A hit since its debut last summer, the Boardwalk Beer Garden returns with new menu items from Phillips Seafood, specialty cocktails and a spiced up ambiance in its sophomore summer season.
Realtors preach the virtues of location as the top selling point for prospective buyers, and the same quality could cross over to business success.
Place a business in a desirable location and you’ll get patrons, but keeping them coming back means offering a quality product and fresh incentives.
The Boardwalk Beer Garden achieved that right from the start last summer when it arrived on the boards in front of Caesars, providing a revolving selection of craft beers and various live bands and entertainment options.
All that returns, and the Beer Garden — a comfortable al fresco component to Dusk nightclub and the 21 Bar at Caesars — has capitalized even further on its favored location by teaming with neighboring Phillips Seafood for a new food menu, plus adding a slew of summer-themed cocktails to its extensive selection of brews.
“We’ve revolutionized the concept of the Beer Garden this year, and added a couple different elements to really capitalize on our exceptional location,” says Craig Slotkin, director of operations and marketing for Dusk Management Group. “Last year was a great summer for us. We had a lot of repeat customers, everybody was pretty happy with what we offered, and we felt that we had the best real estate on the Boardwalk. If you drove into Atlantic City off the AC Expressway and kept heading toward the beach, you’d pretty much drive right up to the steps of the Beer Garden.
“We knew we had a great location and a great concept, but we wanted to come up with some new ideas on how to kick it up a notch. We’re remaining true to what worked last summer — rotating anywhere from 20 and 25 craft beers and changing the selection every two weeks or so — and complementing our beer selection we’ve revamped our whole cocktail program. We now have about 25 new specialty drinks that are summer inspired, and served kind of Mardi Gras style in big ‘yard’ glasses [tall decorative glasses and straws]. Last weekend when it got really hot, about 10 different frozen drinks were flying off the shelves when people came in to cool off.”
Slotkin says management redesigned the interior and exterior sections of the bar to give it a more “beachie” feel, and added lights around the enclosing fence on the Boardwalk to help spice up the nightlife vibe. During the summer days acoustic duos, trios and quartets perform a variety of largely beach-themed classics, and at night the Beer Garden morphs into more of a full-blown nightlife vibe.
“Last Saturday we stayed open until three in the morning with people dancing out there all night,” says Slotkin. “At night on weekends we’ll have DJs out there, and about 11 o’clock on a nice Saturday night it’ll almost seem like there’s a flash mob on the Boardwalk in front of the Beer Garden sometimes. It’s a sight to behold.”
Certainly a most significant change to the Beer Garden is this summer’s addition of Phillips’ food menu, offering items from crab-cake sandwiches, shrimp baskets and fish-n-chips to landlubber fare like chicken fingers and wings. Soon management hopes to add a late-night entrée menu too.
“We’ve partnered with Phillips Seafood, which has their express window right across from us [the main restaurant is on the third floor of The Pier Shops], and we’re working on launching a special dinner entrée menu hopefully some time in early July that will offer guests some casual late-night dining options right on the Boardwalk. So far it’s been a great success. The customers really seem to like it. Last summer we didn’t offer food at all.
“We like to feel we have our own niche within Atlantic City, and consider all three properties — Dusk, 21 Bar and the Beer Garden — part of one complex that has three unique experiences, smack dab in the middle of Atlantic City. We’re like on the 50-yard line of Atlantic City, right at the footsteps of The Pier. It’s definitely a fun place to be on the Boardwalk.”
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