Party turkey

We’re still scratching our heads as to why Thanksgiving Eve is such a big party night. Perhaps it’s because most have off of work the next day. Maybe it’s to relieve some of the stress of Thanksgiving meal planning. It could be because crazy Aunt Jeanine is back in town for the holiday and seeing how many cosmos she can sling back has become an annual family pastime. Whatever the reason, Thanksgiving Eve in South Jersey lives up to its reputation. Here are four ways to spend this epic party night.

1. At a casino. As always, Atlantic City is your one-stop shop for parties that span from the beaches to the bay. Wild Wild West in Bally’s kicks things off at 8 p.m. with live music by Evolution X, The Benderz and DJ Aiden Scott. Head down the shoreline for a party at Tropicana’s Boogie Nights. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the event features $5 cocktail specials, half-priced select liquor bottles and, of course, the throwback music Boogie Nights is known for. Meanwhile, across the bay at Borgata, Lil Jon returns to Premier for a hyped up set, while Golden Nugget will feature locals 4B, Chris Devine, Stevie G and NVA for its “A Very JERSEY Thanksgiving Eve.” The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s will hold perhaps the most star-studded event of the night, with a party featuring Ja Rule and Ashanti. Doors open at 9 p.m.

2. Prepping the stomach. Professional eaters will tell you the best way to prepare for consuming mass amounts of foods is to stretch out the stomach with more food. Fortunately, many area restaurants and clubs are offering Thanksgiving Eve food specials to go along with their nightly revelries. Harry’s Oyster Bar in Bally’s will have $1 oysters available and an extended happy hour that runs until closing. Crossroads Bar & Grill in Egg Harbor City will have its own food and drink specials from 2 to 6 p.m., plus music by Tony & Mel. Galloway’s Pitney Pub features a night of food specials with entertainment by Seven Stone and Legacy. Head to Gregory’s in Somers Point for $7 burgers and fries all night long and music by Teague Alexy at 9 p.m.

3. With music we’re thankful for. Local bands will be busy this Wednesday, as bars throughout South Jersey will offer entertainment to liven up their Thanksgiving Eve bashes. Catch the Usual Suspects 9 p.m. at Wonder Bar in Atlantic City; Charlie Matson at 5 p.m. and Smile Mafia at 9 p.m. at Lefty’s Tavern’s annual party; and Eleven Eleven and Secret Sauce 8 p.m. at Savoy Inn in Vineland, where half-priced house drinks and select beers will also be available. “Old school classic rock” will have “the songs you remember” beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Station, while Tuckerton Beach Grille will showcase “literally the best in local music,” 7 p.m. with Jimmy Brogan’s TBG Open Mic Night. For something mellow, check out Kix McNutley’s for live acoustic music all night, or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, head to Cape May’s Fins Bar & Grill at 9 p.m. for music spun by DJ Drumatic.

4. Drinking up. With all that stuffing and mashed potatoes coming your way on Thanksgiving, it’s practically the perfect day to be hungover. So drink up at local joints offering specials to celebrate Thanksgiving Eve. For a party that won’t keep you out all night, head to VUE in Atlantic City’s The Claridge, 4 to 7 p.m. for music by DJ Trix and drink specials all night. Also in A.C., Vagabond is inviting folks to “get basted before the turkey does,” while Avalon Brew Pub will offer drink specials and snacks of its own. Cellar 32 in Brigantine will have a guest DJ and $3 Miller Lite bottles, $4 Fireball shots and $5 Kentucky Bourbon Stout Draft; Nardi’s Tavern will feature drinks and a performance by The Quattro at 10 p.m.; Calloway’s Bar and Restaurant in Manahawkin has Ted Hammock and Jason Booth on the mic with no cover charge, half-priced apps and drink specials at 9 p.m.; and Paragon Bar & Grill will celebrate the biggest party night of the year with discounted drinks and giveaways starting at 10 p.m.

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