1 You wanna be where everybody knows your name. Yes, innumerable bars claim to be the "Cheers" of their hometown, but in Atlantic City, the Ducktown Tavern has a pretty strong case for that title. When the Exadaktilos family bought and renovated a former dive bar and restaurant on the corner of Atlantic and Georgia avenues, the Brigantine natives wanted to truly take care of their own. That has meant a focus on all things local, by supporting local causes, sponsoring city events and just generally giving people service to make them want to keep coming back. "This city needed a truly local tavern," John Exadaktilos says. Nearly seven years after opening, it seems like it's been here forever.
2 Yes, they're open. Ducktown is a 24-hours-a-day operation, and that makes it a favorite of people who have been partying all night and don't want to stop, as well as those who have been working all night and want to grab a drink after their shift. Knowing that, the bar went beyond the typical lunchtime and after-work happy hours and added a happy hour special from 3 to 5 a.m. every day, with a dollar off drinks during that time. Combined with the happy hour specials from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., that's technically seven happy hours.
3 There's nothing wrong with watching too much television in this house. The bar opened in 2005 with three TVs, and now there are 25 spread throughout. Most days, there simply isn't enough good stuff on TV, but during football season, playoffs and especially March Madness, there's plenty to occupy your eyeballs.
4 Would you like those beers for here or to go? Since opening, the Exadaktiloses expanded their draft selection to 20 beers, with all the standards as well as a few you might not have tried before. If you're looking to take the party home, the family also opened a connected liquor store a few years after it opened the bar, and John Exadaktilos said they plan to soon keep it open 24 hours a day, as well.
5 They take their show on the road. Ducktown has a number of motorized mascots, chief among them a firetruck that John Exadaktilos "pimped out," painting it black, detailing it with the bar's logo, adding six keg taps and flatscreen TVs with satellite programming. "It's a functioning party on wheels," he says, and they have used it for parades, weddings and plenty of other events. Among the other "toys" at Ducktown are a golf cart and a barstool with an engine that they take out for special occasions. The barstool can go up to 25 mph, but no, it can't take you home.
Heard on a Friday night: Whatever anyone felt like playing on the jukebox. A trio of old-school rap songs from Wu Tang to Notorious B.I.G. to Tupac, played in a row as three guys tried to top each other's choices, and then someone else stepped in and played back-to-back AC/DC classics.
Scene at midnight: The front bar was packed with people of all ages from the bar rail to the brick wall, with people sitting on stools and talking to their friends standing behind them, laughing and cheering. Some told apparently hilarious stories, and others chatted with the bartenders. At the tables, young friends and old couples snacked on bar food while watching the flatscreen TVs mounted on the wall, their eyes scanning back and forth at the three different games on. At the back bar, six police officers were having a bite to eat of their own, away from the relative chaos on the other side of the wall.
Bar Owners: Anna, John, Nick and Sue Exadaktilos
The look: A mix of wooden bars and trim with brick walls and a wide variety of beer company promotional materials. There are two back-to-back bars, separated by a wall, with the main one closer to Georgia Avenue and the second behind it, adjacent to booths for food service.
Saturday, March 17: Holiday parade, featuring $4 Guinness, $2.50 Bud, Bud Light drafts, $4 fireball shots.