On Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28, the North Beach area of the Atlantic City Boardwalk was Party Central as both Ocean Casino Resort and Hard Rock Atlantic City celebrated their first anniversary.
Along with countless other people, many of who traveled long distances, I stopped by to enjoy the festivities, including ribbon cuttings, free or bargain-priced food, free entertainment, and a dazzling fireworks display.
But more importantly, I wanted to use this opportunity to look around and see for myself the many exciting additions and improvements these facilities now have to offer.
Two days of big celebrations with many more exciting days to come
Both casinos made Atlantic City history a year ago by debuting on exactly the same day, June 27, 2018. However, this time, rather than competing for attention, each casino resort decided to hold the major part of its celebration on different days. Ocean Casino was first, on Thursday, June 27, followed by Hard Rock, on Friday, June 28.
However, if you didn’t get a chance to attend those two celebrations, but are reading this post on Saturday or Sunday, no problem. It’s not too late to take advantage of the special offers continuing all weekend long and enjoy some great entertainment, too.
Also, make no mistake about it. The summer of 2019 is just getting started. Both of these resorts are more than ready anytime you are to give you a great time all summer long!
First Year Anniversary Celebration at Ocean Casino Resort, AC
Debut of two new elevators for quick, easy transport between the lobby and casino
The June 27 party at Ocean Casino Resort started early and ended late. At 11 a.m. a big crowd gathered round the new elevators located on the casino floor near Wahlburger’s. The ribbon cutting ceremony for that long awaited addition to the Ocean Casino dining options took place on Friday, June 21. But this time the ribbon cutting–and complimentary champagne toast–was for the debut of two spacious elevators especially designed for the added convenience of hotel guests.
No need anymore for those staying overnight or longer at the hotel to crowd themselves into the same elevator with those only wishing to get to the casino from the Boardwalk level or vice versa. Instead, the new casino floor elevators will whisk hotel guests quickly and comfortably directly from the hotel level to the casino level and from the casino level back to the hotel level later when they wish to return to their rooms.
1927 Lounge & Speakeasy
No time for dallying. Revelers who wanted to keep up with the energetic guides had to walk fast, full glass of champagne in hand, or otherwise miss the rest of the ribbon cuttings and free handouts.
The next stop on the tour was the brand new 1927 Lounge & Speakeasy. Royal Jelly is out, and this new 1920s themed lounge replaces it. On Sunday – Thursday evenings, you can relax in the lounge and enjoy easy on the ears live entertainment. On Friday and Saturday nights, the energy level kicks up a notch with a live variety show in the Speakeasy Club.
Admission to the 1927 Lounge & Speakeasy is free. However, you need to be 21 or older.
Lounge & Speakeasy entertainment
I returned to the lounge at 7 p.m. to hear the band Sweet Talkers perform. The two sets I heard included a variety of familiar older pop tunes like Summer of 69, Umbrella, Jessie’s Girl, and Say My Name.
I was surprised to see only a handful of people there for the debut lounge show. I hope the 1927 Lounge catches on because after a hectic day, the comfortable seating and pleasant music make it a very nice place to unwind. And you can’t beat the price–free!. However, the drink prices (i.e., $11 for a screwdriver) seemed rather steep.
I sat on a sofa near the stage. However, if you prefer, other seating options include chairs at a high table or at the bar. You can even play slots and video poker close enough to the lounge to hear all of the entertainment.
1927 Lounge & Speakeasy hours
The hours when the 1927 Lounge and Speakeasy are open are as follows:
- Sunday – Thursday: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Friday and Saturday: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Speakeasy Afterhours (starting in July)
- Same two nights: 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Pit Boss BBQ & Fish Fry
Following the ribbon cutting for the 1927 & Speakeasy, we headed to the new eatery called Pit Boss BBQ and Fish Fry for another ribbon cutting ceremony.
Anytime you’re hungry but looking for a place where you can dig your teeth into some mouthwatering food quickly and cheaply, Pit Boss BBQ & Fish Fry certainly fits the bill. For example, you can get a pulled pork or chicken, fried fish, Texas brisket, or crab cake sandwich for only $11-$15.
Fish fries served with pickles and slaw come in a choice of fried shrimp ($16), calamari, ($13), crab cakes ($17) or fish & chips ($14). Or order a platter including all four for $27.
Baby back ribs are on the menu, too. A half-rack will set you back $24.
And of course, you need a beverage to accompany all this tasty food. Water, soda, or lemonade costs $4, while domestic beer is available for $6 and imported beer for $7.
However, my June 28 Pit Boss stop cost me nothing. Everyone who stopped by for the ribbon cutting ceremony got a free crab cake slider!
Pit Boss BBQ & Fish Fry Hours
Pitt Boss BBQ & Fish Fry is closed Monday and Tuesday, but open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
You can eat right there on the premises. Or if you prefer, order your food to go. Then take it with you to enjoy while watching the game you bet on at the William Hill Sportsbook or the evening entertainment in the 1927 Lounge & Speakeasy.
Shops at the Row
The final stop on the Ocean Casino ribbon cutting tour was at the Shops at the Row. Your choices there, including several newly opened shops, are so eclectic and impressive, it called for free cake for everyone!
The Shops at the Row really do offer something for everyone–yourself, the other adults in your party, your kids, and don’t forget gifts for friends and family.
If you forgot to take along any essentials or items for the beach, no problem. Several of the Shops at the Row carry them. Or maybe you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special event of your own. Or during the course of your stay, you hit a big jackpot. This calls for splurging on a nice bottle of wine or a sparkling piece of jewelry. Once again, look no further than the Shops at the Row.
List and hours for all of the Shops at the Row
Here, in alphabetical order, is a complete list of all of the Shops at the Row along with the hours they are open.
However, keep in mind that this information is accurate of June 27, 2019. Quite possibly, additional shops will debut at a later date.
Bangz Salon & Blow Dry
- Tues. – Sun. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bergio: Fine jewelry
- Sun. – Thurs. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Core Departure (also on the Lobby level): Beachwear, sundries, souvenirs, and snacks
- Daily 8 a.m. to midnight; the shop on the Lobby level is open 24/7.
Flying Reef & Surf Shop
- Daily 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Hooligan’s: Kids’ clothing and accessories (Note: This shop is moving in July to a larger space nearby where it will expand its offerings to include items for older children, too.)
- Mon. – Thurs. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
O-Man: Men’s clothing and accessories
- Daily 10 a.m. to midnight
Ocean Wine & Spirits
- Daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Renee: Women’s clothing and accessories
- Daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Rocket Fizz: Old fashioned candy and soda shop
- Mon. – Thurs. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Time After Time: Jewelry, especially watches. This store also changes batteries while you wait and does watch repair.
- Sun. – Thurs. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m. to midnight.
Rocket Fizz: A unique candy store for kids and kids at heart of all ages
Don’t get me wrong. The area of Ocean Casino Resort called Shops at the Row is not a mega-size mall designed for shopaholics to shop till they drop. But that’s probably not what you want anyway. It is a place where you can take a break from the casino and readily find both items you need and items you don’t, but are too irresistible to pass up.
Strictly in the latter category is one shop I had to single out, not only because its undeniable appeal drew me in, but also because I don’t believe another place in Atlantic City exists like it. Even the name of the place will have you and your kids flying inside. Get ready to experience Rocket Fizz!
Every type of candy you could possibly long for, and more
Whatever your age, Rocket Fizz is guaranteed to make you feel like a kid in a candy store. But not just any candy store, but one that will actually take you back to your childhood.
Think back to some of your favorite candies when you were a youngster, but haven’t had in years because none of the stores you frequent carries them. But this one does!
Does a Moon Pie, Mallo Cup, or Whatchamacallit bring back nostalgic memories? Those are just few possibilities in the enormous assortment of candies you’ll find here, many of which you probably thought no longer existed. This candy shop offers many varieties of taffy and licorice, too.
Rocket Fizz is the epitome of exactly what you would expect an old fashioned candy store to be, but with 2019 prices. No five cent candy bars in this place! Small candy bars cost over a dollar, and loose candy you bag yourself is $10.99 for a small bag or $12.99 for a large bag. Or if you would like a nostalgic memento to take home, show biz photos from back in the day (maybe long before you were born) are $7.99 each and tin signs are $19.99 each.
Every flavor of soda pop you never imagined existed
Rocket Fizz is also where you’ll find shelf after shelf of bottled soda. The store is called Rocket Fizz because that’s one of the of soda brands you can buy there, along with many others. At $2.29 a bottle, surely you will be tempted to buy one or two. The only hard part will be choosing from the incredible assortment of flavors. Forget the mundane choices in your local supermarket or convenience store. I’m talking about flavors like Key Lime Pie, Coffee Cake, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Havana Banana, Orange Creamsicle, and Cotton Candy! And that’s only a tiny sampling.
The June 27 celebration ended with fireworks
The only fitting end to what was a spectacular day of celebration was the fireworks show that got underway at 9:30 p.m. The Ocean Casino Sky Garden provided an unsurpassed view of the spectacular display.
Keep celebrating at Ocean Casino Resort
For the benefit of those who couldn’t make it to the Thursday, June 27 first year anniversary events, as well as those who had such a good time they can’t wait to come back, here are few things you can do to keep the celebration going.
Both Sat. and Sun.
- 15% off sale at the Flying Surf Shop
- $1 hot dog at the William Hill Sportsbook (starting 4 p.m.)
- Free evening entertainment at the 1927 Lounge & Speakeasy
Monday, July 1 (and every Monday thereafter, weather permitting)
- Music Row Mondays free entertainment on the Boardwalk 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
First Year Anniversary Celebration at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino AC
On Friday, June 28, I returned to Atlantic City for the first year anniversary celebration at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
$200,000 donation to charity
The festivities kicked off on a high note with the announcement by Hard Rock executives that the casino hotel would donate a total of $200,000, to be equally divided among the following five local charities:
- Atlantic City Rescue Mission
- Atlantic City Police Foundation
- Turning Point Day Center
- Covenant House
Initially, Hard Rock was going to give each recipient a gift of $20,000. But at the last minute, Hard Rock Chairman and CEO Jim Allen announced to the thrilled crowd that he and the property’s owners–Joseph and Michael Jingoli and Jack Morris–had jointly decided to double the contribution.
Hard Rock’s wish to give back to the community after a very successful first year
As Allen told the huge throng that gathered for this event,
“I think it truly demonstrates that not just Hard Rock, but us, as individuals, truly care and want to give back to the community.”
According to Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Atlantic City, since its official opening on June 27, 2018, this facility has generated more than $320 million in gambling revenue. It also ranks fourth in the market in overall casino revenue and second in table game revenue.
Lupo further indicated that to date, 3.6 million people have visited the casino, 1.2 million have stayed as hotel guests, and nearly a half million have attended concerts there.
That, he said, all adds up to having “a very successful first year.”
However, he also made the following point:
“As successful as we have been from a gambling revenue standpoint, what’s even more important is creating a new brand, a new energy in Atlantic City”
Mayor Gilliam proclaimed June 28 Hard Rock Day in Atlantic City
Then Mayor Frank Gilliam came to the podium and presented the Atlantic City property with a special proclamation on behalf of the city. June 28 will be recognized hereafter as “Hard Rock Day” in Atlantic City.
The party was just getting started
At 4 p.m. the Hard Rock Anniversary parade got underway on the Boardwalk. Participants included local bands, dancers, and cheerleaders. In addition, various celebrities and New Jersey notables appeared on floats or in classic cars. Newly crowned Miss New Jersey, who will go on to participate in the Miss America competition, was among them.
Many guests also took advantage of the these special Hard Rock Anniversary Day special offers:
- $10 brunch at Fresh Harvest Buffet
- 10x free play for slot players
Keep celebrating at Hard Rock Atlantic City
At Hard Rock, as at Ocean Casino Resort, all of you who want to celebrate some more are in luck. Here are a few suggestions for more fun things to do the rest of this weekend and beyond.
- Jersey Boys: performing at Sound Waves on Sunday June 30 at 8 p.m. and on selected dates thereafter through July 21.
- Music Row Mondays: free musical entertainment on the Boardwalk from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, July 1 and every Monday thereafter, weather permitting.
- Play your favorite casino games to earn entries all summer long for the September 1 prize drawing where one super lucky player will become an instant millionaire!