Archive for the ‘Bars’ category

Top 5 Overplayed Jersey Shore Cover Band Songs

July 7, 2010

Jon Bon Jovi or Jersey girl? I'm still not sure.

If you hang out at bars at the Jersey Shore, you’re bound to come across at least one of many bands making their living off of other people’s songs. While they may have their own musical aspirations, no record company is knocking at the door with a big advance. So, they settle for cover gigs at the shore, where they play inferior versions of popular songs to indifferent audiences.

Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy the Jersey Shore cover bands, which are primarily made up of a bunch of 20-or-30-something year-old guys, usually along with one heavy-set, middle-aged man on bass. They make for a fun evening, no matter which shore bar, from Atlantic Highlands all the way down to Cape May, you might find yourself in. Who wouldn’t want to hear a band play a bunch of classics that everyone knows, rather than a crappy band that plays their own stuff?

Despite my fondness for Jersey Shore cover bands, I do have one point of contention with them. THEY ALL PLAY THE SAME SONGS! No matter which band you see, you’re more than likely to hear all of the five songs below. While not necessarily bad songs, you easily get sick of hearing them all summer long.

So, if any member, manager, or groupie (ha, yeah right!) of a Jersey Shore cover band is reading this, please get your band to stop playing these songs:

1. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard

Maybe it’s just me, but this song, more than the rest on the list, just seems so dated. Whenever I hear it, I can’t help but think of some trashy 80s Jersey mall girls bopping their hairspray-hardened coifs around to this song. See? “Pour Some Sugar on Me” even makes this crusader against the negative Jersey stereotype actually buy into it.

2. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

“Living on a Prayer” has now made its second appearance on one of my Top 5 lists. Though not a bad song by any means, it is definitely overplayed. Overplayed on the radio, and overplayed by Jersey Shore cover bands. Sure, it’s pretty much the Armpit of America’s unofficial anthem. But, for these bands to play it every single night is just plain overkill. (more…)

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Bar A is A-Okay!

June 14, 2010

Anyone who actually calls it that = obvious benny

Bar A, short for the formal and kinda stupid name of Bar Anticipation, is perhaps the most famous bar in New Jersey. Found in Lake Como, formerly known as South Belmar, Bar A serves as a rite of passage for anyone growing up in New Jersey and, unfortunately, those from New York as well.

For those who have never been, let me explain the appeal of this place. First of all, the bar is HUGE. Between a cavernous interior with a large and always packed (with guidos) dance floor and a sprawling outdoor section, Bar A has a spot for everyone. If you get tired of being in the cramped and loud indoor part, you can make your way outside and find a quiet place to sit down. Oh, and there are probably at least 20 different bar counters, so you never have to wait long for a drink.  It is definately the kind of place you’d wanna spend a hot, sticky New Jersey night.

Despite the above things going for it, and the hundreds of people who crowd into the bar each weekend, Bar A is still reviled by many people. Sure, they complain about the $10 cover charge (which is understandable) and the costs of the drinks (which can be a tad on the more expensive side). On top of that, people often take issue with the clientele. Sure, the bar gets its share of guidos, cougars, and thugs, but that just shows how Bar A is welcoming to all groups of people.  Just keep your distance from whichever group you’re not a part of.  Unless, of course, you’re trying to get with a guido, cougar, or thug.

This past weekend, I organized an outing to Bar A. One friend was dead set on not going, saying that she had never been there and never would go. Apparently, the threat of encountering any guidos was a little too much. I tried to explain how every group keeps to itself and that I’ve never seen a single fight or skirmish. Maybe that’s just because people don’t want to get thrown out after paying the cover charge. Or maybe it’s because Bar A is such a magical place where people of all backgrounds can get along. Or maybe I just don’t go there enough. (more…)

The Saturday After Martin Luther King Day in Atlantic City

January 25, 2010

Atlantic City - even the murals in the bathrooms are sleazy...

After visiting Atlantic City on Halloween and Christmas, I decided to continue the trend of spending each holiday in that shithole of a place. And what could be a more important day than the Saturday after Martin Luther King Day? This sure sounds like someone with a gambling problem looking for any excuse to cover up their random trips to AC. But, I had a very valid reason for going this time – a friend’s birthday.

I had some out-of-state family business to take care of in the days prior to this one. Yet, a mere couple hours after getting off the plane in Newark, I was on the Garden State Parkway heading towards AC. Okay, maybe I do have a gambling problem.

Soon after arriving at Caesars, we walked around the Pier, which is high-end version of the typical Jersey mall – only this one is built right above the ocean. In addition, the Pier is somewhat well known for its dancing fountains, which is a (very) poor man’s version of those found at the Bellagio in Vegas. Only in the Armpit of America can a stupid fountain in the shape of a toilet (seriously, it is) be a major tourist attraction.

Following birthday cupcakes and cookies in our hotel room, it was time to hit the casino. After putting $20 in a nickel slot and playing for 10 minutes, I was only down four bucks, which is better than I usually do. Anyway, it was then time to go to the bar. On this night, we went to Game On, an ESPN-owned sports bar on the aforementioned Pier.

This was only my second time at Game On, but it is probably my favorite place to hang out at Atlantic City. Though I’m admittedly not a huge sports fan, those that are can be entertained by countless TVs all around the place showing every game imaginable. And those mechanical bull aficionados, like me, will be happy to know that you can ride one for only $2. In addition to the two bucks, you have to sign a waiver saying you won’t hold the place accountable if you die. But those 5 seconds you’re on the bull before getting thrown off and having everyone laugh at you is definitely worth it.

Another draw is the bathroom. Upon entering, you’ll meet that lovely lady in the picture at the top of this entry. In addition, the spaces right above the urinals have little TVs built right into the wall! (more…)

Halloween in Atlantic City SUCKS!!

November 2, 2009

This past Saturday was Halloween, and it turned out to be one hell of a night. I mean that in the bad sense. I’ve had some crappy Halloweens before, but this was the worst of the worst.

I got suckered into going to a club in Atlantic City (The Pool at Harrah’s, to be exact). Well, I shouldn’t really say suckered, because I always jump at the chance to go to the Armpit of America’s crappy version of Las Vegas. So I did go voluntarily, but, since the night was a complete disaster, I’ll say I got suckered in. Anyway.

After agreeing to go, I was told that the cast of Twilight was going to be there. Even though I never pass up an opportunity to go to Atlantic City, I did have some reservations once I heard that news: I figured the place would be swarming with 14-year-old girls. I then realized that 14-year-old girls can’t get into clubs. On top of that, the people from Twilight that were showing up were only the background characters or something, so I figured they wouldn’t draw much of a crowd. Upon hearing that Snoop Dogg was going to be there as well, I became slightly more interested.

Since we were presented with the option to purchase tickets in advance and pick them up at the Will Call booth, we did just that. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon. The plan was to meet up with some other people at Harrah’s and eat at their buffet. We’d then hang out at the casino for a little bit, pick up the tickets, and then go to our hotel just outside the city. We would put on our costumes at the hotel and then head back to Harrah’s.

Everything started out okay. The buffet was incredible. In addition to the usual salad bar and Italian counter, they had a Brazilian meat station. That’s right a BRAZILIAN MEAT STATION. They also had a dim sum counter with SIX different dumplings! This meal was by far the highlight of the trip. Soon after, things took a turn for the worse.

We finished the meal right before 8 PM, which was when the Will Call booth opened. When we got to the general area, we saw that the line was reallllly long. But it shouldn’t take that long right? Everyone on line had already bought the tickets and would just pick them up, right? WRONG!!! Apparently, the computer system was down. So no one moved for a long time. At some point, the line started moving forward inch by inch. Though the computer system was still down, the staff had printed a spreadsheet with everyone’s name on it. So they had to look up people’s names on this giant list before handing out the tickets. Oy.

After standing in line for ONE HOUR and THIRTY MINUTES, we finally got the tickets. We then went to the hotel to get changed. Once we were ready, we returned to Harrah’s thinking we could waltz right into the club. WRONG AGAIN!!!

Instead, we found two lines to get into the club. One was for people who were buying tickets at the door. The other line was for those already holding tickets, like us. Although, the ticket holders’ line was much more of a chaotic mass of people in stupid costumes pushing against each other to get into a stupid club than an actual line. While the people who were waiting to buy tickets got a nice, orderly, roped-off line, those with the foresight to buy tickets in advance were encouraged to push, shove, and cut the line in order to get in. As you can imagine, standing on your feet in bulky costumes, surrounded by a mass of loud, annoying, belligerent drunk people isn’t the best way to spend an evening.

Anyway, the “line” was moving incredibly slow, and the security people and other Harrah’s staff members did nothing to control the situation. They could have easily gotten some more ropes to make a more orderly line. They could have used the now-empty buffet room as a waiting room until more people could enter the club. Instead, it was just a fucking mess. We stood on line for an hour and a half before giving up. After waiting in line for three hours, would you be in a clubbing mood?

So, upon leaving the line, I immediately approached three Harrah’s employees who were standing off to the sides just watching the chaos but not doing anything to help the situation.

I calmly and politely asked them how this became such a mess.

They all shrugged their shoulders.

I then said that I had waited an hour and half for Will Call and then another hour and a half in front of the club.

One guy just said, “I don’t know what to tell you.”

I firmly replied, “Well I don’t like wasting my time or my money, and tonight I did both. How do you plan on compensating me for this?”

Again the response was “I don’t know what to tell you.”

I then went off and said how it was unbelievable how the situation could be such a mess and that there’s no reason I had to wait on line that long.

One woman condescendingly told me that there are two lines, one for ticket holders, the other for non-ticket holders.

I told her I knew that. I then asked who was responsible for this lack of organization.

This other woman says, “Well, it’s not one person responsible-“

I cut her off with, “Oh so you’re telling me that the entire Harrah’s organization couldn’t plan a simple event better than this?”

Well that seemed to shut the three of them up, until I got the now-predictable response:

“I don’t know what to tell you.”

As you can see, this was a horrible night. The funny thing is that our friends that did make it in only stayed a half-hour. Apparently, it wasn’t worth the hype. Or the $23 for tickets. And certainly not three hours of standing on line trying to get in.

The night wasn’t a total waste, though. I won $7.18 from a penny slot.

More Like Point Un-Pleasant…

June 13, 2009

There comes at least one point in everyone’s lives when you realize that something you loved as a kid truly is a piece of shit. This can happen with a TV show (such as when I recently saw an old episode of Ren and Stimpy) or perhaps a favorite candy (anyone remember Gushers?). Either way, it’s incredibly disappointing when you discover that something that you only have positive memories of never was that great to begin with. I had one of these ah-ha (or rather uh-oh) moments last night in Point Pleasant.

Point Pleasant is a shore town in Ocean County, known for its boardwalk, a surprisingly nice aquarium, and its two biggest bars, Martell’s Tiki Bar and Jenks. Both are found on long piers that stretch right up to ocean; but this is the only thing they have in common. Jenks, with its loud club music and all-around trashiness, attracts world-class Jersey skanks, which in turn attract the loud, greasy New Yorkers. Martell’s, on the other hand, offers a more fun and laid-back experience. Or at least it used to.

Although it’s easy to understand how our perspective of something can change as we go from youth to adulthood, it’s harder to accept when something goes downhill in the course of a year. Martell’s was always my favorite shore bar, and I have plenty of great memories hanging out at the end of the pier with friends as the moon rose over the maritime horizon. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. Anyway, I was expecting to have the usual good time there last night, but something was horribly wrong.

Upon entering, which was more difficult than it should have been (since the ID-checker, wristband-wrapper, and money-taker were all on top of each other), I noticed that the bar didn’t look right. It was definitely missing something…like people. The entire pier is usually packed end to end. As this was the first warm, rain-free Friday night in a long time, and because the unofficial summer season is well under way, the bar should have been mobbed.

Perhaps this lack of people could be attributed to the band that was performing last night. Now crappy cover bands are a staple of any bar on the Jersey Shore. However, there is a difference between a crappy cover band and a crappy cover band. A crappy cover band is what you expect to hear – although not great, they get the job done and keep people entertained. A crappy cover band, though, fails at this. The band from last night was definitely a crappy cover band. It was bad enough that they decided to play the annoying Poker Face. It was a worse decision to have their male singer perform it.

My next gripe about Martell’s has to do with the drinks. I ordered my standard Vodka Tonic and a Corona for the girlfriend. After handing the bartender a $20, I was given a five-dollar bill, two singles, and some change in return. If my math is correct, that means I paid over $12 for those two simple drinks. Now if my Vodka Tonic was made with Grey Goose or if the Corona came with some special kind of lime, I could understand the price. However, my drink was made with generic vodka, and, as far as I could tell, the lime in the Corona was just a regular one. Regardless, my drink was served in a really tiny glass. No standard-sized plastic cup or the like. This was a glorified shot glass. After ordering another one, I was told the price was $6.50. Now I could understand paying this much for a Vodka Tonic at a swanky bar in Manhattan. However, there is no reason for a grimy shore bar to charge twice as much money for half a drink.

After hanging out there for a couple hours, we left the bar to get some food on the boardwalk. We then tried to get back in to use the bathroom before leaving. However, the bouncer wouldn’t let us it and said, “It’s last call, no one gets in.” I pointed out how he had just let these two girls back in right in front of us. He then said its because they had to meet up with their friends. I replied, “So you let people back in to ‘meet up with their friends,’ but we can’t go in to use the bathroom?” The poor thing looked perplexed. A couple minutes passed before he finally responded with, “Yeah, thats right.” I then told him what a great job he was doing. He smiled and said thanks, without the slightest bit of sarcasm or cynicism, as if he thought I was really complimenting him.

The boardwalk at Point Pleasant, and specifically Martell’s Tiki Bar, have always been a fun place to hang out at. Yet, last night was a less-than-spectacular experience. An unorganized staff, a crappy cover band, pricey and unsatisfying drinks, and dumb bouncers all worked together to tarnish my image of this magical place. In the past, I would have recommended that anyone from another state go to Martell’s to see a more pleasant side of New Jersey. However, after last night, it really represents the Armpit of America.