Atlantic City: Casinos, Waterfront, Golf, & Women

Atlantic City is a very good bet for a guys’ weekend. It has a great casino, waterfront golf—and how about the women in black dresses?

By: Kim Eisler

National editor Kim Eisler (keisler@washingtonian.com) is author of Revenge of the Pequots: How a Small Native American Tribe Created the World’s Most Profitable Casino.

It’s Friday night—do you know where your husband is?

With the Texas Hold ’Em poker craze in full swing, there’s a chance he’s in Atlantic City. Casinos there are cashing in on the craze with tournaments almost every day of the week.

First stop on any guys weekend: the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the only Vegas-caliber casino in New Jersey. What do guys do at the Borgata? The first thing is look at the women. The waitresses, the dealers, even the cashiers are stunning. Call it sexist, call us pigs. That’s what we boys do.

There is nothing cheap about the place. On a Friday night, you might not find a craps or blackjack table that takes anything less than green $25 chips. If you want to impress the babe in the black evening dress, head for the black-chip ($100) table.

There are two hot bars. Mixx is wild—the party doesn’t get going until 10 pm, and it lasts all night. On Fridays, there’s usually a DJ and thick plumes of smoke. The other bar is on the casino floor; it’s called Gypsy. Meanwhile, at the Music Box, a small stage features big-name acts. I recently laughed through a Dennis Miller performance.

A room at Borgata will set you back at least four bills. These are very nice rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, double showers, and great views. Once you have stayed at Borgata, no other Atlantic City casino can compare.

Borgata’s poker room is state of the art and packed. Until its new 85-table room opens later this year, expect to wait for a chance to play. You can pass the time at Mixx; a large electronic board downstairs lets you track how long you have to wait.

On Saturday, a change of scenery might be in order. Try a round of golf at Blue Heron Pines, about 15 minutes west of Atlantic City, or the Links at Brigantine Beach, a few miles from Borgata on Brigantine Island. Blue Heron Pines is newer and traditional; the Links is Scottish-style, suited to the sandy conditions along the coast.

Atlantic City is a premier place to fish—at various times of year, you might catch tuna, shark, or marlin. A hotel concierge can suggest a charter.

Saturday night, if you want to casino-hop, check out the new restaurant row at the Tropicana Casino, at the south end of the strip. There’s a Palm for steaks. Also recommended is Red Square, which has a bar made of ice.

The poker room at Tropicana is smaller, busier, and noisier than Borgata’s. But it has good tournaments every day.

One things boys visiting Atlantic City don’t seem to do enough of: sleep. Fortunately there are plenty of diners with powerful coffee on the way home.

Or hit the Borgata barbershop for its signature $75 shave, haircut, and manicure. That, or a 50-minute deep-tissue massage at Spa Toccare—$120, but worth every penny—and you’ll be a new man.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, 866-my-borgata; theborgata.com.

For more information on Atlantic City, see atlanticcitynj.com.