Under new management since April, the Old Waterway Inn has been making the most of its prime intracoastal location with a lively entertainment slate.
ATLANTIC CITY — Despite its somewhat isolated location, tucked back in a corner of the Venice Park section of West Atlantic City next to a lagoon off the intracoastal waterway, the Old Waterway Inn has for decades been a popular spot among locals and regular resort guests. Built in the late 19th century and steeped in history, it’s the kind of place people would often seek out for a good meal in a maritime environment.
From a social standpoint, though, the Inn seemed to have distanced itself from the era when it bore more of a club-like atmosphere, having once morphed into a brothel and a rumrunners’ hangout after being founded by the Freemasons as the Lulu Temple Yacht Club.
“This became the major way station for liquor during Prohibition,” says Lisa Kennard, one of the Inn’s owners since April. “They’d bring it up the intracoastal, have dinner, play cards, have a few drinks, do their thing with the women, and at night they’d load the liquor into small canoes and ship it up the back bays into Atlantic City.”
Returning to that debauched brand of nautical lifestyle is not what current ownership has in mind, but the Inn has certainly started to better utilize its panoramic water views and potential to capitalize on boaters as customers than had previous ownership. Added to what was merely a long floating dock are several new boat slips, a “micro beach” with 75 tons of trucked-in sand, umbrella-equipped picnic tables and an entertainment slate that remained active all week long throughout the summer under a huge, canopied outdoor deck.
“Our first weekend open was the beginning of April and we only had about eight weeks to get everything out here up and running,” says Kennard, originally from south Philadelphia. “We basically concentrated on the deck and the boat slips and did as much as we could, but we have a lot more planned for next summer. We plan to put a barbecue pit in, add more slips and expand the bar area. It’s often three deep out here when we do Happy hour on Fridays.”
The remainder of this year’s deck activity is weather dependent, but the Inn continues to do a service-industry night Monday through Wednesday and featured live music and DJ Kenny Wyld every Friday through Sunday. Dane Anthony and the Sons of Thunder performed every Sunday from 2-7pm, and last Saturday, Sept. 3, the four-person youth band Either Way was jamming on the deck.
“They’re four kids ages 13 to 16 [Sarah Holt, Brant Vasquez, Johnny Zappas, Adrian Hires] and they’re fantastic,” says Kennard. “The female lead singer [Holt] has the most angelic voice you’ve ever heard. And they have quite a nice following.”
Continuing every Thursday from 9-11pm on the Inn’s deck is the Infinite Thoughts open-mike night — a platform for poets, singers, emcees, comedians, and musicians to share and practice their crafts. It is hosted each week by Classie Williamson of Williamson & Williamson Inc., and local author and poet Bruce Jennings of Silent Noise Productions.
“We have an open format that allows for true expression and exploration of one’s talents, but no matter the disparity between artists with regard to talent, the crowd is always supportive,” says DJ/promoter Blakk Dyno’mite, who teamed with DJ K-Ave to present Infinite Thoughts. “Generally we have a featured artist that has an opportunity to perform multiple times … and other acts range from spoken word artists, singers, rappers, comedians, politicians and basically anybody with an idea to share or a business to promote — all of which gives DJ K-Ave and I an opportunity to deejay and support artists in our area.”
Infinite Thoughts will continue on Thursday nights, weather permitting, and the Inn’s daily Happy hour will continue Monday through Friday, 5-7pm, with half-priced appetizers, $4 drink specials, and $2 Bud Light drafts all day. There will be upcoming NFL game-day specials throughout the fall, says Kennard, including buckets of Rolling Rock ponies on the deck. Visit Oldwaterwayinn.com or call 347-1793 for more.
Atlantic City is about to get a healthy dose of classical culture courtesy of a very unlikely source.
Esteemed filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick explore America’s greatest social experiment in their latest documentary, Prohibition, set to debut Oct. 2-4 at 8pm on PBS. The three-part miniseries follows the rise and fall of the 18th amendment and the era that encompassed its rule.
They never could enforce it, not really. In Atlantic City, the ban was a boon. The Amendment went out with the next tide.
With Sunday’s debut of Boardwalk Empire fast approaching, let’s look back on the period during which the series takes place, specifically the year 1920, the dawn of the Prohibition era.
In the 11th episode of this multi-part series, a distinguished panel of Atlantic City historians and authors continue to discuss the history of Atlantic City's famed Boardwalk.
In the eighth episode of this multi-part series, the distinguished panel of Atlantic City historians and authors start to discuss the wild history of sporting events in the resort — from boxing and cat boxing to indoor football and Yankees baseball.
The "Conversations & Storytelling" event, featuring a panel discussion on Atlantic City's vibrant history in relation to the new HBO series Boardwalk Empire, was held at Caesars Atlantic City on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, and was followed by a viewing party of the debut episode of the HBO drama series, based on Prohibition era Atlantic City. The event was presented by Atlantic City Weekly and the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA) in cooperation with the Carnegie Library Center of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; Caesars Atlantic City and Harrah's Entertainment; the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism; and the Atlantic City Free Public Library. The panelists included Ralph Hunter, Pinky Kravitz, Allen "Boo" Pergament, Vicki Gold Levi, Jim Waltzer and Izzy Posner. In the fifth episode of this multi-part series, a distinguished panel of Atlantic City historians and authors continue to discuss the African-American experience with regard to helping to build Atlantic City, how important the city was for blacks in terms of jobs, entrepreneurs, and entertainment....
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