Cape May during the winter is a very different place than Cape May in high season. Instead of bustling crowds carousing through Washington Street Mall during summer evenings, there’s a distinct quiet that overtakes the area, with seasonal businesses closed and significantly smaller crowds. And that’s good news for us locals, who get the town, and the fun, practically to ourselves. Here, five Cape May bars to get to in the offseason.
1. The Mad Batter.
At “The Batter,” as it’s affectionately known to locals, there is live music seven days a week, all year round. After being closed for a few weeks for renovations, The Batter is back with both live music and fantastic cocktails. Head there this week for Mike Flanigan on Thursday, The Squares on Friday and Wednesday, Jimm Ross Trio on Saturday and Monday, Open Mic Night on Sunday, and The Honey Hawks on Tuesday. Located at 19 Jackson St. Go to MadBatter.com for more information.
2. Fins Bar & Grille.
As one of the newer Cape May establishments, Fins manages to appeal to customers who love food, music and eye-catching décor. (Their spectacular blue bar is reason enough to head in). Open year round, Fins has live music on weekends — check out The Matt Adams Duo on Friday and The Wet Bandits on Saturday — as well as a locals’ appreciation night every Thursday, complete with bar specials. On Sundays during the offseason, they host a Sunday Social, with a portion of funds donated to a different non-profit each week. Located at 142 Decatur St. Head to FinsCapeMay.com for more information.
3. 5 West Pub.
Located in North Cape May, 5 West Pub takes you away from the hype of Cape May proper and directly to the quiet of North Cape May and loads of good food; they have a Buffalo Chicken Noodle Soup, need we say more? Stop in there to catch a game over an ice-cold beer. Get there on Friday s for half-price wine by the bottle and $6 sliders, mussels and frites between 3 and 6 p.m. Located at 3729 Bayshore Road. Go to 5WestPub.com for more.
4. The Ugly Mug.
The Ugly Mug is the quintessential Washington Street Mall must-stop locale. Steeped in tradition — just take a look at the ceiling of mugs belonging to members of the Ugly Mug Club — The Ugly Mug boasts a great menu and loads of live music. And for people watching? The location can’t be beat. Located at 426 Washington St. in Cape May. Go to UglyMug.Bar for more.
While it may not be open nightly, Carney’s is still open when it counts in the offseason — the weekends. Look for South Jersey’s top bands and DJs weekly. And they always offer a little taste of summer no matter what the thermometer states with their signature “crushes.” Our pick? The Creamsicle Crush. Located at 411 Beach Ave.; go to CarneysNJ.com.