Happy hours are a dime a dozen. But the happy hour at The Palm Bar inside The Quarter at the Tropicana Casino and Resort is by far the most buzzed-about in the city.

And it rightfully should be. From 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, The Palm is offering a "Bar Bites" menu that almost seems too good to be true at such an upscale restaurant.

The "Bar Bites," priced at $3.50 include: three kobe beef sliders with bacon, lettuce, tomato and pesto aioli; three filet mignon Capri sandwiches with imported buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil with balsamic aioli; two "Ultimate" panko- and parmesan-battered chicken strips with sweet and sour chili sauce; three mini broiled crab cakes with mango salsa and chipotle tartar sauce; three veal parmigiana sliders; a large portion of The Palm's famous "Point Judith" fried calamari tossed with lemon and cherry peppers and served with marinara sauce; and three prime cheesesteak sliders.

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"Since we started this, the reception has been overwhelming," said General Manager Paul Sandler. "It has been huge for locals. They have truly embraced it. People are waiting at the door to get in at 5 p.m. We are trying to create the identity of the bar. We want people to think of this as The Palm bar, not the bar at The Palm. So we've incorporated more music, a more lively atmosphere and an overall more upbeat feeling to attract younger clientele. And, of course, the food speaks for itself."

On any given night, the bar is full of other industry personnel.

"Even our own staff comes here on their nights off," Sandler says. "That shows you how good it is. I know that when I go out to eat, I want to eat at places that I see other people from the industry at. You know it's good."

The promotion, which also includes oysters on the half shell with shallot mignonette, cocktail sauce and wasabi for $1 each, and jumbo shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce, lemon and horseradish for $2 each, has been extended indefinitely.

One of the most interesting aspects of the "Bar Bites" is that most of the ingredients are from the regular menu in smaller portions, including the filet mignon, calamari, veal parmigiana and crab cakes.

"We are bringing in a lot of people who may have not been aware of The Palm," Sandler says. "The people coming in are staying for dinner and becoming regulars because they see what we're all about."

To make matters more enticing, The Palm is offering half-price bottles of wine on Mondays in the entire restaurant throughout January. Bottles can range from as little as $13.25 for a Beringer white zinfandel to $1,600 for its most expensive bottle, the regularly-priced $3,200 1982 Chateau Margaux.

"It's no gimmick," Sandler said. "It's every bottle of wine. There are no restrictions. There is no special wine list. It's everything on the wine list. The sky's the limit. You can literally come in and have a bottle of wine and some bar bites for under $20."

Call 609-244-7256.

‘Jersey Shore' cast coming to Taj Mahal

It was only a matter of time. Cast members from one of the hottest and controversial shows, MTV's "Jersey Shore," will make appearances at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort's Casbah nightclub on Saturday, Jan. 16.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and DJ Pauly D will be in the house, and fans - and/or protesters of the show - will certainly be in abundance.

"Jersey Shore" debuted on MTV in December and was an immediate ratings success, partly because of the attention it received from Italian-American groups that said the show was exploitive and was stereotypical of the culture.

The show features eight Italian-American twentysomethings who shared a summer house in Seaside Heights. A typical episode features the housemates fighting, hooking up, sharing a hot tub and partying excessively.

Sorrentino, 27, of Staten Island, N.Y., and Pauly D, 28, of Johnston, R.I., will host the party that will also include "Best Abs" and "Hot Body" contests for cash and prizes.

Doors open at 10:30 p.m. The cover is $20.

Celebrity sightings

As expected, New Year's weekend was packed with celebrity appearances that ranged from A-list to D-list.

On the top of the A list was Mariah Carey. One of the most popular and successful performers of all time headlined a sold-out show at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on Saturday, then showed up at an afterparty in mur.mur, which was hosted by her husband Nick Cannon, who was guest DJ for the night. While she was there, Cannon played her hits "Heartbreaker" and "Fantasy." Carey posed for her fans and was sipping champagne throughout the night, something she began to do on stage earlier. It was the first time Carey performed a show and Cannon served as DJ at an afterparty in the same venue. Carey's songwriting partner Jermaine Dupri hosted a party in mixx on the same night.

Also at Borgata, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop and former MVP Jimmy Rollins dined at Wolfgang Puck American Grill and checked out Carey's show in the Event Center.

The Pool at Harrah's Resort was hopping with some interesting bookings, the most impressive being the appearance of Adrian Grenier and his band The Honey Brothers on Saturday night. The star of HBO's hit series "Entourage" performed with his band and then hung out in a VIP cabana in The Loft, which debuted on New Year's Eve.

Jam band O.A.R. also showed up at The Pool for an after-concert drink following their show at the House of Blues on New Year's Eve. They also hung out in a cabana and posed for pictures with fans.

Philadelphia-based rap mogul Beanie Sigel also parted at The Pool for new Year's Eve. He was invited to address the crowd, but he did more than that, performing three songs to tracks.

On New Year's Day, Holly Huddleston, one of the Olly Girls on the E! reality series "Sunset Tan" hosted a party at The Loft.

The Pool also brought in Mini KISS and Mini Michael Jackson for some interesting performances.

Finally, Leighton Meester of "Gossip Girl" fame hosted the New Year's Eve bash at Dusk at Caesars Atlantic City. She counted down to 2010 and rang in the New Year with a performance.

Big jackpot at Borgata

The first big jackpot of 2010 came on New Year's Day afternoon at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The winner chose to remain anonymous, but he walked away with $1,083,382 on a Wheel of Fortune machine near the Gypsy Bar.

The man came to see Tracy Morgan and party at mixx on New Year's Eve and hit the jackpot with $39 left on a $100 investment.

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