Atlantic City first developed as a seaside resort in the Victorian era, and very much came into its own once a railway line was built between Philadelphia and the coast. The city was booming with its wooden boardwalk promenade where every Sunday you would find thousands of people adorned in their finest clothes walking along the boards.
The golden age of Atlantic City came about during the 1920’s with the establishment of prohibition and the rise to power of local racketeer, and political boss “Nucky Johnson” who refused to enforce prohibition allowing gambling dens, nightclubs and prostitution to flourish in the city as portrayed in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”.
The slow decline of Atlantic City as a destination resort came about following the war and the affordability of the automobile to most American families which now allowed them to travel further afield, and not be at the mercy of the railways. By the 1960’s it was obvious that Atlantic City was on the decline where apart from the short summer months vacancy signs were to be found everywhere.
The summer of 1964 was the height of the British invasion in America with the Beatles playing to a sold out Boardwalk Hall, which was also the host to the Democratic National Convention in August of that year.
In an effort to revitalize a dead city the voters in the State of New Jersey approved legalized gambling in 1976 making Atlantic City the only place in the nation to have casinos outside of Nevada. When Resorts International opened the first casino in the old Haddon Hall Hotel there were queues of people stretching down the Boardwalk waiting to get in to play the slots and table games.
Atlantic City was again reborn with casino operators, and land speculators from around the country buying up any land parcels they could find in order to build a casino on it. Today Atlantic City is again looking to revitalize itself with the approval of gaming in surrounding States people no longer have to travel to Atlantic City to gamble which is making the casinos work even harder to earn your business in the hope that Atlantic City will once again become the playground for New York and Philadelphia.
Looking to move away from just being a place to gamble Atlantic City is trying to reinvent itself as a place to come for its celebrity chef owned restaurants, such as Wolfgang Puck’s and Bobby Flay’s ,and what are without question the hottest night clubs on the East Coast.
The City has even developed a pedestrianized shopping district of outlet shops selling all the top designer labels in the hope of luring shoppers to the town.
Guide Atlantic City
Stay at the $2.4 billion Revel Resort that just opened in the spring of 2012. This 47 store mega resort has 1,900 rooms with 14 restaurants and bars scattered through the property. It also has two nightclubs with live entertainment, and the 5,500 seat Ovation Hall where you can watch performances from people such as Beyoncé, and Seal along with bands like the Eagles and Duran Duran.
For dinner try the “American Cut” Manhattan restaurateurs Marc Forgione’s first foray into Atlantic City for a phonebook sized T-bone steak that will have you talking for weeks to come. If that sounds like too much grab a Belgian beer and some frites from the “Mussel Bar” before hitting the 130,000 square foot casino to shoot some craps or play a little black jack.
The Revel is like something from another world with all the rooms having floor to ceiling views of the Atlantic Ocean, and come with an Apple Ipad that you can use to surf the web, and even take home for a cool $800 bucks.
A word of warning though is that if you like to smoke you will have to do it outside, with the Revel being the only 100% smoke free resort in the City.
Where to drink
The most famous watering hole in Atlantic City is the Irish Pub on St. James place built in 1903 as the Elwood Hotel the prohibition speakeasy has been through hurricanes, and high tides serving the famous, and the infamous. For great crack and a pint of Guinness this is the place to hang out plus they are open 24/7 so you never have to leave.
Where to eat
Some of the first people to move to Atlantic City were Italian and Irish immigrants, and seeing as the Irish are not renowned for their food we will concentrate on the Goomba’s with Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern in the Duck Town neighbourhood the place to go for traditional Southern Italian cooking. If you think that all of New Jersey is run by the Italian mafia this is your best bet of running into Tony Soprano while in A.C.
Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern 2300 Fairmount Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401Tel: 609-344-2439
Tony’s Baltimore Grill is the place locals go for their Pizza open since the 1920’s Tony’s is a no frills typical American bar that has the best pizza you will have ever tasted in your life. If Pizza is not your thing try the seafood special of shrimp, crabcakes, scallops with fries and coleslaw for only $12.75 All the Atlantic City police officers hang out at Tony’s so you know the food has to be good. Tony’s Baltimore Grill
2800 Atlantic Ave.Atlantic City, NJ 08401: Tel-609-345-5766
The White House Sub Shop is an Atlantic City tradition, and if you only ever leave the casinos once while you are in town make it over to the White house for the best sandwich in the world. Order a half regular Italian sub with everything including hot peppers. When the stars come to A.C. they never go home without a Sub from the White house, which has just opened a second location at the Trump Taj Mahal so I guess you do not even have to leave the casinos anymore for this little taste of heaven.
2301 Arctic Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401: Tel-609- 345-8599
When it comes to the hottest looking girls on the East Coast you will find them every weekend at one of a number of clubs that are located inside the casino’s if you want bikini clad waitresses to serve you drinks head on over to Harrah’s for their pool after dark where you might get to dance with Carmen Electra.
Right next door to Harrah’s is the City’s hippest casino the Borgata with its famous Gypsy bar and the clubs MurMur and the Mixx.
When they say there is nothing like the original they are talking about the Casbah in the Trump Taj Mahal which was the first club down on the Jersey Shore to get New York’s in crowd to travel two and a half hours down the Parkway from Manhattan to party in A.C. the Casbah has recently been renovated with a new state of the art sound and light system and remains packed solid every weekend.
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