Five things you need to know about Maynard's Cafe
1 It's all that remains of the "Barbary Coast." Amherst Avenue earned that nickname when it used to be the Bourbon Street of bayside Margate during the '60s, '70s and '80s, with hundreds of sloppy college students traversing between more than a dozen bars and pubs. The historical reference to the North African coast and its once-pirate-filled ports is probably lost on today's 20-somethings, and the scenes of anything-goes mayhem on the avenue are mostly lost as well. Maynard's, which was named after original owner Billy Maynard when it opened in 1914, is the last bastion of that raucous past, as most of the old bars nearby have closed to be replaced by condos and more "civilized" up-scale restaurants.
2 It's what's on the outside that matters most. The original structure dates to the turn of the 20th century, and when Al Troiano bought the bar in 1966, it wasn't much to talk about - just an unremarkable, dimly lit watering hole. He then bought a couple adjacent bungalows, knocked them down and created Big Al's Starlite Garden, a large outdoor patio that is packed on summer weekends and is easily the bar's most popular attraction. In 2011, current owner Steve Troiano, Big's Al's son, put up a permanent pavilion with a brand new sound system along with sound-deadening hardwood and acoustic panels to shield their sleepier neighbors from the lively late-night parties.
3 Everyone loves a legend. As is often the case with laid-back shore bars, you can find families and older couples mixed in with newly 21-year-old patrons and people from every age in between. The crowd tends to get younger as the nights go on, with plenty of locals and visitors creating memories and starting their own traditions.
4 You should visit sooner rather than later. Bands play on weekends and certain weeknights, mostly during the summer but sometimes in the offseason, from about 6 to 9 p.m., followed by DJs who play into the early morning. Meanwhile, get $1 off already reasonably priced drinks during happy hour from 7 to 10 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
5 They offer good times, but also a chance to do good deeds. Maynard's has about 30 to 40 benefits a year, helping a variety of local causes. One of their best known events, The Patti McWalk, is held every April in honor of Margate resident Jennifer "Patti" McDonald, who died of cancer in 2002. Every year since they have raised thousands of dollars for the South Jersey Cancer Fund, including $18,000 in 2012. To get information about upcoming benefits or schedule a private party of your own, contact the bar at 609-822-8423.
Heard on a Saturday night: Resident DJ Coz played a mix of party favorites, splicing in tracks from the '70s, '80s, '90s and current Top 40, all of which the crowd was familiar with.
Scene at midnight: A relaxed, attractive crowd mostly in their mid-20s occupied bar stools and shot pool, chatting and greeting people they knew who walked in the door. A few older couples and friends also shared drinks, tapping their feet to the music.
Bar Owner: Steve Troiano
Debuted: Originally opened in 1914, purchased by Al Troiano in 1966, added outdoor pavilion in 2011
The look: Behind the brick facade and neon sign is a low-ceilinged interior with tile floors, brick walls, a main wood-paneled bar. There are pool tables, 13 high-definition TVs and small DJ booth in the corner, with old photos and beer merchandise serving as the main decorations. Outside is the patio partially covered by a wooden pavilion, with another bar, more TVs and table seating.
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: DJ Coz
What: Maynard's Cafe
Where: 9306 Amherst Ave., Margate
Days/Hours: 8 a.m. to close, as late as 4 a.m. daily
Capacity: 150 inside, 500 outside
Size: 18,000 sq. ft., total property
Cover: Depends on entertainment
Dress code: Casual
Drinks: $1.50 to $4 beers, $4 to $5 mixed drinks and shots. Drink specials: Daily $1.50 Bud Light drafts; $2 Coors Lights on Tuesdays; $1.50 Moosehead on Wednesdays; $2 Miller Lite bottles on Thursdays.
Demographic: All ages, 21 and up
On the web: www.Maynards-Cafe.com
Please remember to always drink responsibly