After a long — oh so long — winter, it’s finally here: Memorial Day Weekend. In addition to honoring those who’ve died in military service, many of us will use this three-day holiday weekend to usher in the unofficial kickoff to summer. And what a kickoff it will be. From pool parties to festivals to the re-opening of our favorite beach bars, there’s something for everyone.
1. Hit the beach.
Beach bars are officially back in business. Head to Bally’s Beach Bar, for a weekend full of fun including DJ Tonka, Big House Band, High Five Swan Dive and DJ Redline on Friday; DJ N9ne, The Rockets, DJ Rashaun, and DJ Patrice McBride on Saturday; DJ Aiden Scott, Steal the Sky, and DJ Chelsea Lee & Guests on Sunday; and DJ Joey Dino, JSoul, and DJ Redline on Monday. While you’re at Bally’s, head to The Deck at Wild Wild West for B.R.A.T. on Friday; The Jump Off Duo on Saturday; and Crash the Party Duo on Sunday; to Boardwalk Saloon & Mountain Bar for Goodman Fiske and DJ Rashaun on Friday; Garden State Radio, DJ Aiden Scott and Dancers on Saturday; and Stellar Mojo and DJ Aiden Scott on Sunday; or to Harry’s Oyster Bar for the Dom Grasso Band on Friday; The Burnsiders and Indelible Groove on Saturday; Jay LaBoy and Tidal Wave on Sunday; and Lefty Lucy on Monday. Over at the Beachside Bar at Caesars, check out Matt Adams Duo on Saturday and Joseph Collepardi on Sunday; or head inside to the 2100 Bar for DJ Adub on Friday; DJ Philly Will on Saturday; and DJ Kevin Kong on Sunday. At Chelsea Beach Bar, celebrate on Monday with a Memorial Day party with the hottest DJs including DJ Drewski, DJ Bacan Bacan, Anthony Rey, DJ Reymo and Ralphie Mercado. At Beach Bar at Hard Rock, tune into DJs on Friday and Saturday. While you’re at Hard Rock, give your dancing shoes a workout at Daer Nightclub with Ikon on Friday; Alesso on Saturday; and Zedd on Sunday. Or head to other Hard Rock venues like Lobby Bar for Evolution X and Kevin Miller’s Smashed on Friday; Se7en Band, The Loop and Kevin Miller’s Smashed on Saturday; Liquid A and Bandstand on Sunday; and Lost in Paris Trio on Monday; to Council Oak Lounge for Five Times Famous Duo on Friday; Jay LaBoy Duo on Saturday; and Nancy Malcun Trio on Sunday; or to Hard Rock Café for Stiffler’s Mom on Friday and Captain Fantastic, an Elton John Tribute, on Saturday. If beach life is what you’re looking for, head to HQ2 Beachclub for Armin Van Buuren on Saturday, Adventure Club on Sunday and Salvatore Ganacci on Monday or HQ2 Nightclub at Ocean Resort for Chris Lake on Friday; Laidback Luke on Saturday; and A-Trak on Sunday. Also at Ocean Resort, head to Villain & Saint for Adam Holcombe Duo followed by My Hero Zero on Friday and Amy Faden Duo followed by Joe Bachman & The Party on Saturday, and Ryan Tennis Duo followed by Red Hots on Sunday; to William Hill Sports Book for DJ entertainment and Almost Angels on Friday and Saturday; to the High Water Wine Bar for Anj Granieri on Friday and Beth Tinnon on Saturday; and to Amada for Friday and Saturday with the Tony Perez Quartet. For a quiet bay beach view, head to the Back Bay Café at The Tuckahoe Inn in Beesley’s Point for Atley Moon on Friday and Chameleon on Saturday. At Joe Pop’s Shore Bar & Restaurant, catch Steal the Sky on Friday, The Benjamins on Saturday, and The Nerds on Sunday, while outside, kick back at Tiki Joe’s with Jason Booth on Friday, Ty Pares on Saturday, and Ted Hammock on Sunday.
2. Drop in on the dance floor.
If you’re looking for a full-on three day dance party, there’s no place better to be than at Premiere at Borgata, where a three day pass is available to get you access to the entire Memorial Day Weekend festivities, which include Tiesto on Friday; Cheat Codes on Saturday; and Lil Jon on Sunday, as well as Fred Matters on Monday. While you’re at Borgata, head to Gypsy Bar for Sidearm and Gypsy Wisdom on Friday; Eleven-Eleven and Kristen & The Noise on Saturday; and Fish Out of Water on Sunday. Over at Golden Nugget, check out the dance floor at Haven Nightclub with DJ DStar on Thursday; Steve Powers on Friday; 4B on Saturday. While you’re at Golden Nugget, be sure to swing by The Deck for The Company and The Deck Band on Friday; Jeremiah Hunter and Seven Stone on Saturday; and The Exceptions, Indelible Groove and Don’t Call Me Francis on Sunday, or inside to Rush Lounge for Ken Shiles & CiBon, followed by Billy Walton Band on Friday; Big Daddy Duo and All Souled Out on Saturday; Indelible Groove and Dane Anthony on Sunday; and Patty Blee and Dane Anthony on Monday. At Boogie Nights at Tropicana, celebrate with your red, white and blue Thursday through Saturday for a three-day Memorial Day celebration and dance party. The dancing doesn’t end there though. Also at Tropicana, head to Kiss Kiss Nightclub for dancing with DJ Ferarri on Thursday; DJ Fah D on Friday; DJ Billy G on Saturday; and DJ Drift on Sunday; to Anthem Lounge for a weekend of specials; or to Missile Bar at Cuba Libre for Latin Connection Family DJ B3bo & NYC’s DJ Gaby Fusion on Friday and Bailamos Sabados with music by Latin Connection on Saturday. While you’re at Tropicana, swing by any of their other property-wide celebrations, like DJ entertainment all weekend at Okatshe; daily karaoke at Planet Rose Karaoke Lounge; to Tango’s for Stealing Savanah on Thursday, DJ on Friday, Marquee and DJ Ahmed Khan on Saturday, Ever After and DJ Ralph on Sunday and live entertainment on Monday; to Firewaters for Line Dancing on Thursday and the Glenn Roberts Band all weekend long; to Ri Ra for The Polish Nannies on Friday, Memory Pain on Saturday and Shaun Durnin on Sunday; to Bar Olon for Adrian Ferrer Band on Friday and the Jimmy Astacio Band on Saturday; to Chelsea Five Pool Bar for a beach bash on Sunday; and to the Boardwalk itself for a Saturday night Boardwalk block party with live entertainment from the Boogie Nights crew, samplings from your marketplace faves, and fireworks. Head to Nardi’s Tavern for Tim Gysin and Gas Station Disco on Friday, Third Watch and Lima Bean Riot on Saturday, The Dave Christopher Band and Mr. Lovejoy on Sunday, and The Sweet Talkers on Monday; to La Costa for Split Decision on Thursday and Sunday; to Kix McNutley’s for The Chatterband on Thursday, Karaoke and Quizzo on Friday, Sensational Soul Cruisers on Saturday and The E Street Shuffle on Sunday; to the Ocean Drive for Gypsy Wisdom on Thursday, Kim & Tonic followed by GoGo Gadjet on Friday, High Five Swan Dive and Gypsy Wisdom on Saturday, Secret Service and Lost in Paris on Sunday and Secret Service and Piano Fight Club with Eric & Pat on Monday.
3. Head to a kick-off. Get to Resorts for their 6th Annual Memorial Day Beach Ball Drop at 5 p.m. Friday. With more than 5,000 beach balls dropping over the boardwalk, live broadcasting from WMMR, strolling entertainers, contest, games and giveaways, this is a kickoff party that should make everyone’s bucket list. While you’re at Resorts, head inside to Bar One for DJ Jason E on Friday, Brian and Mindy followed by DJ Eric and DJ Gary on Saturday and One Hot Mess followed by DJ Nate and DJ Gary on Sunday; to Margaritaville for Devin Lyn & Whiskey Tango Duo on Friday, Little Nikki’s Radio on Saturday, Ken Shiles on Sunday and Rocky Allen on Monday; and to Landshark Bar & Grill right on the beach for DJ Nicky followed by DJ Centuri on Saturday, DJ Sl followed by DJ Centuri on Sunday and Kelly Glover on Monday. For the car-lover, head to St. George’s Pub for the 7th Annual Shore De-Tour Classic Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show on Sunday. In Wildwood, celebrate with their Bacon Lovers Festival, held Saturday through Monday at Byrne Plaza. The festival will include food trucks, wine and beer, music, country line dance lessons, tons of bacon, contests and activities for kids.
4. Take the plunge.
Nothing says summer like a pool party. This weekend, head to The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s for Rave of Thrones with a live DJ set from Kristian Nairn of “Game of Thrones” on Friday; a live performance by Fetty Wap on Saturday; and a Memorial Day pool party with Boris on Sunday followed by music by Alex Sensation and Camilo on Sunday night. While you’re at Harrah’s, swing by Eden Lounge for The Exceptions and DJ 2CoolC on Friday; Stealing Savanah and DJ Rashaun on Saturday; Jeremiah Hunter Band and DJ Kurteousy on Sunday; and LeCompt Dueling Pianos on Monday. Head to Martorano’s on Friday for an evening with Steve Martorano and a performance by the Legendary BlueNotes at 9 p.m. Get to Flip Flopz Bar & Grill on Friday for a DJ and Lima Bean Riot, on Saturday for their season kick-off pool party plus live music from Love Junk and Split Decision, on Sunday for a pool party with DJ entertainment and music from The Rockets and Monday for a DJ-hosted pool party.
5. Tune into some tunes.
For those looking for music, there are options aplenty. Head to Fred & Ethel’s Lantern Light for Matrix on Friday and Either Way on Saturday; to Kelsey’s for the Eddie Morgan Trio on Friday and Tia Shanae on Saturday; to Bourre for LNJ and Joint Operations on Friday, more live music on Saturday, a Drag Brunch and Royal Tea on Sunday, and their first Memorial Day party on Monday; to Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall for music from Chris Yoder on Friday, Glenn Roberts followed by Vince & Derek on Saturday and Ill Rendition on Sunday; to Rainbow Room for the return of Asbury Park on Saturday; to The VUE at The Claridge for Hildy & The Peptones on Friday and a Memorial Day BBQ on Sunday; to Wonder Bar for the Usual Suspects on Saturday; to Laguna Grill & Rum Bar for Grooveheart on Friday, The Whitewalls followed by Big Bleu Band on Saturday and Incognito followed by Dan Burke Band on Sunday; to LB One for Jim Fisher on Friday and Nick Nicholas on Saturday; to A Touch of Italy for Patty Blee on Thursday, Rick and Laura on Friday and Teddi Fusco on Saturday; to McCullough’s for Duck and Cover Band on Saturday; to Egg Harbor Festhaus & Biergarten for a Festhaus Fest with Blondage Rocks on Friday and Not Another Oompah Band on Sunday; to Renault Winery for The Shawn Ashley Experience on Saturday; to White Horse Winery for Nicki Sbaffoni on Saturday and Anj Granieri on Sunday; to Sweetwater Riverdeck for Jicy Band on Friday, Danny Eyer on Saturday, Blitz on Sunday and Smokey Starr on Monday; to Maynard’s for Shaun LaBoy on Thursday, Either Way on Friday, Tidal Wave on Saturday, Mas Tequila on Sunday and Escape Plan on Monday, as well as outside dining available at the Starlight Garden Bar & Kitchen; to DJ entertainment all weekend at Tomato’s; to Brick House Pub for the Brandon Ireland Band on Friday and Dr. Phil & The Heart Attacks on Saturday; to Clancy’s by the Bay for Legacy on Saturday; to Caroline’s for live music all weekend; to The Crab Trap for Just in Time on Friday and Saturday and the opening of their bayside bar, Crabby Jack’s; to Gregory’s for Alexis Cunningham on Friday; to Josie Kelly’s for Brandon Ireland and Dom Marti; to Enlightened Café for Eric G. on Sunday; to Circle Tavern at The Princeton for The Zone on Saturday; to Whitebrier Bar and Restaurant for Keep the Change on Saturday; to The Windrift for Darin MacDonald, DJ Jules, and Mystery Machine on Friday, Jim Bannach, DJ Jules, Crazy in Stereo and Chatterband on Saturday, Juliano Brothers, Jim Doran, DJ Jules and Marquee on Sunday, and Jim Bannach on Monday; to Bobby Dee’s Rock’n Chair for Boatloads on Saturday; to Lefty’s Tavern for Tye Dye Sky on Friday and Ned Ryerson on Saturday; to Lighthouse Tavern for Sneak Attack on Friday and The Kootz on Saturday; to Carney’s for The Loop on Friday, Fish Out of Water on Saturday and Bigg Romeo on Sunday; to Elaine’s for Bill Bittmann on the steel drums on Thursday, Marc Wass on Friday, Paul Gargiulo on Saturday, and Camille Peruto on Sunday; to The Brown Room at Congress Hall for Camille Peruto on Thursday, Darin MacDonald on Saturday and Booke DiCaro and Maddie Hogan on Sunday; to Iron Pier Craft House for Gordon Vincent on Thursday and Ben Arnold on Friday; to Delaney’s Irish Pub for Whiskeyhickon Boys on Friday and Saturday, Flip n Mickey’s on Sunday, and Josh Liberio on Monday; to Fins for Atley Moon on Thursday, BaNaNa Trio on Friday, Subliminal Message on Saturday, DJ Drumatic on Sunday and Leslie DeRose on Monday; to Mad Batter for Dan Barry on Friday, Patty Blee Duo on Saturday, open mic night on Sunday and Gordon Vincent on Monday; to Ugly Mug for emo night with DJ Denny Oh on Thursday, Light Up the Moon on Friday, Prep School on Saturday, Jason Dumm on Sunday and Que Farkas on Monday; to Willow Creek Winery for local musicians at Fire Pit Friday on Friday; to Nauti Spirits for Les DeRose on Friday, Langston & Ternosky on Saturday, and John Nesbitt on Sunday; to Cabanas Beachfront Bar & Grill for Joey DeNoble on Friday and Bill Caterini on Saturday; to Country Club Tavern for Wesley Ochs on Saturday; to Buckalew’s for Dennis Linde and Gas Pedal on Friday, and Dennis Linde and Ridgemont High on Saturday; to The Old Causeway for The Rock Lobsters on Friday, Sneak Attack on Saturday, and The Impulsives on Sunday; to Yesterday’s for The Indelible Groove on Friday, Allison Landon and Atley Moon & The Say Somethings on Saturday, and Space Camp on Sunday; to Old Oar House for Danielle and Jennifer on Saturday; to Bojo’s Ale House for Radio Neon on Friday; to Keenan’s Irish Pub for Jamison on Sunday and The Soul Cruisers on Monday; to Dead Dog Saloon for Shaun Durnin on Thursday, Joe O’Brien on Friday, Shaun Durnin followed by Nicki Sbaffoni on Saturday, Rich Baker on Sunday and Frankie Cervantes on Monday; to Springfield Inn for DJ Philly Will, Third Period French and DJ Patrice McBride on Friday, Rad & Kell, The Juliano Brothers, The Way Outs and DJ Redline on Saturday, Barclay MO, The Way Outs, LeCompt and DJ Brother Mike on Sunday, and LeCompt Trio on Monday; to Sax at The Reeds at Shelter Haven for Marnie & Nate on Thursday, C. Lynn Smith on Saturday, live music on Sunday and C. Lynn Smith on Monday; to Bucket’s Margarita Bar & Cantina for Sean Loosh on Friday, Mark Wass on Saturday and Allison Landon on Saturday; to The Watering Hull for The Seabilly’s on Saturday and Tom Mackell on Sunday; to Fred’s Tavern for Keep the Change Duo on Friday, 1 Fish 2 Fish on Saturday and Bryen O’Boyle from Mr. Greengenes on Sunday; to Tuckerton Beach Grille for 8 Track Attack on Friday, Joey D’s Doo Wop Group on Saturday and Jimmy Brogan Band on Sunday; to Dogtooth Bar & Grill for Five Times Famous on Saturday; to Mud Hen Brewing Co. for Ryan Tennis on Friday, Lanai Sessions on Saturday and Five Times Famous on Monday; to Deauville Inn for Dean Dunlevy on Friday, Lou London and Dirty Dozen Dance Band on Saturday and Jim Maher on Sunday; to Levari’s Seafood & American Grill for The Locals on Saturday; or to Shamrock Beef & Ale for The Locals Band on Thursday.
6. Catch a show.
If a full-scale show is more your speed, not to worry. Memorial Day is packed full of them, from Jeff Ross and Dave Attell on Saturday, Kevin James on Sunday, and Lunch and Learn with Wolfgang Puck’s Executive Chef Aram Mardigian on Saturday at Borgata; The Australian Bee Gee’s on Saturday at Trop; Classic Albums Live Presents: Fleetwood Mac-Rumours on Friday, Collective Soul with Gin Blossoms and Freestyle Free for All on Saturday at Hard Rock; and Tony Orlando on Sunday at Resorts. For something more casual but just as fun, head to Hawk Haven for their 10th Anniversary Rock the Vines concert on Sunday with performances by Greg Jones, BlueBone, John Beacher and Matt Kresge, and Gordon Vincent. Or get there for Saturdays on the Crushpad with live music. And for something magical, head to Harbor Square Theatre for a Psychic Show with local medium Bob Bitting on Sunday.