In an innovative twist on an open-mic night, the Shamrock Cafe in Wildwood invites local musicians and vocalists to perform onnstage with the members of the Man Cave Band on Mondays.
Band members are lead vocalist and guitarist P.K. Lavengood of the John Eddie band, bass guitarist Joe Blong of Stellar Mojo, vocalist and guitarist Jimmy Werba and drummer Mike Dempsey.
The unsung hero of Man Cave Mondays is Robert MacBride of Shocker Entertainment, whose company supplies the light and sound equipment to bring the performances up a notch.
"It's a full production of lights and sounds," owner Jim Goodroe says.
The event started about a year ago with a dozen or so performers. Mondays are now a packed house at the Shamrock, Goodroe says, bringing in musicians of all backgrounds and skill levels.
"We've had people bring in their flutes and saxophones. Drummers, guitarists, singers. I'm kind of surpised by all the talent," he says.
The band can match any style or genre, and its members are known to hand over their instuements to listeners overcome by a bout of liquid courage. Man Cave Mondays starts at 9 p.m.
No Prohibition here
Shamrock Cafe is the oldest tavern in Wildwood and the only bar in Cape May County in continuous operation since post Prohibition.
Need I say more?
The tavern was opened by Irish immigrant Cornelius Ward in 1937. Ward came to America in 1915, immediately settling in New Jersey.
Its current owners, Jim and Josette Goodroe of Cape May Court House, purchased Shamrock Cafe in 1998, "when Wildwood was up and coming,"Jim says.
Before Shamrock, they owned Cape May's Jackson Mountain Cafe and A Ca Mia as well as the Rio Station Restaurant and Bar in Middle Township.
When they took over Shamrock it was just a seasonal operation.There wasn't even heat in the building, Jim Goodroe says. But the first summer was so successful they decided to keep it going year round.
"We just didn't want to stop," he says.
'Restaurant Row' Revitalization:
Wildwood's Pacific Avenue is in the midst of a boom and Shamrock is playing a part.
Starting Memorial Day, Shamrock will extend its hours and open at noon, adding a lunchtime.
"The idea is to give people a reason to come to 'restaurant row,'" Goodroe says.