Thursday, July 21, 2011
Twisties in Strathmere
Twisties in Strathmere is one of the most legendary bars in New Jersey, mainly because it actually still exists, and pretty much intact, while most legendary bars have gone the way of the buffalo or dinasours.
You usually discover the Deauville Inn before you learn about Twisties.
The Deauville is a centuries old Victorian era Inn that sits on the south side of the inlet across from the barrier island of Ocean City. Because Ocean City has been a dry town with no liquor licenses, the closest towns of Somers Point, Egg Harbor Townshp and Strathmere all have bars and liquor stores right by the bridges to Ocean City from every direction. From the south there's the Deauville Inn, which has gone through a century of transformations.
Just down the side street, heading south along the bay, about a block and a half, across from the old Coast Guarde station, is Twistie's.
Owned by the local reaitor - Mr. Riordan, Twistie's for many years that stretched into decades, only opened for a few weeks a year, at the end of the summer, just so the bar could maintain its liquor license. It was closed 350 days a year, and you had to time youself if you wanted to experience the place when it was open.
Made of old wood, the bar extends from just to the left of the front door and around the back wall which has windows that look out onto the bay and the unblemished marsh landscape, other than the Parkway lights that run like a string of pearls across the scene.
It used to have an old mechanical jukebox that actually took quarters, and gave you three songs, and the whole place was sort of a throwback in time.
Other than the jukebox and the TV with sports on it, there was little sign that anything had changed in fifty years or more. On the south wall there were a dozen fish trophys, one of pretty much each kind you could find around here or Florida.
Running along the top of the panneling near the ceiling was a shelf with dozens of Indian head face carved coconuts that a previous owner had brought back with him from Florida, once each time he went.
Most of all Twisties was known to be a Rum Runners haven, even though it was just down the street from the Coast Guard station. There were no police in Strathmere or Sea Isle City for many years, and the State Police didn't want to come out this way, so the locals and visitors alike pretty much had to live in peace with one another. And that didn't seem to hard, at least for those who patronized Twisties and the Deauville.