Specials like Nucky Johnson’s Happy Hour at the Chelsea are cropping up all over the area, amidst the ballyhooed return of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Sept. 16.
As testimonial to the third-season return of acclaimed HBO series Boardwalk Empire, several area establishments are on board with specials such as the Chelsea hotel’s Nucky Johnson Happy Hour, running every Thursday, Friday and Saturday (5-7pm) through September.
The Chelsea is revisiting the Prohibition era by “conjuring the long-lost period of glamour, gangsters and speakeasies” with a special cocktail menu that befits the era. Bartenders with an historical perspective on cocktails might note that Prohibition (1920-’33) saw some pretty unsavory bootlegged whiskey and bathtub gin, so mixologists had to get creative with ingredients that masked a bad taste. Making drinks more palatable also served to allow patrons to extend their speakeasy stays by “nursing” their illegal booze longer, and so successful were some of these concoctions that many are still popular even today, nearly 80 years after Prohibition was repealed.
Among the 1920s-era drinks the Chelsea is serving during its Nucky Happy Hour are the Gin Fizz (gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water), the Old Fashioned (whiskey, blended sugar and bitters, and a twist of citrus), the Colony Cocktail (gin, grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur, chilled), the Bee’s Knees (gin, honey syrup and fresh lemon juice), Champagne Punch and others. Drinks are priced at $8 or $14 for top shelf, and the Nucky Happy Hour will also feature 20 percent off all whiskies and bourbons.
Additionally, Chelsea Prime steakhouse is doing the “Boardwalk Empire Tasting Menu” from 5-10pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday through September. The five-course menu includes, as main courses, Lobster Thermidor, Steak Oscar, Beef Wellington and other dishes popular in the 1920s, but given a contemporary twist. This special is $65 per person, or $105 per person when paired with a whiskey or bourbon flight.
The unique retail store “A Time for Wine” (with sites at Caesars and in the Quarter at Tropicana) has two custom-blended red wines that are a tribute to the series — Nucky’s Boardwalk Red and Nucky’s Speak Easy Reserve. The wine is available for a limited time. There are also signed copies of Judge Nelson Johnson’s book Boardwalk Empire available at the store for $29.95.
There are several $19.20 Boardwalk Empire specials going on, including the Tun Tavern’s offer of a full pitcher of any of its home-brewed, hand-crafted beers and a dozen wings, available only at the bar from 9pm-closing daily. McCormick & Schmick’s at Harrah’s, Tony’s Baltimore Grill on Atlantic Avenue, Back Bay Ale House in Gardner’s Basin, Johnny’s Café in Margate and Formica Brothers Café in Northfield are all running similar specials.
The city-owned Links at Brigantine Beach golf course in Brigantine has a unique Boardwalk Empire-themed special going. The Links notes that “golf, like alcohol during Prohibition, was once banned by a royal decree from 1457 to 1502, and later laws and religious persecution prohibited the play of golf on Sundays. [Therefore] both speakeasies and golf were used to sneak in that forbidden, yet needed, ‘shot.’ The traditional ‘links-style’ courses [made popular in Scotland] were typically situated between two or more bodies of water amid rolling terrain, which allowed golfers to sneak out for a round or two unseen by the populace, and unnoticed by the authorities.”
The Links is offering a “sunset golf by the bay” deal from 6pm-to-nightfall where greens fees are just $19.20 seven days a week through the end of the year.
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