Often times I walk into a bar and say to myself, “this place could really use some updating.” Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City is not one of those places.
Sure, it’s a bit well-worn, but in the best way possible. It’s the bar equivalent to that perfectly broken-in baseball glove that you dad gave you when you were a kid. Everything about this Atlantic City institution is gloriously yellowed with age. The sign outside sets the tone perfectly, with its red lettering — the kind that would be right at home on the marquee of a Rat Pack-era Vegas showroom. Inside, the wood-paneled walls and red and white floor tiles unapologetically declare themselves not of this millennium. But these period pieces are the key to the incredible atmosphere in this pub. Plenty of places try their hardest to capture a “retro” vibe via antiques, crooked beer signs and other silliness, but it always ends up looking manufactured. You can’t recreate the wrinkles of age; those can only come from sitting in the same spot for the last 90 years.
It’s a bit of a misconception that simply because the days are getting colder, activities mo…
I settled in on a comfy bar stool and ordered up a pint of Sam Adams Oktoberfest and followed it up with a well-made Captain and Coke, all the while listening to the sounds of Joe Walsh, AC/DC and other old school rock acts piping from the Music Choice channel on the TV. They have a jukebox on the wall too, but sadly, it is one of the only non-retro things in the place. It’s a mistake, frankly.
One can’t help but imagine the stories that must live in these walls and the secrets they have overheard. It’s the kind of place one could spend hours in with a buddy or two, talking your way through round after round, only to be stunned as you eventually stumble out the door and back into reality.
In other words, you probably won’t want to leave. And there are some very strong reasons to stay.
The biggest one is the pizza. Yes, truth be told, I came here as much for the food as for the drinks. In case you somehow haven’t heard, Tony’s Baltimore Grill is famous for its pizza, and the fame is 100 percent warranted. Thin crust bar pies with an absolute perfect ratio of cheese to sauce to crust, one would be hard pressed to find a better bar pie anywhere in the world.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” – Buddy the Elf
The staff is friendly and a bit rough around the edges, both of which seem to make perfect sense here and in Atlantic City in general. They are a purely unpretentious bunch, working hard to make sure you have a good time with a full beer and some great pizza.
I suggest you head down and experience all three.