It's the summer of love in the Atlantic City area in 2010
Atlantic City Weekly celebrates its 36th summer (formerly as the Whoot!) this year and with that in mind we’ve put together a list — in no particular order — of 36 things to love about the Atlantic City region this season. Aside from the plethora of classic-rock bands booked at the casinos and around the region, love will be in the air this summer whether you’re out partying at one of Atlantic City’s world-class night spots, dining at a favorite shore nook, or soaking up the sounds of the ocean on a family beach day. Do you have other good ideas for the summer of 2010? Leave a comment below.
1. The Hilton: Once an underdog on the Atlantic City casino scene, the new and improved Hilton has been spending money on new restaurants (Simon Prime, Ono, etc.), opening this summer with a high-profile speaker series that includes Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney. We’re looking forward to the Ann Coulter vs. James Carville event on Aug. 21. hiltonac.com
2. The Atlantic City Air Show: On Aug. 25 the beach and Boardwalk will be transformed into a giant block party for “Thunder Over the Boardwalk,” the annual air show, which is one of the biggest in the country. Watch the flybys and more than 100,000 people with sore necks from looking up for hours. atlanticcitynj.com/acairshow
3. Steve & Cookie’s Farmers Market: The third annual Farmers Market at this Margate mainstay starts Thursday, June 24, then runs every Thursday from 9am-12:30pm through the summer. One of the best-kept secrets at the Jersey shore (maybe not anymore) featuring fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, free-trade coffee and seafood. “All local, all fresh.” steveandcookies.com
4. Joe Lewis Walker: This year’s free Somers Point beach concert series is one of the best in recent years. Kicking off the Friday night beach concerts (7-9pm) is award-winning blues singer Janiva Magness (June 18). The rest of the series is packed with local rockers, some of New Orleans’ finest musicians, and more blues legends, including Joe Lewis Walker (Aug. 6), whose latest album, Between a Rock & the Blues, won the Blues Music Awards’ Album of the Year for 2010. joelouiswalker.com
5. Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival: Presented by the Food Network, July 29-Aug. 1, and hosted by Caesars, Harrah’s Resort, Bally’s and Showboat, this star-studded, four-day destination event will showcase the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. If you’ve watched them on the Food Network, it’s likely you’ll see them in Atlantic City for this party of the taste buds. harrahs.com/ACFoodAndWine2010
6. Jazz on the Beach Series: The Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation presents its 11th annual free jazz concert series on the Atlantic City Boardwalk at Kennedy Plaza starting July 1. The series runs every Thursday through Aug. 12 and features world-renowned headliners like Avery Sharpe and Tim Warfield along with local openers such as Hammond B3 legend Dan Fogel. chickenbonebeach.org
7. Iggy Pop & the Stooges at the House of Blues at Showboat: Not really much more to say than that. Oh, except for the date: Aug. 27. Iggypop.com
8. July 4 Weekend: An enormous amount of talent will be taking the casino stages in Atlantic City over the big holiday weekend, including the Flaming Lips, Lady Gaga, Dane Cook, Ringo Starr, Diddy and Dierks Bentley. Look at number 30 for fireworks info. acweekly.com/upcoming
9. FIN: The new seafood restaurant at the Tropicana, featuring the culinary skills of locally raised and trained chef Demetrios Haronis, opened this month. The Mediterranean chef “invites you to dive into his delectable menu utilizing the finest local seafood.” Mmmm. We’ll be there. tropicana.net/fin
10. STAR BAR: The Trump Taj Mahal’s Casbah nightclub celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer and with a new entertainment manager, the focus will be on “bigger name DJs” and more celeb appearances ala Dusk, Providence and mur.mur. Additionally, the Taj has renovated the outdoor STAR BAR at the Casbah, featuring “Atlantic City’s only bottle service with a beachfront view.” trumptaj.com
11. SUNBAR: Not to be confused with the venue above, this poolside retreat at the Borgata’s Water Club debuts on Sunday, June 27, for a reason. Touted by the Borgata as “the only place in Atlantic City to be when the weekend’s winding down,” the SUNBAR, located at the Water Club’s outdoor pool, is gearing up for a big summer especially on Sundays. Open to the public daily at 7pm (it serves as the pool for Water Club guests during the day), the venue will start to shine as the sun sets each Sunday. The Borgata expects the outdoor nightlife venue to bring in celebs and fashionable crowds with the vibe being close to Miami’s South Beach. theborgata.com
12. Boardwalk Empire: The highly anticipated HBO series, based on the book, Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption Of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson, is set to kick off in September, but the buzz will be buzzing all summer long. hbo.com/boardwalkempire
13. AC Weekly Happy Hour Club: In its first summer, our Happy Hour Club has really taken off. Every other Thursday, a local bar in the Atlantic City region will host one of our happy hour events, which will include drink specials and complimentary light fare from 5:30-7:30pm. Our first event at Sofia in Margate was a blast and the next event is at Hibiscus in Somers Point on June 24. See a full schedule and more details at acweekly.com/happyhour
14. Classic Rock Bands: Get out the love beads and dab yourself in pachouli this summer as the area’s stages feature some of the best (surviving) bands from the 1960s. After a spring that saw the likes of Procol Harum, Jethro Tull, members of the Doors and others from the hippie-era, here’s a taste of what summer has in store for the “freaks” and “long-hairs” out there (rest in peace Dennis Hopper): Yes & Peter Frampton at Borgata (June 19), Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa at the House of Blues (June 27), Blue Oyster Cult at the Hilton (July 2), Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band at Caesars (July 3), Cheech & Chong at the Hilton (July 17), Santana and Steve Winwood at the Taj Mahal (July 24), Hippiefest, featuring Jack Bruce, War, Badfinger and Mitch Ryder, at Resorts (Aug. 7), Tommy James and the Shondells at the House of Blues (Aug. 21) and Jackson Browne at Borgata (Sept. 4-5). acweekly.com/upcoming
15. Smitty’s Clam Bar: Every May, when this Somers Point eatery returns from its winter hibernation, it’s like the cap of summer has officially been twisted off. Celebrating more than three decades on Bay Avenue, the Clam Bar — known simply as Smitty’s to many — is the epitome of a shore-town seafood shack. Best clam chowder this side of New England and the nicest staff you could ask for.
16. Beachstock: Margate’s going with the summer of love theme this year too with its Saturday, June 26, beach party dubbed Beachstock. The festivities will take place behind the Margate Library from noon to 10pm. One of the area’s greatest guitarists, Danny Eyer, will be playing, along with Sons of Jah. There will be family activities galore, as well as a bikini dunk tank, cold beer, plenty of food and a sunset movie on the beach. marvelousmargate.com
17. Night in Venice: Ocean City will be the place to be this July 24 as the annual Night in Venice boat parade — one of the biggest in the world — kicks off at 7:30pm. Even if you’re not in the boat parade, this event captivates crowds across the island, with folks having deck parties all along the bay to watch the themed boats and colorful characters on them. Ocnj.us
18. Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s: Dozens of cooking classes to choose from, either in 90 minute or three-hour sessions with enticing titles like Girls Night Out, Thai Dinner Party, Sushi Workshop and Inspired by the Hit Movie Julie & Julia-Mastering French Cuisine. harrahsresort.com
19. Sammy’s Beach Bar: Bally’s has re-branded its beach bar in a partnership with Sammy Hagar, keeping the bikini-clad servers, and adding Sammy-sized specialty drinks, Mexican-themed bar food and plenty of music. ballysac.com
20. MGMT at Borgata: The ’60s may be over, but a new crop of psychadelic artists have emerged over the past decade, including MGMT, whose 2008 breakout debut Oracular Spectacular was heralded by all the critics and became a major smash with fans across the globe. MGMT appears at the Borgata Aug. 21 in support of its fantastic new album, Congratulations. whoismgmt.com
21. RNS Show House at the Shore: Last year it was Skinny D’Amato’s home, this year it’s a 4,500-square-foot Dutch Colonial house in Ocean City. Dubbed Windsong on Wesley, this year’s Show House will be open to the public from July 10-Aug. 15 from 10am-5pm with extended hours to 8pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The RNS Show House program — in its 19th year — raises funds for the Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer & Heart Fund. A $25 fee allows you to tour the home. rnscancerandheartfund.org
22. The Chelsea: The Chelsea’s amped-up nightlife options include Chelsea Prime’s Thirsty Thursdays, offering half off all bottles of wine. Thursday is also “Locals Night” at the C5 nightclub and the outdoor, poolside Cabana Club. If you’d like to test your pipes as well as the wine, there will also be karaoke at the new Backroom at Teplitzky’s every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Thursdays will also be Karaoke Night Out, designed for the GLBT community. Happy hour is seven days a week from 5-10pm featuring daily drink specials. thechelsea-ac.com
23. The Jersey Shore: The shore down here is nothing like the Jersey Shore portrayed on the idiotic MTV show.
24. Free Beaches: You don’t have to pretend to be asleep or go in the water when a beach-tagger comes along at these beaches. Enjoy mother nature for no cost at Atlantic City, Strathmere, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest daily, and Margate on Thursdays. Find out more here.
25. Blues Cruise: There’s nothing quite like listening to great music while enjoying the natural scenery from a boat. The Bubba Mac’s Blues Cruise is providing just that, with a party thrown in for good measure. On June 26, from 7-10pm, hop aboard the Jessie O’ II Party Boat and hang out with one of the most popular blues bands at the Jersey Shore. The event includes live blues, a boat cruise and light fare. BYOB. Tickets are $35. Five such cruises are being planned for the summer. Call 412-3635 or visit bubbamac.com for tickets.
26. Stockton Goes to the Beach Concerts in Ocean City: Enjoy a variety of talented artists and tribute bands, ranging from the music of John Denver and the Bee Gees to the more rock/heavy metal inspired Winger. All shows will be held at the Music Pier in Ocean City every Monday starting July 5. Tickets are $25 for all performances, including: Country Roads: The Music of John Denver & Dan Fogelberg (July 5), The Little River Band (July 12), Jay & the Americans (July 19), The Association (July 26), “Ricky Nelson Remembered” starring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band (Aug. 2), Winger (Aug. 9), B.J. Thomas (Aug. 16) and Stayin’ Alive - the ultimate Bee Gees tribue band (Aug. 23). Stockton.edu/pac
27. International Nights Series: The Atlantic City Free Public Library and the City of Atlantic City will co-present the third annual International Nights weekly series every Wednesday in July and August at Kennedy Plaza on the Boardwalk. Starting at 7pm, the 90-minute shows will feature live music and dance performances from various cultures. All shows are free and suitable for all ages. acfpl.org
28. Bally’s Boardwalk BBQ Bash: Summer and BBQs go hand in hand, and Bally’s is taking the summer staple to the next level. On Saturday, June 26, the Dennis Courtyard at Bally’s will host a humdinger of a BBQ bash, including two sessions from noon-3pm and 4-7pm with an all-you-can-eat buffet, a cash bar with imported beers, wine and cocktails, and great desserts. The Bobby Lynch Band and the North of Mason Dixon Band will perform live, with DJs filling in between sets. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or in person at the event. ballysac.com
29. The New MIXX: With a grand opening slated for June 26, the Borgata’s very first nightclub, MIXX, is getting a facelift. The transformation will include a “sensual, city-inspired party vibe and dance club experience” with the country’s premier DJs, including residents DJ Vice and Samantha Ronson. theborgata.com
30. Fireworks: The area’s fireworks include Fireworks by Grucci on the ocean July 2, 9:30pm, off a barge near the Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City and a spectacular display in the casino’s marina district, between Borgata and Harrah’s Resort on July 4 at 9pm. Also on July 4, Ocean City does its display at Carey Stadium, Sea Isle City does it on the beach at JFK Blvd., and Margate and Wildwood also have fireworks.
31. Live Music at Local Bars: That’s right, live music is making a comeback at the Jersey shore. In between karaoke nights and DJs, local bands — many of them very talented musicians — have found venues to play such as Hibiscus in Somers Point, the Malelani Café in Ventnor, the Trinity at the Pier Shops at Caesars, which is holding a battle of the bands this summer, and even the restaurant at the House of Blues.
32. American Idol Madness: With the official live touring show July 10 at the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City will also host Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta June 26 at Borgata; Kris Allen, Aug, 7 at Borgata and Daughtry Aug. 7 at the Tropicana. acweekly.com/upcoming
33. The Disco: Trump Marina’s Wave has been reborn as The Disco, with the official kick-off July 2 (Friday night of the July 4 weekend). The kick-off party starts 9pm and the club will be open every Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer, with special-occasion nights thrown in. Action will really “get down and boogie” around midnight, when Trump Marina’s outdoor nightlife hot spot, The Deck, closes down for the night.
34. Summer Solstice Parade: At first it was merely an idea, now, thanks to several volunteers from throughout the Atlantic City region, it’s a reality. The inaugural Summer Solstice Parade will take place on the Atlantic City Boardwalk June 26 starting at 1pm. The free event will have a Carnivale theme with brightly painted cyclists, colorful floats, costumed ensembles, a movie on the beach under the full moon, and live Boardwalk entertainment. Spectators are encouraged to join the parade as it traverses the Atlantic City Boardwalk from New York to Albany Avenue. acsolsticeparade.com
35. Atlantic City Comedy Festival: A two-night laugh fest will take place at Boardwalk Hall Sept. 3 & 4 with 10 comics performing, including D.L. Hughley, Sommore and Mike Epps. accomedyfestival.com
36. Fakefest: Returning to the Deck at Trump Marina, Friday through Sunday, June 25-27, for another celebration of the tribute band. Enjoy a weekend of classic rock, alternative and pop renditions of your favorite tunes featuring some of the best tribute bands anywhere. Some of the bands include Dookie (Green Day), Who’s Next (The Who), Kiss Army (Kiss), Parrot Beach (Jimmy Buffet) and the B Street Band (Bruce Springsteen). See acweekly.com/events for full schedule.
If all goes as planned, Atlantic City will have its most substantial non-gaming, built-from-the-ground-up and demographically diversified amenity in place by 2014.
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