ATS/AC Bar & Grill

Drink specials and a friendly atmosphere can be found at Atlantic City Bar & Grill.

Steve Freeman

1 Happy hour? Try “happy day!” From Mondays through Fridays, the Atlantic City Bar & Grill, a local favorite, has happy hour from noon to 6 p.m. with martinis such as the Orange Crush — fresh-squeezed OJ, triple sec and 7-Up — cosmos or the Key Lime for only $5 (regularly $10), wines priced at $4 and beers at $2. You can also take advantage on deep discounts on their seafood — their house specialties — such as clams, mussels, snow crabs and oysters. Or maybe try one of their most popular items, crab pizza ($9) with a homemade scampi sauce, cheese and crab meat, a huge seller during happy hour. If you’re really hungry, go for the $25 lobster dinner — which is the price whether it’s happy hour or not. It’s a whole 1¼ pound lobster that includes a house salad, veggie and bread.

2 The large bar is a great place to hang out and watch the game — and maybe meet a celeb. With 20 TVs scattered throughout, the A.C. Bar & Grill is one of the best places around to catch your favorite local team. Yes, “local,” such as the Phils, Yankees, Giants or Eagles. And with their brand new 80-inch smart TV, you’ll be able to see each bead of sweat dripping down the face of a runner rounding third, to the individual teardrops from sobbing fans witnessing a missed field goal. The bar comfortably seats 25, and with the hi-tech surround sound system you won’t miss a thing no matter where you sit. And you never know who you may be sitting next to — sports figures and celebrities such as Michael Phelps, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Penn & Teller, Food Network star Robert Irvine and even George Clooney and Paris Hilton have been spotted here.

3 They are proud of their beer list. A.C. Bar & Grill has an extensive beer list, but don’t look for any trendy craft beers or even anything produced locally. They keep it simple and old school with bottles such as Heineken and Corona. They also have a large selection of drafts with popular favorites such as Guinness, Blue Moon, Yuengling and Sam Adams. There’s also a rotating tap that changes seasonally — right now it’s a Sam Adams IPA. Perhaps their biggest seller, though, is Coors Light on draft, which is $2 any time of the day, 365 days a year.

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4 Throw a party on their Second Level. There is a great banquet room on A.C. Bar & Grill’s “Second Level,” as they call it. It can easily host about 200 guests and makes for a terrific spot to celebrate a birthday, graduation or retirement. There are two convenient bars up there, and you can even bring in a DJ since there’s a dance floor. As a special touch, they can post a sweet, personalized note such as “Congratulations, Donny” on both of the large LED screens on the outside of the building. That way everybody is aware of where the party is taking place and who the man of the hour is.

5 They like to give back to local firefighters, police and lifeguards. A.C. Bar & Grill takes great pride in and truly enjoys giving back to those who serve Atlantic City. That’s why they often offer these special folks perks and goodies such as parties in their honor, particularly on St. Patrick’s Day, when they throw a huge celebration complete with a bagpipers and a complimentary buffet.

Essentials:

Where: 1219 Pacific Ave. (at the corner of South Carolina Avenue)

When: Open 11 a.m. to midnight daily, later in the summer.

How big: 125 downstairs, 200 upstairs.

What to wear: Casual attire.

What you’ll hear: They switch up the tunes depending on who the clientele is, so expect to hear anything from the ’70s, ’80 and ’90s to country to rock ’n’ roll to Motown.

Who’s there: It’s a 50/50 split between locals and out of towners.

How much: Starters $4.50 to $17; sides $2 to $23; entrees $20 to $49; pastas $16 to $25; pizzas $9 to $14; burgers, sandwiches $8 to $16; desserts $6; beer $2 to $6; wine $4 to $8; cocktails $5 to $10.

How to get more info: 609-348-8080; ACBarAndGrill.com

Background:

Owners: Partners and brothers Ron and Gino Garofalo

Opened: 1976

Evolution: Just out of high school, Philly-born Ron Garofalo decided to make a pit stop in Atlantic City on his way down to Wildwood to open a pizzeria. Casino gambling had just been passed, so Garofalo “stuck it out.” Originally called Mama Tucci’s, it was switched to just Tucci’s in 1985 when it became a fine dining establishment. When that didn’t work out, Garofalo remodeled in ’95, changed the name to A.C. Bar & Grill and created the current bar and restaurant.

Coming up: March Madness: A time when the place fills up mostly with guys — hear that, single ladies? They come in “religiously every year,” according to Garofalo. It’s an exciting time, but even Garofalo admits that it gets so loud in there that it can get annoying for diners. Look for food and drink specials.

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Worked in public relations in Philadelphia and NYC on national pharmaceutical and consumer accounts. Owned an award-winning boutique in Philadelphia. Became a freelance writer for The Press, ultimately coming on board full time in May 2014.

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