According to a totally unscientific empirical survey of bar scenes around Atlantic City, when most people are out drinking, their go-to beer selection is something light, inexpensive and exhibiting only a semblance of flavor. Fortunately, for those brave souls looking to celebrate with something less mass-produced and more unique, the island offers a number of bars that are guaranteed to wow even the most haughty beer snobs. If you are one of these apparently rare people who actually cares about finding something good to drink when you are planning a night of drinking, the following places need to be on your shortlist of venues for finding quality beer in Atlantic City.
1The selections run deep at Firewaters. There are 51 beers on tap and more than 100 different bottles available at this bar in Tropicana's Marketplace, an absolutely astounding amount of choices that's probably better than what most liquor stores offer. If you can't find a beer you love here, you might not like beer. If you can't find a beer here that you've never tried before, you might simply drink too much.
2 Work out your beer muscles at Mussel Bar. Chef Robert Wiedmaier's Belgian roadhouse in Revel is the latest major player in Atlantic City's beer scene, and with more than 150 beer selections of its own, there is a lot here that can't be found anywhere else. What's fortunate for both the novice and the veteran of craft beers is that the huge menu divides the different beers by styles and has helpful descriptions to give an idea of what each has to offer. One cool distinction is they offer every beer brewed by European Trappist monks that is commercially available in America.
3 Support local libations at Tun Tavern. The city's only brewery sits outside the casinos next to the Convention Center on Michigan Avenue. There are five house selections always on tap and a steady stream of seasonal specials, such as its Sumatra coffee stout, Berliner Weiss German wheat and its American-style barley wine ale. Grab some growlers to go if you want to bring home something you certainly cannot get anywhere else.
4 Enjoy suds in the sun at Boardwalk Beer Garden. Like the name, this bar outside Caesars Atlantic City has few frills. It just offers a menu of tasty craft beers to drink outdoors when the weather warms. Open daily in the summer and weekends in the spring and fall, the selections include some of the most successful microbrews around from the likes of Magic Hat, Victory and Flying Fish. When the weather isn't quite perfect outside, there also is an indoor section with HD televisions.
5 Wash down that beer with some food. A number of Atlantic City restaurants have offered a variety of deliciously planned beer dinners that pair brews with three to six different dishes. Recent brewery and restaurant combinations have included Sixpoint Brewery and Village Whiskey in Revel, Goose Island at Fin in Tropicana, Yards at Mia in Caesars and Dogfish Head at Vagabond on North Trenton Avenue in the Chelsea Heights part of the city. Make sure to follow At The Shore's beer columnist, Mark Haynie, for updates on the latest beer-themed events in the city.