By: Pam Teel
Asbury Park has certainly gone through its ups and downs over the decades. Once a popular tourist resort, it seemed to have fallen into hard times. By the 1980’s its status as a popular resort faded.
Who can remember getting a ride on the large vintage carousel on the boardwalk? The jazz and rock clubs were deteriorating and the city pretty much fell to ruins. By 1991, the place resembled a ghost town. The town had vacant storefront windows, one after the other. People stopped at the end of the Ocean Grove boardwalk for fear of vagrants and less desirables hanging out beyond that.
For those that remember it at its worse, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the town has been resurrected. It might be a different era but it’s the same feeling that attracted people to the area in the 40’s and 50’s. Good bands, good food, and plenty of beach! The town has once again become a popular spot for vacationers weekenders, and beach goers with its
overabundance of restaurants, shops, and extensive beachfront. The downtown landscape is artistic and trendy. The boardwalk is revitalized and better than ever. The Paramount theatre andConvention Hall have a new facelift and many other entertainment facilities have been added to the mix.
There are beautiful oceanfront hotels in the area such as the breathtaking Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, a grand hotel
of bygone era. The Hotel Tides and Spa has also been restored to its original glory. The town is a buzz on the weekends. Some of the can’t miss trendy places to hang out at
and get a beer and a bite to eat are: The Wonder Bar, The Annex, The Berkeley Bar, The lazy Dog Saloon, and The Asbury Ale
House, to name a few.
If you’re looking for nightlife, Asbury Park is the place. There are many bars and night clubs that offer live music entertainment such as the famous Stone Pony, the Convention Hall, the Saint Club, many dance halls and more, all adding to the ambiance of the town throughout the night. Stroll down Main Street amongst the fine eateries. Some notable restaurants to frequent include Porta Italian Restaurant and Dance Bar, Moonstruck, Daniels Bistro, Asbury Festhall German Bar Pub, and many more to choose from. You will find art galleries, unique shops, and antique emporiums on the main drag. The boardwalk also has vendors up and down it. Take in a movie at the art and music culture Showroom Cinema where they show independent, foreign films, documentaries and more.
Located right on the boardwalk is the silverball pinball museum, which is a must see. There are plenty of old pinball machines and arcade machines that will bring you back to the seventies: Pac man, Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Kiss, skeeball, and others. Asbury Park also has a splash park for the kids to cool off in. In the fall there is a
large oyster fest that takes place. Asbury Park also has two theatre companies: the premiere theatre company where they produce classic Broadway theatre in the area and the Revision theatre.
Throughout the year the historic downtown comes alive for numerous events from block parties to parades,
to monthly first Saturday celebrations where shops and restaurants stay open late. You can’t miss the Asbury Park Restaurant tour; the Fourth of July reworks, oysterfest, and the world record-breaking zombie walk. For more events go to www.asburyparkchamber.com
If you haven’t been to Asbury Park lately, go and check it out. The town is hopping. The food is great, and the atmosphere is lively. Make sure you visit neighboring Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach and Avon by the Sea and make a day of it!