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Thursday Night: Atlantic City

July 3, 2014

Ah, Thursday night — the only truly social night of the week. Last week we pined for Fort Lauderdale, and the week before that we got a mountain high in Aspen. This week we present the perfect Thursday night in Atlantic City.

It’s the night when babysitters are booked, friends convene and drinks are imbibed. There are no family obligations to fulfill, no amateurish weekend crowds to elbow through — and the possibilities are endless. The night starts after work and ends whenever you want. In any city. All over the world.

atlantic city new jersey skyline
atlantic city new jersey skyline

Atlantic City skyline (Photo: RomanK Photography/Flickr)

The dream of Atlantic City ever rivaling the spectacle of Las Vegas is over. With the long-troubled Revel casino recently entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time, and the announcement that Caesars Entertainment’s Showboat casino will close at the end of the summer, the city is proving to be a lousy bet for the gaming industry.

So maybe don’t invest in Atlantic City, but you can still have a good time here. The Borgata casino has the top poker room on the East Coast, and if you pick your spots correctly, you’ll shop, eat, and party well in Atlantic City. And despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that Vegas has spent creating fake beaches, it will never have the actual ocean that is just steps away from many Atlantic City resorts. 

Before you go, here’s the perfect itinerary for an action-filled Thursday night in Atlantic City. 

Related: What’s hot and new in Atlantic City this summer

5 p.m.

Atlantic City Borgata Hotel Casino
Atlantic City Borgata Hotel Casino

Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa (Photo: Mary Godleski/AP)

There are always multiple games (and sometimes World Poker Tour events) running at Borgata’s 85-table poker room. Whether you’re looking for low-stakes hold-’em or big-bet shenanigans with grinders risking thousands of dollars on hands, there is something for everyone. However, if you prefer basking to bluffing, check into the Water Club at Borgata. That nongaming tower offers room service from Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, its own luxurious indoor and outdoor pool areas, and an immersion spa that overlooks the ocean from the 32nd floor.

7 p.m.

atlantic city boardwalk
atlantic city boardwalk

Atlantic City Boardwalk (Photo: gGraphy/Flickr)

The Borgata is in the Marina district, so if you want to avoid the bustle of the Atlantic City boardwalk, it’s a nice escape. But if you’d like to walk on the beach and do some shopping, head over to the boardwalk. The saltwater taffy and tchotchke vendors are still here, but the Pier Shops at Caesars raises the stakes with Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, and Tiffany & Co. The Pier Shops complex is also where you can ease your way into the evening with a sake flight or the Enlightenment Asian margarita (with Milagro Silver, cucumber, lime, and Thai chili) at Buddakan.

9 p.m.

atlantic city fornelletto restaurant
atlantic city fornelletto restaurant

Stephen Kalt’s Fornelletto at Borgata (Photo: Borgata)

The Borgata is known for its collection of star chefs and prominent restaurants, from Michael Schulson’s Izakaya and Wolfgang Puck’s American Grille to Bobby Flay’s Steak and the popular Old Homestead. The best bet, though, is Stephen Kalt’s Fornelletto, a crowd-pleasing Italian restaurant from the chef who previously ran the kitchen at New York City’s Spartina and Wynn Las Vegas’ Corsa Cucina. The veal osso bucco ravioli and seafood spaghetti with shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari are dazzling, but Fornelletto is also a good place to visit if you’re just in the mood for a meatball pizza or a plate of chicken parm.

Related: Thursday Night: Las Vegas

11 p.m.

atlantic city borgata hotel casino fatburger
atlantic city borgata hotel casino fatburger

Brogata Hotel & Casino Fatburger (Photo: Amiga-Commodore/Flickr)

B Bar, located on Borgata’s casino floor, is a buzzing 24/7 spot where you can be any version of yourself you want. Drink Coors Light while playing video poker, or order a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to toast new friends before hitting the craps table if that’s how you want to use your bankroll. Also, the poker room and Borgata’s Fatburger are open 24/7 for those nights when chili cheese fries are the ideal hangover prevention.

12:30 a.m.

atlantic city tropicana hotel casino
atlantic city tropicana hotel casino

Tropicana Atlantic City (Photo: Chris Goldberg/Flickr)

If you’re not gambling or asleep and want to rage, the Tropicana keeps the party going into the wee hours. Dance to house music at Anthem if you’re cool with a cozy bottle-service setting. Groove to ’90s hits at Boogie Nights if you’re feeling frisky and retro. Or sample beers from Firewater’s list of 50 drafts. There’s also a dance floor there, next to a back bar that serves martinis, because why not?!

Andy Wang is founder of Consortium Projects HQ, a custom publishing firm specializing in luxury real estate, destinations, and food.

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