Published on October 23rd, 2013 | by Tom Firehill


Gentlemen Don’t Go to Atlantic City

The black and white images of the Rat Pack playing a game of craps are an iconic image of what it means to be gentlemen in the United States. Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. basically invented the swagger of a gentleman as we know it today. There is no doubt that Las Vegas offers the glamorous elements of gambling from sophisticated night life to professional gambling arenas. The nights are filled with beautiful people throwing it all down to indulging all of the five senses.

As a man of the East Coast I really wanted to New Jersey’s Atlantic City to measure up to the all the fun I’ve experience in Vegas over the years. The Boardwalk Empire especially rekindled my interest by showing what an integral part this city played in the United States history. Sadly the glamour added by the HBO series Boardwalk Empire is not at all like what the actual Atlantic City experience is today.

After making several trips to Atlantic City over the last decade, including one this year I’ve come to one conclusion. People who can’t afford to go to Las Vegas, go to Atlantic City. This means that when you go to Atlantic experience you experience all of the worst elements of the gambling world without any of the perks.

The first problem with getting to and from Atlantic City is the stupid amount of tolls.  If you are travelling from Washington D.C. to Jersey you will pay around 20 dollars of toll to get there then 20 dollars of tolls when you get back.  And guess what, none of those tolls are going to Washington D.C., but they are going to Delaware and New Jersey.

So if you can drive there, I recommend saving yourself the time and money by just flying in. By the way, if you live closer to Las Vegas than Atlantic City you better be going to Las Vegas. Anyone who doesn’t live on the East Coast shouldn’t bother with the expense of such a lousy experience. In fact, I would recommend everyone in the United States just save up a little extra money to go to Vegas, because the price of the two trips is actually comparable once you actually get there.

For accommodations in Atlantic City is tough to choose between the two options. You can book on the inlet side with the steep 600 dollar a night hotels like the Borgata that have a view of the marshes and enormous wind turbines. Or you can book on the also expensive, but extremely shabby hotels on the boardwalk facing the Atlantic Ocean. Do not book anything that is off the main drag, because there is a good chance you might get mugged, stabbed, harassed, etc. Just driving through the streets of Atlantic City, I encountered several scenarios that looked shady at best.

One thing you must do is wonder the Atlantic City boardwalk. The boardwalk always has its local scum crawling around combined with drunken younger people, grumpy older folks and generally lost tourists. I don’t know what it is about Atlantic City that attracts so many ugly people, but there is definitely a distinctive lack of eye candy. For this reason don’t even bother with the beach crowd, because you’ll finally realize why some girls just shouldn’t wear bikinis.

The Boardwalk is now under construction, so you can go see the effects of Hurricane Isabel. Basically it destroyed a huge junk of the boardwalk. They still haven’t cleaned up all of the mess as of October 2013. You walk to end of the boardwalk to see this until it is barricaded off. Unfortunately, to get to the end of the boardwalk you have to walk past an abandoned hotel that is complete with cracked windows, crack heads and other scary things. Put on your best man face while you pass it.


Next you can pay for an over-priced low quality meal at any of the chain restaurants on the boardwalk. I recommend to start your drinking early here, so at least everyone will start to look slightly more attractive. I tried three different restaurants on the boardwalk; the food was all overpriced for what it was with incompetent and slow staff. You might as well just grab a cheap piece of pizza from one of the generic restaurants along the way that will have a huge picture of pizza and hot dogs on the front.

Some may say I forgot the lovely theme park on the Steel Pier. Let me ask you one thing? What do you get when you mix a bunch of rides with a bunch of low brow drunk people? The smell of puke is what you get. Don’t bother unless you’ve completely lost your sense of smell.

Now that you’ve experienced the boardwalk it is time to move onto the Borate on the other side of town. It is not walkable from the boardwalk by the way. As much as I hate Donald Trump, the Borgata is the best thing about Atlantic City.  Glitzy interior decor, filled with fine dining options and an upscale crowd that you aren’t worried are either going to rob you or puke on you any minute.

The problem with the Borgata is that it has Las Vegas prices, and Dorothy we are not in Las Vegas anymore. Part of the reason that Las Vegas hotels get away with charging you ridiculous prices is due to the atmosphere that you can encounter all up and down the strip. Atlantic City only has an atmosphere if you find Jersey accents, fake tans and overweight people to be glitz. Also, there is a luxury tax in Atlantic City which is absolutely laughable when you take a good look around.

I really hate to rip on a place so hard, but every time I go to Atlantic City I’m terribly disappointed. A gambling city on the ocean should be a high class, over the top experience, but Atlantic City often has the luxury prices without anything luxurious to actually back it up. Next time I get the inkling for a weekend in Atlantic City, I’m just going to save for another trip to Vegas instead.


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