Updated: Apr 18
Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article
Print Date 4.16.2021
By Judy Brenna
I’ve started to notice a reemerging of life now that the outside temperature index has been increasing. Add the fact that more and more people are getting vaccinated, it’s a natural process of the human condition for people to yearn for a semblance of normality. I for one am finding myself more and more surprised at my wanting to venture out, given my typical level 5 anxiety (which is totes normal for me). And as I sit here in my snuggie and fuzzie socks, curled up on the couch, with Lucifer playing on Netflix in my peripheral (this is my 2nd time re-watching… I am mentally training and preparing for the 2nd half of season 5 to be released at the end of May), I’m wondering the best way to test the socializing waters. And then it hit me: Happy Hour. It’s a short enough time to enjoy great drinks and bites and get your fill of being in public. I mean, granted I always thought the whole point of happy hour originally was for high powered working-folk to unwind after a long day of screaming on the floor of the Stock Exchange, but alas it has nothing to do with them, it originated in the US Navy. I have nothing more to say on that. Regardless, Happy Hour is a great time to get out there and have a little fun before retreating back into your home cave.
I decided to put together a list of some great go-to spots for Happy Hour, that include not only tremendous value but also high quality. My first recommendation is Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House, located on North Trenton Avenue in Atlantic City. Vagabond is very well known for serving up an award-winning selection of craft beer and wines to complement their extremely innovative and molto delizioso menu. Plus, they were on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so it’s a proven fact that they’re awesome. So, if the King of Flavortown says it’s so, then it's so. Fun side fact, I have on my bucket list a food crawl through the country, stuffing my mouth hole with delicious foods from venues featured on Triple D. Then again you don’t need that visual. I would imagine it will be fairly gross to witness. You’ve never seen me eat. Just trust me on this. I digress. For $5 apps and $5 drinks, every day 3 to 6 pm, you can tantalize your palate with their crazy taco selections, award-winning wings and tenders, and by the way their burgers are out of this world. Their Spartan Burger still invades my dreams. Check out their announcements and specials on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/vagabondac
Circling back to the King of Flavortown, Guy Fieri’s Chophouse, located at Bally’s, is a fantastic option. I love this place for 2 reasons, one being the obvious draw to their insanely delicious food, but also, I find overlooking the Atlantic Ocean while eating said delicious food doesn’t seem so gluttonous for some reason, something about watching the waves crashing convinces me that I’m burning calories ((I know I'm wrong but shhh don't tell me)). The Chophouse is a steakhouse and SO much more. They also offer a great selection of seafood items including delicious sushi combinations and you can even build your own seafood tower! There is little better than relaxing at the Chophouse with an ice cold Lagunitas and a plate of Jersey Shore Stuffed Clams. Their Happy Hour happens Monday through Friday, 5:00 to 6:30 pm and includes half priced beer and wine. So, if you get a chance, check them out: https://ballysac.com/restaurants/guy-fieris-chophouse/
Another wonderful option is in Margate City, Johnny’s Café, on Ventnor Avenue. I mean, where to begin? First of all, this is my most favorite neighborhood restaurant. Second, they offer happy hour ALL day on the weekends, with Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Wine, and Spirit specials. You can’t beat that. Aside from their beautiful ambience and great service, their cuisine is literally top notch. If you close your eyes and take your first bite, it’s easy to submerge yourself in their contemporary Italian home cooking. Open year round, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Johnny’s also offers live entertainment almost 5 days a week in the summer. So definitely check them out: https://www.facebook.com/Johnliccio(that’s the owner).
And lastly, I highly recommend Tacos El Tio, in Egg Harbor Township, on Blackhorse Pike. As a stereotypical female, I am, among many other things, a huge fan of tacos. What I genuinely love about this place is they don’t hold back on quality and flavor. Their tacos al pastor are my absolute favorite, but they have so many other items to choose from like their elote, or tostadas de tinga, or chile relleno, I could literally go on and on here. They offer fresh and comforting sustenance paired with an endless list of awesome cocktails. My two absolute favorite drinks there are the Mexican Mule and their Mezcalito (fresh pressed lemon and lime juices, agave nectar, pineapple juice, Wahaka Mezcal Joven, and an added level of depth with serrano simple syrup). It’s a fun, open format atmosphere with a super friendly staff to boot. Definitely consider them when planning your next outing. Check them out at http://www.tacoseltio.com.
On a side note, I would highly recommend wearing pants with a stretchy band. Last time I went out to Happy Hour I wore jeans, and nothing makes me want to cry more than being felt like a sausage stuffed in casing with a hard metal button pressed way too hard into my abdomen for such a duration of time that it left an impression in my skin for a day and a half. And it was itchy. No sense in being uncomfortable whilst on your outing. You too can be fashionable AND comfortable #leggingsarelife. And don’t forget your mask. Until next week… #stayjerseystrong.