As Thanksgiving rolls around, there are all kinds of things to be thankful for—friends, family, a new Target in Somers Point, you know the drill. And as much as we’re grateful for all of those things, this year we’re particularly grateful for being able to get together for Thanksgiving Eve, a night known for it’s homecoming-like atmosphere as much as for its raucous debauchery after over a year of COVID.
“Thanksgiving Eve is a perfect opportunity to catch up with family and old friends, especially for kids who are going to college in different states — they all get to reconnect,” says Carmela L. Desiderio, owner of Kix in Sea Isle City. “It is hard to tell if it will still be the night to go out after a long year of COVID, but he hope it IS the night that continues the tradition.”
Though bars everywhere prep for the night — at Kix, they’ll be celebrating with signature holiday drinks like the Pumpkin White Russian, Apple Cider Mules, and Thanksgiving Mimosa, among others — some in the industry have noticed a new trend.
“This will be my 21st fall season at The Anchorage! The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is always known as the busiest bar night of the year, and The Anchorage was no exception. We always have a DJ and staff five bartenders and a barback, and we’re always at max capacity,” says Adam Bruno, who bartends at The Anchorage in Somers Point, where there will be $3 Landshark pints specials on Wednesday. “Over the years, that Wednesday has been getting slightly less busy, but at the same time, the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday — has been getting busier for us. So (Thanksgiving) Eve may be the busiest bar night of the year collectively around the country, but Black Friday is the busiest night at The Anchorage.”
This is good news all around. If you miss Wednesday, you still have Friday. And if you’re serious about your socializing, you can do both.
Here’s where to head around South Jersey on Thanksgiving Eve.
Atlantic CountyThere’s a lot of fun to be had in the casinos on Thanksgiving Eve, but we’re feeling most grateful for the grand reopening of Premier Nightclub at Borgata. After a very long COVID closure, Premier is finally back, and since nothing says gratitude like a night of dancing and decadence, we couldn’t be happier. Get there for female duo AMICAZ at 10 p.m.
Likewise, we’re pumped for the debut of Frost Bar at Bally’s. A pop-up holiday bar featuring live holiday music, sing-alongs, movies, and of course, themed cocktails, kicks on Thanksgiving Eve with drinks like Don’t Hog the Nog Clark, Caribbean Holiday Milk & Cookies, The Jolly Happy Soul, Dominic the Donkey, and of course, And to All a Good Night. Bring a new, unwrapped gift for their Toys for Tots drive and park for free.
There’s more dancing to be had over at Caesars. At Wild Wild West Mountain Bar, live entertainment kicks off at 9 p.m. with DJ Aiden Scott, Garden State Radio, and dancers, while DJ Redline kicks things off at Toga Bar at 9 p.m.
At Harrah’s, DJ Rashaun and the Billy Walton Band will perform at Eden Lounge starting at 9 p.m., while Hot Chelle Rae and DJ Nico Oso kick things off at 10 p.m. at The Pool After Dark.
And over at Ocean Casino, start the night at Nola’s Bar & Lounge with DJ Jason E at 7 p.m., before heading to a Thanksgiving Eve Celebration at HQ2 Nightclub with Paul Desisto and DJ Chris Devine at 10 p.m.
At Tropicana, the doors to Boogie Nights open 9 p.m. Wednesday for a Thanksgiving Eve party with the best of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
For a more chill musical experience, head to Rush Lounge at Golden Nugget for music from Lisa Bouchelle.
There’s plenty of fun to be had outside the casinos, as well. At Hi Point Pub in Absecon, Thanksgiving Eve means a party with Ram B Double Down Entertainment from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., as well as food and drink specials. In AC, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall is hosting a Thanksgiving Eve/Anniversary party with DJ Skyline at 6 p.m., Robert’s Basement at 9 p.m., and $3 Jell-O Shots and select beers to keep the party going; and Rhythm & Spirits is hosting their usual Whiskey Wednesday with half-price whiskeys. At Renault Winery Resort and Golf in Egg Harbor City, Laura Lea Duo is performing at 5 p.m., while in Galloway, it’s Dueling Pianos at JD’s Pub & Grille. In Mays Landing, get crooning with Karaoke at Brick House Pub & Grille. And in Somers Point, head to Caroline’s by the Bay for open-mic hosted by Tribe; to Gregory’s for entertainment from The Amptons; to Clancy’s for Trivia Night; and to The Crab Trap for music from Greg Clark.
Cape May CountyThere’s no shortage of reunion-like Thanksgiving blowouts in Cape May County. From Upper Township to Cape May, there’s something for everyone.
Kick off Thanksgiving Eve with music from James Howell at The Tuckahoe Inn in Upper Township; Jerry Blavat and LeCompt at Oar House Pub in Sea Isle City; Quizzo at Owen’s Pub in North Wildwood; and Five Times Famous at Mud Hen Brewing Co. in Wildwood.
In Cape May, head to The Mad Batter for Thanksgiving Eve with The Squares; to The Brown Room for music from Chad Morales; and to Nauti Spirits for a Nauti Friendsgiving with Marnie and Nate.
and Ocean CountiesThanksgiving Eve is a nationwide celebration, so expect to find fuller-than-usual bars and nightclubs wherever you go, especially after a year and a half of social distancing. In Millville, head to Old Oar House Irish Pub for karaoke; to Lighthouse Tavern in Barnegat for a Thanksgiving Eve with Karaoke from DJ Don at 2:30 p.m. before The Kootz take over at 6 p.m.; to Buckalew’s in LBI for Marty & The Martians; and to Nardi’s Tavern, also in LBI, for The Rockets at 10 p.m.
A final noteDon’t see your favorite bar on the list? Not to worry. While not all bars have live entertainment on this night of all nights, just about every open bar will be packed full of revelers, all thankful for good beer, and good friends.