The Devil Inside…The Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City, NJ

That Stoned Pimp, The Jersey Devil shilling for The Hard Rock Cafe, Atlantic City in this collectors pin. Here we see JD all duked out in sunglasses, jewelry, and tacky beachwear circa 2003, drinking Martinis on the Jersey Shore with two bikini-clad hotties 

Screw the long lines, head straight to the guitar shaped bar. I find it easy to relax there. The bartender, Cherish, is the type who is very much in control. She knows what she wants and what you want before you even decide. Even if you tell her what you think you want, she’ll correct you and tell you what you actually want. I mean, tell you what you want, what you really, really want. So, yeah, Cherish. I wasn’t sure if her parents were just hippies or if this was one of the best gimmicks ever where all the employees were named after songs. Unfortunately, none of the waitresses were named “Wannabe.” Zigazigah.

CHERISH: “You’ll have a Purple Haze”
JAY: “OK, I’ll have a Purple Haze…and these”

As I said that, I squinted as if I needed reading glasses while scanning the menu with my finger to pinpoint the generic chicken appetizer that I kept going back to. “These” referred to what I get pretty much every time, the The Tupelo Chicken Tenders. Better the devil you know.

At the Hard Rock, always keep it simple. The Tupelo tenders are quick, easy, and do the trick. Plus, for some unexplained reason, at that very moment, you’ll be compelled to spend the majority of the money you have to your name on alcohol anyway, so you won’t have enough resources to splurge on a steak the size of an actual Led Zeppelin. What kind of insidious urge overcomes you at The Hard Rock, Atlantic City? Why, it must be the Devil himself, but the one from New Jersaaay!

The Hard Rock specialty drink, The Purple Haze, IS damn good, but more importantly, where the hell else are you gonna see Buddy Holly’s 6th grade yearbook or a white leather jacket custom made for Richie Sambora straight from the New Jersey era of Bon Jovi? Not even The Smithsonian has relics so vital to our culture. The Louvre is irrelevant to me.

This Hard Rock Cafe pin is pretty badass. The Jersey Devil, circa 2007, looking fierce 
while playing a sick groove on his axe bass.

You might find yourself mishearing what your friends and your waitress are saying because it’s crowded and loud. What’s worse, is that sometimes I’ve waited upwards of 45 minutes to get the food I ordered, but it’s all part of the ambiance. You know what they say “If it’s too loud and your chicken tenders take too long to come out, you’re too old!”

Moreover, music fans go to The Hard Rock to see some of that awesome rock and roll memorabilia. That’s right, you can get tanked, inhale a cheeseburger, and then drool over KISS costumes and Instagram pics of guitars that belonged to Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend.

Keep in mind though, if you’re trying to hold on to some semblance of street cred, an establishment known for their overpriced t-shirts/tourist uniforms shouldn’t be your regular hangout.

Although I’ve often fancied myself as some counter culture rocker who cannot play any instruments whatsoever, there aren’t many cooler, more inviting places for me to be in when I’m seeking refuge from the sweltering summer heat on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

For the past couple of years, there’s been talk of an actual Hard Rock boutique hotel and casino coming to AC to inhabit one of the casinos that has closed their doors. Boutique really just translates to EXPENSIVE ROOMS. Hopefully it does open one day, because I’ve always wanted to bare witness to the only existing pair of Meatloaf’s high school gym coach’s sweatpants.

And now, I leave you with a few more pics of some other kind of Jersey Devils!

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 51: Bon Jovi Hard Rock Signature Series

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It’s fitting that after Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band closed Giants Stadium, tomorrow night Bon Jovi will open up The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Throughout the shiny new facility I’m sure there will be vendors galore selling swag, thongs, cds, hats, bumper stickers, and whatever else they can slap a Bon Jovi logo on, especially T-Shirts.

Recently on a trip down to Atlantic City, I stopped into the Hard Rock Cafe because I read about the exclusive Bon Jovi t-shirt only available at Hard Rock Shops. It’s the 26th edition in a line of Signature tees that Hard Rock began in 1990. The girl behind the counter showed my girlfriend and I the shirt, but it wasn’t impressive.

Since the Have a Nice Day Tour, Bon Jovi shirts have been extremely lame. During the bands heyday their shirts were just as cool as other hairbands of the era. Now all you see on the front of their tees are crosses, flowers, smiley faces, hearts, and yes…GRAPES! This is not a joke, that is what makes up any Bon Jovi t-shirt you see for sale, unless it’s vintage from eBay. The band opted to veer away from skulls and gangsters in favor of more women and children friendly designs which are frankly, WEAK. All of the characteristics of a typical Bon Jovi shirt are here, mainly the one that screams “If you’re a dude you should NEVER be wearing this shirt!” To add that extra special something that your wardrobe of other Jovi shirts may not have, there’s a silkscreen of Jon’s autograph on the bottom right of the logo!

Out of the $26.00 dollars you’re asked to shell out for this tee, 15% of the profits will go to the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which will help create “affordable housing to those in need.” The Soul Foundation concentrates on serving the greater Philadelphia area rather than New Jersey, the state that provided the title for the band’s 4th album. There are still plenty of run down, low income parts of New Jersey, but no that’s fine Jon, go help the people in Philadelphia, the city that you didn’t grow up in.

Other Bon Jovi T-Shirt Tuesday Installments:
NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 13
NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 48

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 47: Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City

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Art from a Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City T-Shirt

The nation’s second most popular gambling city has a plan to eliminate their competition. Surrounding areas such as Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York have attempted to give Atlantic City a run for its money. But just like Dr. Janosz Poha said about the impervious Vigo the Carpathian, these other second rate gambling establishments “are like the buzzing of flies to him.” Taking its cue from swank hotels like The Borgata, The Hard Rock plans to create one hell of an upscale experience to sucker people back to the city that Monopoly took its street names from. The $300 million dollar project will include a boutique hotel and casino similar to their Las Vegas location. Translation: another reason for your girlfriend to try and entice you to hop on the GSP to voluntarily insert wads of hard earned cash into those noisy mind control machines. Until their new complex is built, you can head over to the existing Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City which is located at The Trump Taj Mahal and features a Gibson guitar shaped bar. If you’ve never been there, grab some lunch before a concert. The Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich is recommended.

Today’s tee beats the hell out of the typical Hard Rock Cafe logo tees that you see everywhere. This shirt is colorful, elaborate, and captures both the gambling aspect of A.C as well as the skyline and elements of the shore where the restaurant is located. Ebay seller benk_store has this shirt up for sale.

RIFF The Music Trivia DVD Game Review

It’s possible you might spend up to 3 hours intensely debating which singers left their bands to become actors. It could seem mind blowing to find out that Tupac was murdered before the advent of Napster. Did the lyric to that song contain the word BLEED or BREATHE? It all seems inconsequential, but not if you’re a hard core music fiend or just an avid trivia buff. I consider myself both and if you’re anything like me then I totally recommend purchasing RIFF, The Music Trivia DVD game.

Unfortunately they aren’t paying me or giving me a kickback to promote their game but it’s one of the better games that has been released in the past few years. I’ve had this game for a couple of years already and each time I play it debates and heated discussions take place. Music trivia games tend not to have a high re-playability factor and usually DVD games get old quick. With DVD games it’s typical to get repeat questions and play the game once or twice and never play it again. If you’re playing with a group or your significant other RIFF will surprise you by how fun it is. Depending on the level of useless knowledge you retain, some of the questions may seem excruciatingly hard while others may seem so easy that Vince Clortho could blow through them without any prodding from Egon. You’ll be put to the test with all different kinds of questions dealing with everything from Heavy Metal and Gospel, to album covers and song lyrics.

One reviewer on the Target site complained that the game repeats itself, but that isn’t always accurate. I’ve played the game a ton of times and only had a handful of repeat questions. When you’re working with a DVD game you’re bound to have a repeat. After your hard fought victory you can walk the halls of Hard Rock Café’s ROCK VAULT which is a cool feature that displays pictures and trivia from Hard Rock’s collection of memorabilia. I find Riff to be as engaging as Scene It and it can definitely stand up with the big boys like Trivial Pursuit. Riff is a must have for music fans so track it down if you can and let me know what you think!