Posts Tagged ‘Harrah’s’

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With a marriage on the way, I swore that I would be reducing my trips to Atlantic City.  But then the Beerfest lured me.  Shortly after, there was the comic con.  And, of course, I had to have my bachelor party there.  But that’s it.  I was done.  No more silly drunken nights….

Then OB got free tickets to see Norm MacDonald at Harrah’s.

I have seen many, many stand-up comedy legends at Atlantic City over the years, but not Norm.  However, with the impending marriage, money is tight, and my luck has grown cold in Atlantic City over the last few trips (see the aforementioned Beerfest post for the bloody details).  So I set a few ground rules for myself before going down:

1. Stick to “voucher gambling”.  Getting shellacked at the tables does come with some benefits now and then, as I had a couple free bets to redeem.  Taking these vouchers, as well as the $25 credit you get when taking the bus, and I had small bankroll.  Enough to soothe the gambling beast, but not enough to spend the whole night.  So what else to do?

2. Drink.  It’s the cheapest way to kill time in Atlantic City.  Believe it or not, I felt somewhat “in control” my last few trips down (the wildest time being last summer).  This trip, I’d be testing my limits.

3. Go for the all-nighter.  As youngsters, OB and I would go down without a hotel room booked, and would stay up all night in Atlantic City.  However, as we progressed throughout our 20s, hotel rooms went from optional to necessary.  The last true all-nighter I pulled was way way back in Chapter 3.  Could I do it again?

So with the stage set, let’s see how I did sticking to the rules.

11:00AM – My goodness, the bus line.  Word of advice, folks – if you are taking the bus from Port Authority to Atlantic City, make sure to get there very early and know what gate you need to stand at.  During the busiest times, which seem to be Friday after work and Saturday morning, it will be mass pandamoneum.  Being the experienced bus veterans that we are, OB and I were promptly in line and had first row seats to the fracas as people who couldn’t make it on the 11 AM bus tried to cut into the 11:30 line.  There was mass screaming, and threats to call the “line police.”  I just put on my sunglasses to avoid making eye contact with anyone.  OB and I grabbed seats in the back, and let the drinking commence (I started with cheap-o whiskey, OB preferred Captain Morgan).

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Two thousand fifteen.  Such a huge number.  The year we are in, some would say.  And this is a string of four pointless sentences.

I haven’t been to Atlantic City this year, so we are way overdue for a diary.  Usually, around this time, Keith and I would have hit AC on some kind of crazy adventure.  However, he made the horrible mistake of abstaining from alcohol for Lent.  This time, it is OB and myself, Harrah’s, and the Atlantic City Beer (and Music) Festival.  We begin our day of activities with a buffet….

2:30PM – The ride down was fairly uneventful.  We were pleased to find that the buses now go straight from Port Authority to Harrah’s (a game changer!), and I slept the whole way down.  OB, unfortunately, made the error of not printing out his ticket for the beerfest before leaving.  We ventured out to find the hotel business center, but Harrah’s seems to be determined to hide it away from all human contact.  After two separate elevator rides and a meander through both the casino and the barren halls of unused meeting rooms, we found the business center.  It was inhabited by another poor soul who, too, had forgotten to print up his ticket.  However, this jabroni fills us in on his current woes: the printer isn’t working.  A friendly staffmember arrived, but after a series of complicated e-mail transactions, we were still without our tickets.

I decide to take matters into my own hands.  I look at the printer.  It says “No Paper.”  I use all my MacGuyver skills, and remove paper from the fax machine and stick it in the printer.  Problem solved.

Harrah’s, I’m available to be head of your IT department.  Just give me a call.

4:00 – After a quick shower and some squats to get the blood flowing, we headed down to Harrah’s Waterfront Buffet to stuff ourselves with crab legs and rotten shrimp.  We went as the buffet opened, so we were surrounded by the elderly in their natural habitat.  However, our eyes were distracted by the Harrah’s Pool, which was actually hopping.  I don’t seem to remember it actually working as a “pool,” but rather a nightclub.  Yet today, on the first semi-nice day of 2015, the ladies (and gents) were out in their skimpiest outfits.  It was quite a sight.

5:30 – The.  Beerfest.

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Honestly, this might be the most fun, best run event I have ever been to in Atlantic City.  I can’t even begin to properly describe it.  So, without ado, here’s my top six list of the best things about the Atlantic City Beer (and Music) Fest:

6. It’s very well-organized. The space was large and brightly lit.  The event started on time.  It was insanely easy to get through security.  The cabs after the event were easy to find (granted, we left about 20 minutes early to avoid the rush).  Given that there were about 10,000 people there with the express purpose of drinking, it could’ve easily been a shitshow.  Instead, it was the greatest party of the year.

5. There’s food!  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to partake much in this aspect, having eaten before.  But, we passed by a bunch of smoked meats that smelled absolutely mouth-watering.  Free samples, to boot.  Speaking of free…

4. So much swag.  I live for swag.  Stickers, coasters, buttons.  Aside from the beer, you can definitely get your money’s worth in useless crap.  I love it.

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3. There’s so many activities!  Drinking tiny beers for four hours can get a bit boring.  So why not try on kilts?  Or listen to music? Or do some yoga?  You can do all these activities for as long or as short as you want, depending on how much time you need to rest. (I would like to note that this is the second time we were at an event in Atlantic City featuring Everclear.  And it is the second time we chose not to watch Everclear.)

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2. The crowd rocks.  You had groups of drinkers celebrating people’s birthdays, some trying to do the “Wade Boggs Challenge,” and others dressed up as wrestlers.  And, for such a large event, there were almost no bad apples in the bunch.  Nobody was sloppy or vomiting, and nobody was being a jerk (fighting, pushing, cutting lines, etc.).

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But, we all know what number one is…

1. Four hours of beer.  You are given a small glass, and the recommended sample size is 2 ounces, but come on – you got unlimited beer from some great breweries.  For free.  For four hours.

I will make it my duty to be there next year, come hell or high water.  And you should too.  And I am getting no money to endorse this.  This should be the last line of the diary.  Unfortunately, the night keeps going.

10:00 – OB and I take our drunk asses back to Harrah’s, and the rest of the night is a blur.  We have an excellent midnight dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s, and OB passes out early.  I make the unfortunate mistake of staying up gambling.  I get beat at the slots.  I get beat at the blackjack tables.  I get beat when I bet small.  I get beat when I bet big.  I get beat when I play with bad blackjack players.  I get beat when I play with good blackjack players.

Bottom line: I stink at gambling.

7:00AM – After a short nap, I take a morning stroll on the Harrah’s waterfront and take stock of my life.  This may have been the greatest trip I ever had in Atlantic City, but then I had to go gamble.  Which brings up the challenge: can I “Do AC” without gambling?  Is that even possible?

Stay tuned.  The next AC Diary will be coming in June.  And trust me, it’s going to be a doozy.

Cheap Trick

How does seeing Cheap Trick at Harrah’s in mid-November sound to you?  Mildly entertaining, with a slight chance of being horribly depressing?  Me too!  Let’s dive right into this bad boy:

11:30AM – You know, every one of these diaries start out with a bus journey, and I figure it is all old hat by now.  Nothing new would happen.  In fact, this is exactly how I started Chapter 13 before being proven wrong.  You would think that this would easily be the most routine and ho-hum part of the journey: riding a bus on the Garden State Parkway for 2.5 hours.  But, there’s always something to report.

In this case, however, it was pre-bus.  This trip was just the dynamic duo: OB and myself.  As loyal readers know, OB has begun the last few trips (starting with Chapter 11) by ordering a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich in Port Authority, and stuffing it down before it has had a chance to cool, ceremonially burning his mouth in the process.  I’m not sure what the point of this tradition is, but it seems to give OB so much pleasure (and pain) that I can’t help getting excited when it comes time for it.  If there are two things that will be mentioned in the first line of OB’s obituary, it will be his love of extremely hot eggs, and his highly controversial Springsteen-based political rants.

Anyway, we come into a situation where the man behind the counter had just finished dealing with an unruly customer.  This situations can always be a bit dicey, but OB’s charm had the man laughing in no time (I would describe it as “charm”, OB would describe it as “general happiness in anticipation of a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich”).  The man even feels comfortable to boast that his soda prices are the lowest in town, and has no problem laughing at OB’s last name, calling him a mick.  It is this demeanor that has made him the greatest man at reheating sandwiches in the basement of Port Authority.  One scalding hot sandwich later, and we are on the bus down to Atlantic City.

3:00PM – The bus flies down to AC without a hitch.  The crowd on the bus is sparse and quiet, and combined with the weak traffic, I was anticipating that the city would be fairly dead.  Which wouldn’t be too surprising, given that it is a random weekend in November.  However, upon arriving at Caesar’s, we find the place is bustling with activity.  This is a good sign, but would the same hold true at Harrah’s, in the distant Marina-land of Atlantic City?  At Caesar’s, we quickly blow through our bus vouchers (after an unsuccessful search for the legendary KISS slot machines, we settle on Star Wars slots and last about as long as Jek Porkins) and head to Harrah’s.

5:30 – It has been a great couple hours in Harrah’s.  Check-in is a breeze, the room is clean, the beds are comfortable, and the room service, which we are now devouring, is delicious.  OB and I have been listening to happy music for the last hour (beginning with Leslie Gore’s “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows,” naturally), and couldn’t be in a better mood.  I must say, we don’t head to Harrah’s that frequently (the only Harrah’s appearance was in Chapter 9), but it is slowly growing on me.  With our bellies full and our livers boozed, we head down to get some pre-Cheap Trick gambling done.

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