ATLANTIC CITY — Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino is shutting down its beach bar permanently, saying it can’t compete against nonunion beach bars at two other Atlantic City casinos.
The casino’s parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, said the bar’s last day will be Sept. 16.
“I don’t see why they can’t compete,” said Ed Corbett, 70, of Collingdale, Pa., who was visiting The Beach Bar with his wife, Edith, on Thursday at about the same time that a dozen or so other tables were occupied with mostly tourists. “We like The Beach Bar. I’m surprised they’re closing it down.”
Trump spokesman Brian Cahill said the company can’t compete with cocktail service on the beach for guests of the newly opened Revel, as well as the Margaritaville beach bar coming in May at Resorts Casino Hotel, which he also expects to be nonunion.
“We would love to continue operating the Beach Bar; it’s just economics,” Cahill said. “Revel opened their nonunion beach operations late this year, but they will be open all season next summer.
“Margaritaville, also nonunion, will be open Memorial Day weekend,” he said. “The truth is that union wages and severance funds do not allow us to compete against the nonunion beach bars like Revel and Margaritaville.”
Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino service workers union, declined to comment other than to say he expects the Landshark Bar and Grill component of Margaritaville, which will be located on the sand east of the Boardwalk, to be nonunion. That bar and grill will be a leased operation and not part of the casino’s union contract, he said.
Trump officials also are in the midst of trying to sell the Plaza and other properties as part of a cost-cutting measure intended to shore up its flagship Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. Bob Griffin, company chief executive officer, detailed those plans during a May casino industry convention. He had said officials considered recruiting a partner to invest in the property but decided it against it.
With regard to whether other beach bars, such as Margaritaville, will be staffed by union workers, that decision has not been made, said Courtney Birmingham, a spokeswoman for Resorts. The Jimmy Buffet-themed attraction is scheduled to open as part of a $35 million expansion of the casino, and a management deal that will see the Mohegan Indian tribe run the casino-hotel’s day-to-day operations.
Jasmine Smith, a 23-year-old Vineland native who was at Trump’s beach bar on Friday, said she is planning to frequent Margarittaville once it opens.
“It’s going to be big,” she said.
At the same time, beach bars are popular in Atlantic City, particularly the one at Trump, Smith said.
“At night, this is the best — there’s a lot of people,” she said. “I think they could compete.”
The 65 employees who work at The Beach Bar will not be offered new positions elsewhere in the company. Employees at The Beach Bar on Friday said that they had not been informed of its closing. Trump Plaza has operated it for 10 years and it is the largest of the city’s three original beach bars.
“It’s centrally located,” said the Collingdale, Pa. resident, Edith Corbett, 71. “It’s big so you’re not confined. If it’s crowded you don’t feel confined.”
Bally’s and The Atlantic Club also operate beach bars staffed with unionized workers.
Revel serves cocktails on the beach and plans to open HQ Beach Club at Revel next May. Revel Entertainment spokeswoman Maureen Siman declined to comment on Trump’s plan to close its beach bar.
On its last day of operations, the Trump beach bar will let customers take home small pieces of the floor as souvenirs. Beach umbrellas and neon bar signs also will be given away in contests.
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