along the Taj’s Spice Road. SOUP offers eight hot and cold soups daily, including chicken noodle, Manhattan and New England clam chowder, tomato soup, and minestrone. All soups are served in a 16-oz bowl with a bag of oyster crackers for $4.95.

A Final Word

Located just three hours from New York and an hour from Philadelphia, Atlantic City is an easy drive from nearly one-third of the nation’s population. It’s a compact city that can be toured in a couple of days, or if more time is allowed, there’s plenty to do just beyond the city’s boundaries. For more information about lodging and activities, visit the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority at www.atlanticcitynj.com.

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