There’s plenty of pleasant weather left this year, and lots of spots with patios or outdoor decks on which to dine and enjoy a few drinks al fresco.
It can sometimes seem like a switch was flicked off in terms of shore-town activity levels beyond Labor Day weekend, but this is still an ideal time of year to enjoy the sights and sounds of the surf, soak up some sun, or savor that salty brine.
Many venues have outdoor decks and patios that remain open as long as weather conditions permit, including one that just finished up its first full summer of operation, the Diving Bell Biergarten. Sited on the far end of the Steel Pier (where the go-carts used to be, and a phase-one component of a multi-year, $102 million renovation project that will turn the Steel Pier into a year-round destination), the Biergarten was open daily throughout the summer and has scaled back to Saturdays and Sundays from noon to around midnight through mid-October, along with the rest of the Steel Pier.
It still offers occasional live music [among the recurring talent is Scott Gager, aka Scotty Andrews, a country tribute artist who replicates well Randy Travis, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks and others], a reasonably priced food menu, and plenty of exceptional beers in bottles or on tap, including Blue Moon, Landshark, Yeungling, Victory and Sam Adams. There is nary a bad view from the Biergarten, as patrons are either looking out into the ocean or toward the A.C. skyline.
“It was a good first summer,” says Bill Catanoso of Steel Pier Associates, who purchased the Pier last year from Trump Entertainment Resorts after serving as lease operators for the prior 20 years. “We opened eight weeks late because of construction [delays] and we still exceeded last year’s numbers. It was a real good summer in the sense that it feels like things are moving in the right direction.”
A few blocks south, Harry’s Oyster Bar at Bally’s has 26 seats and four HDTVs at its outside bar, and an additional 65 dining seats on an outdoor patio in the Dennis Courtyard. The Boardwalk Beer Garden, on the other side of the Pier Shops at Caesars, is still going strong with live music, lots of quality suds, specialty drinks and excellent pub fare, plus a daily 4-7pm happy hour.
The Deck at Golden Nugget is still doing live music on weekends along with food and drink specials. This weekend it’s The Loop on Friday (Sept. 21) starting 7pm, Pop Scene at 2pm and Funkybone at 7pm on Saturday, and the Exceptions at 2pm Sunday. The following weekend is the three-day (Sept. 28-30) Oktoberfest at the Deck sponsored by Paulaner Brewery of Germany. Performing will be Sleeveless Hearts (7pm) on Friday, and No Pressure (2pm) and Seven Stone (7pm) on Saturday.
Across the water in Gardner’s Basin, Scales Grill & Deck Bar is a fun hangout accessible by land or sea, with a large outdoor deck, great views, excellent fare, specialty drinks and a 4-6pm daily happy hour.
Sited just off the Albany Avenue bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic City’s Wonder Bar is a popular place among the locals. It too stays open as long as the weather allows and, like Scales, has a long floating dock that makes it a favorite among boaters.
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