Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 Great Non-Casino Bars in Atlantic City

When you think of Atlantic City, I imagine the first thing that comes to mind is casinos. Which is what Atlantic City is known for but in the past few years Atlantic City has gotten a lot of great non-casino bars and restaurants. As someone who grew up 30 minutes from AC and now lives 15 minutes away it might be surprising that I'm not a big gambler but, I do love a good night out. Atlantic City offers lots of great nightlife activities without ever having to step foot on the casino floor.

Perfectly Innocent Amusement Company

Perfectly Innocent Atlantic City

A speakeasy style bar, with a fun twist. Perfectly Innocent Amusement Company features craft cocktails, great food and video games. The bar is dark but still inviting, with plenty of seating at the bar and at pub tables. The back of the bar features about 2 dozen video games including air hockey, skee ball, Mortal Kombat, Pac Man and many more. The games are reasonably priced, so you won't mind dropping a few quarters for some play time. The drinks are strong and delicious and the menu, while small, does not disappoint. The cocktails here are no joke and the bartenders take there art seriously.  Personal favorites the Rook a rum based drink featuring strawberries. The Tots Tots Ridiculous are not be missed, these certainly are not your kids tater tots.


Wingcraft Atlantic City

While we are on the subject of tater tots, which may soon become the food that Atlantic City is known for, head over to Wingcraft. Located at one of my favorite non-casino activities in Atlantic City, Tanger Outlets The Walk, Wingcraft has craft beer and wings but let's get back to those tater tots. Wingcraft offers tater tots two different ways. My personal favorite is the short rib tater tots and you can't go wrong with any of their wings. Craft Beers change regularly, so make sure to check the large black board in front of the bar.

Landshark Bar and Grill

Landshark Atlantic City

While technically Margaritaville is in Resorts Casino, the Landshark Bar is located on the boardwalk adjacent to Resorts, so you don't have to go through the casino to enter Landshark. Landshark is the kind of place where you could stumble in at noon and find yourself staying for the night. Landshark has a great line up of live music entertainment, and you're practically guaranteed to hear some Jimmy Buffet. When it's warm out the beach bar area of Landshark features games like bean bag toss and horse shoes. Landshark offers great views of Atlantic City, The Steel Pier and the beach. While you can't go wrong with a cheeseburger in paradise, my personal favorites are the fish tacos and the Perfect Margarita.

Back Bay Ale House

Back Bay Atlantic City

Located in Gardeners Basin in Atlantic City, this area in itself is a total gem and home to some great bars, restaurants and the Atlantic City Aquarium. From Gardener's Basin you get a totally different view of Atlantic City and Gardener's Basin is one of my favorite spots in Atlantic City. The Back Bay Ale House is a great place for some day drinking on the bay. My personal favorite is their mason jar drinks and the fish and chips. In the summer time there are often concerts and movies at Gardener's Basin.

The Wonder Bar

Wonder Bar AC

If you want to go to Atlantic City and not even see a casino, then The Wonder Bar is the place for you. The deck bar at the Wonder Bar is a summertime favorite and you will really have to struggle to see a casino as this bar in the south end of town offers a totally different view of the back bays. The Wonder Bar is the perfect place to watch the sunset and grab an ice cold beer and some appetizers.

Have you been to Atlantic City? If so what are some of your favorite places to grab a drink?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Keep It Real

A friend posted on Facebook that she was taking her infant daughter to a Music Together class and that she was hopeful to make new friends. I was excited the moment I saw that status, because I had a great experience with Music Together but also because I remembered what those early months of motherhood were like.

They were long and exhausting and isolating. A screaming baby isn't the best constant companion. And in those early months you are their constant, the one person they can count on, the one person who they want for everything. Which was why I was so glad that my friend was getting out, and making friends and having a great experience with her daughter. I wish I had done more of that in those early days.

But at the time it all seemed so overwhelming. Like any activity, even a trip the grocery store, was a daunting task. So I messaged my friend to say as much. And her response was not one that surprised me but, maybe it was a surprise to her. She mentioned how isolating being a new mom can be, she mentioned that it's lonely being home all day. She mentioned a husband that works long hours and the lack of friends and the ways in which motherhood sometimes erodes the friendships you had before it.

And I sat there staring at my phone and nodding. Four years ago, I could have said those same words. Four years ago, I felt those same feelings.

New motherhood can be a lonely road especially when you feel like you are going it alone. It's not easy to admit the loneliness but, it is necessary.

So I told her about my loneliness. About the early days of motherhood when I could barely keep my head above water. I told her about the colic and screaming baby and the days and nights that seemed to drag on. I told her about how sometimes I was just sad, that my idea of what new motherhood was going to be like, were nothing like I expected. And I told her that we need to be honest about these things, that we need to keep it real.

And she admitted to never knowing any of this. To not seeing me much that first year. And that's the thing, no one knew what it was like for me because it was so hard to admit that life was anything but perfect. That life with a newborn was anything but wonderful, anything but the images that we are spoon fed on TV.

So I said these things. And I thought to myself what would motherhood be like if we just kept it real. If we stopped keeping up appearances. If we stopped smiling when we were struggling. If we raised kids with a village mentality rather than fighting the good fight day in and day out, alone.

I started this blog, so that I could say these things and I'm going to keep saying them, because sometimes someone needs to hear them. So even though it's fun to write the humorous, light-hearted moments, it's important to share the hard too.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Magic Pier Book Review

In full disclosure I was given a copy of Magic Pier to Review and Dan is a friend of mine, all thoughts and opinions are my own and in no way influenced by his ability to dance the worm at my wedding. This post contains affiliate links.

When Hurricane Sandy swept up the east coast and smacked into the Jersey shore, images of the Jet Star roller coaster, from Casino Pier, sitting in the ocean became synonymous with Hurricane Sandy. That image represented the challenge that rebuilding would be for New Jersey. It is this image that fuels Magic Pier by Daniel P. Grote and is a catalyst for all of the events throughout the book.

Magic Pier takes place in the days and month following hurricane Sandy. Drake Garrison an attorney and former employee of Magic Pier is drawn back to his old stomping grounds with rose colored dreams of bringing the pier back to the way he remembered it. When his former boss has a heart attack Drake steps in and turns repairing Magic Pier into a job, only problem is that Drake still has to keep his day job and keep is pregnant wife Stephanie happy.

Drake's quest to save Magic Pier, starts as a spontaneous idea that turns into a full blown obsession. It quickly interferes with his job, his marriage and his friendships. His obsession with the pier serves as a way to distract himself from his responsibilities and his impending fatherhood. And while Drake considers saving the pier to be a selfless act of charity, his wife views it as a selfish obsession. Drake's obsession with the pier becomes a make or break point in his relationships.

Meanwhile Drake's friend, Congressman Charles Kilgore is attempting to push the Sandy relief bill through congress, with hopes of getting the Jersey Shore back in business before Memorial Day weekend. Kilgore's bill is quickly challenged by Tea Party activists, that send some of his supporters into hiding.

Magic Pier serves as a love letter to Seaside Heights and post-Sandy New Jersey. But it's also a coming of age story about how Drake needs to let go of his past in order to be a proper father and husband. Readers will be able to relate to Drake's struggle let go of the past and accept his present responsibilities.

Will Drake save the pier? Will Stephanie stand by her man? Will Congressman Kilgore get the bill passed and Will Magic Pier reopen in time for the summer season?

As someone from South Jersey, Magic Pier instantly takes me back to the days after Hurricane Sandy when so much work needed to be done and there seemed to be so many obstacles for my little part of the world. Those of us who love the Jersey Shore or call it home will appreciate all the wonderful Jersey-centric references.

Magic Pier will make you want to go back to your favorite amusement pier and ride the tilt-a-whirl or take your chances with the crane machines.

Magic Pier can be purchased on Amazon in digital and print formats.