Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Egg Harbor Township After Hour Joints
Egg Harbor Township (EHT) After Hour Joints
For many years Egg Harbor Township allowed those liquor licenses within their jurisdiction to remain open 24-hours a day, and some of them did, especially those near Somers Point, where the bars were forced to stop serving at 2am and close by 3am.
Brownies Lodge, a rustic log cabin in Bargaintown was probably the first to become popular with the post-Somers Point crowd, and many old timers recall driving out there to continue the party after Somers Point had closed.
John McCann, Sr. and Dick McLain, the owners of Bay Shores built the most notorious of the after hour clubs – The Dunes, on Longport Blvd. at the intersection of where the roads from Somers Point and Ocean City came together.
Then there was Jack’s Grove, down past Route 9 on Mays Landing Road, just on the other side of the Patcong Creek. Jack’s was a laid back place under a grove of trees, but was renamed the Attic when a guy named Joe bought it and broke it up into two bars – one upfront with two pool tables, and another larger room in the back where bands played.
Joe sold the place to a group of guys who cleaned up the place and renamed it the Boatyard, and continued the live music tradition.
O’Byrne’s was a local taproom just on the other side of the bay bridge at Lousy Harbor on the Longport Blvd, that became the Mug and the Purple Dragon before Andrew Cornaglia bought it and renamed it Mothers, after the bar in the TV show Peter Gunn.
All of these places were either closed during the day or virtually deserted until around midnight when things would start picking up and they would get more crowded as the Somers Point bars let out. By 3 in the morning they were jamming, most of the them with live bands that didn’t even begin to play until midnight and continued to early in the morning. Dunes ‘Til Dawn was the slogan on the T-shirts.
The bands that played these places were special too. The Dunes had the best bands early on mainly because of their affiliation with Bay Shores, so many of the bands from there would go over to the Dunes when they got finished at Bay Shores and continue playing or jam with the band that had the gig.
Airport was the house band at Mothers for a few years, while Bob Campanell and the Shakes also played there a lot. Bob’s brother Gabbo had a band The Flys, whose equipment was destroyed when Mothers burnt down a year or so after Andrew sold the place to Charlie Brown.
Mike’s Towing was the band at the Attic for many years, and Mike and his pals would move to the Pocono mountain resorts for the winter after the summer ended at the Shore.
A lot of bands played Brownies over the years, including Jack Zwacki, Larry Hickman and Back Roads, which included Nancy and Tom, Jack Patch and Billy Mueller.
Today, none of these places even exist. Brownies is still there but after Joe Hoffman died his second wife sold it to some guys who operated it as a bust out joint for a year or two and then went bankrupt, and it now sits empty.
After Mothers burnt down its liquor licenses was sold and moved to the Cardiff Circle.
The Dunes was renovated into a sports bar by the Suttor family from Margate, who also owned, at one time – the Sailfish Café and Roberts in Margate, the Point Pub and the Owl Tree in Northfield.
Then they lost it and the Dunes was taken over by the State of New Jersey Division of Fish Game and Wildlife – and went from one wildlife to another.