Screw the long lines, head straight to the guitar shaped bar. I find it easy to relax there. The bartender, Cherish, is the type who is very much in control. She knows what she wants and what you want before you even decide. Even if you tell her what you think you want, she’ll correct you and tell you what you actually want. I mean, tell you what you want, what you really, really want. So, yeah, Cherish. I wasn’t sure if her parents were just hippies or if this was one of the best gimmicks ever where all the employees were named after songs. Unfortunately, none of the waitresses were named “Wannabe.” Zigazigah.
CHERISH: “You’ll have a Purple Haze”
JAY: “OK, I’ll have a Purple Haze…and these”
As I said that, I squinted as if I needed reading glasses while scanning the menu with my finger to pinpoint the generic chicken appetizer that I kept going back to. “These” referred to what I get pretty much every time, the The Tupelo Chicken Tenders. Better the devil you know.
At the Hard Rock, always keep it simple. The Tupelo tenders are quick, easy, and do the trick. Plus, for some unexplained reason, at that very moment, you’ll be compelled to spend the majority of the money you have to your name on alcohol anyway, so you won’t have enough resources to splurge on a steak the size of an actual Led Zeppelin. What kind of insidious urge overcomes you at The Hard Rock, Atlantic City? Why, it must be the Devil himself, but the one from New Jersaaay!
The Hard Rock specialty drink, The Purple Haze, IS damn good, but more importantly, where the hell else are you gonna see Buddy Holly’s 6th grade yearbook or a white leather jacket custom made for Richie Sambora straight from the New Jersey era of Bon Jovi? Not even The Smithsonian has relics so vital to our culture. The Louvre is irrelevant to me.
You might find yourself mishearing what your friends and your waitress are saying because it’s crowded and loud. What’s worse, is that sometimes I’ve waited upwards of 45 minutes to get the food I ordered, but it’s all part of the ambiance. You know what they say “If it’s too loud and your chicken tenders take too long to come out, you’re too old!”
Moreover, music fans go to The Hard Rock to see some of that awesome rock and roll memorabilia. That’s right, you can get tanked, inhale a cheeseburger, and then drool over KISS costumes and Instagram pics of guitars that belonged to Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend.
Keep in mind though, if you’re trying to hold on to some semblance of street cred, an establishment known for their overpriced t-shirts/tourist uniforms shouldn’t be your regular hangout.
Although I’ve often fancied myself as some counter culture rocker who cannot play any instruments whatsoever, there aren’t many cooler, more inviting places for me to be in when I’m seeking refuge from the sweltering summer heat on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
For the past couple of years, there’s been talk of an actual Hard Rock boutique hotel and casino coming to AC to inhabit one of the casinos that has closed their doors. Boutique really just translates to EXPENSIVE ROOMS. Hopefully it does open one day, because I’ve always wanted to bare witness to the only existing pair of Meatloaf’s high school gym coach’s sweatpants.
And now, I leave you with a few more pics of some other kind of Jersey Devils!