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Cheers to 2023, and a new(ish) Atlantic City
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Cheers to 2023 and a new(ish) Atlantic City

Cheers to 2023, and a new(ish) Atlantic City

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At the end of 2022, like many of our readers, many of us at Atlantic City Weekly made some New Year’s resolutions. We planned to drink less, meditate more. To spend more time with our loved ones and less time on Facebook. To save instead of spend. To eat less crap and instead, fill our plates with veggies and our free time with exercise. And yet, here we are a year later, still in our fat jeans.

It’s hard to bring a sweeping resolution — “I will write the great American novel this year”— to fruition, even when the goal only involves ourselves. It gets to the point where we barely make resolutions, as history has shown us that it’s particularly awful when we can’t make good on our promises. The same can be said of our proclamations about our city, which is why our outlook on the potential Atlantic City of 2023 is hopeful — but also restrained.

Atlantic City has been the recipient of a lot of names and slogans. Often called “America’s Playground,” or “Monopoly City,” Atlantic City has also been referred to as a place that’s “Always Turned On,” and quite recently, as a place we need to “do,” as in “DO AC.” And though Atlantic City has endured several reincarnations, always gambling on itself to make a comeback, it seems that despite best intentions, many times we end up falling short.

Until (shhh … we don’t want to jinx anything) maybe … now.

2023 appears to be, at least from our vantage point, a time when Atlantic City may start to truly step into its own as the city we all knew it could be. It really shouldn’t be a surprise.

“When you have a city by a body of water, it’s really hard to keep it down,” says Zenith Shah, Co-Founder of Authentic City Partners, one of the developers behind The Orange Loop. “It’s just a matter of time, whether it’s five, 10 or 15 years.”

Here’s what’s happening (in a nutshell)To say there’s a lot happening in Atlantic City right now is an understatement. Not only is the city clawing its way back to pre-pandemic levels of large scale events like concerts, festivals and conventions, but it is experiencing some pretty significant growth and development outside of its primary tourist attraction — the casinos.

First up, the Showboat Hotel. When Showboat closed its casino doors in 2014, things were not looking so hot. And when developer Bart Blatstein purchased the property and re-opened it as a non-gaming destination, it seemed, well, kind of lackluster. There were some festivals and conventions, but people didn’t really know what to make of it. Slowly, however, Blatstein and Showboat have won us over, first with Lucky Snake Arcade and Sports Bar and coming up, a ridiculously cool, $100 million indoor water park with — get this — a retractable glass roof.

The opening date is projected to coincide with bathing suit season — Memorial Day Weekend — and this writer, for one, cannot wait.

Casinos are also stepping up their game, pardon the pun, with updates and experiences all designed to make you swoon. Iconic restaurant Nobu — part of the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper — has opened at Caesars Atlantic City, and if that isn’t delicious news on its own, the signature Nobu dining experience is set to be complemented with a Nobu Hotel this spring.

Caesars has some other tricks up its sleeves, including the resurrection of Atlantic City’s iconic Warner Theatre by Spiegelworld — the entertainment provocateur that has transformed Las Vegas with its explosive, hilarious mash-up of world-class circus, variety, comedy, and hospitality excess — as The Hook. Operating every week of the year as a fun palace — a fun palace! — for adults, The Hook will feature a world-premiere live show in a 400-seat theatre, a second home for Spiegelworld’s acclaimed Italian American Psychedelic Superfrico restaurant; and a myriad of discoverable bars with an elevated cocktail program curated by award-winning mixologists. The Hook live show is directed by Britain’s leading comedy director Cal McCrystal. Get ready for a fun summer — anticipated opening date is June 30.

And in big — really big — news, something is happening at Bader Field. The property, which has been vacant for well over a decade, is one of the largest tracts of buildable land near the Atlantic. And while we can’t say for certain exactly how Bader Field will be transformed — there are two competing proposals on the property — we can confirm that something is going to happen there — and that 2023 is bound to be pretty exciting.

It’s not just the big players making improvements to Atlantic City, and that’s actually part of what makes us so hopeful for 2023. Because in addition to enormous builds and property updates, small business owners and developers, musicians and music promoters are all making their own big moves.

“There’s a lot to be excited about this year,” says Michael Chait, President of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. “From the $100 million, Island Waterpark at Showboat, to casinos investing hundreds of millions of dollars into properties to enhance visitor experience, to the event promoters, like Good Time Tricycle and Del Mo Sports, having more time to plan and prepare for large scale events which provide enormous economic benefit to the region, in addition to the unique destination of Orange Loop, it’s very exciting. But it’s the collective investment in the rejuvenation of and belief in what Atlantic City is and what it can become that most excites me. There’s an enormous opportunity for growth and vitality.”

That collective investment comes from people betting on Atlantic City — people like Heather Gleason and Dave Garry, proprietors of the beloved Good Dog Bar in Philadelphia, who are opening Good Dog Bar Atlantic City this spring near Stockton’s AC campus. Guests can expect ridiculously good grub, plenty of suds and an atmosphere that’s comfortable, hip, and (if their Philly location is any indication) feels just like your new favorite bar.

For Ideal Institute of Technology, a career college in Atlantic County, 2023 will include plenty of growth with multiple projects including the expansion of Ideal AC ESports, their virtual reality gaming center, with a new entertainment and banquet hall. The venue, perfect for special events, will feature catering from WE ARE AC FOOD TRUCK — another Ideal social initiative —when it opens in January.

And over at the Orange Loop, well, we’re still celebrating the Orange Loop. And while the current slate of venues over there are stellar, expect even more in 2023 including a new craft cocktail concept called The Mason, which will include an outdoor component, that should be open in spring 2023, along with the rebranding of the former Bourre to The Cardinal with Chef Michael Brennan at the helm. The contemporary new American venue, which will be reminiscent of Brennan’s former Ventnor restaurant, Cardinal Bistro, is also expected to open this spring. In addition to lots of development of market rate housing in the Orange Loop area, Atlantic City residents can look forward to an 8000-square foot recreational marijuana facility at the site of the old Avis Building on New York Ave.


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