Where To Eat & Drink In Atlantic City When You’re Not Trying To Party Party

You’re headed down the shore but don’t want to lose a sandal at a club. Go to these spots instead.
Where To Eat & Drink In Atlantic City When You’re Not Trying To Party Party image

photo credit: Emily Schindler

If you live in the tristate area, youll probably end up in Atlantic City for a friend’s bachelor party or birthday weekend at some point in your life, and fist-pumping to a DJ Pauly D show will likely be required. But Atlantic City has more to offer than just barefoot bros doing body shots, like eating lamb shank next to a fake Eiffel Tower or enjoying a margarita (or three) while a bond covers soft rock hits in the background. And if you play your cards right, you can actually have a chill and relaxing weekend. Here's a proposed itinerary for having a fun time in AC without getting too wild.


photo credit: Emily Schindler


$$$$Perfect For:Cheap EatsCasual Weeknight Dinner
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

There’s nothing worse than feeling accomplished for beating Friday traffic only to arrive at your hotel a few hours before you can get into your room. Instead of moping around the hotel lobby or roaming the boardwalk, spend your pre-check-in purgatory over at Pancho’s for some beer and snacks. Take a seat at the tiled bar, where you can watch the homemade tortillas puff up on the plancha while waiting for tacos full of tender suadero. If you’re still counting the minutes until you can get into your hotel, pop over to the nearby Tanger Outlets for a last-minute Hawaiian shirt or visor. 


Before hordes of partiers pounding vodka Red Bulls take over the bars of Atlantic City, enjoy a cocktail and the view from the 23rd floor of The Claridge at VÜE. Sip on a Garden State Spritz made with blueberry liqueur and catch the sunset during a pre-dinner round of drinks or count the lit-up spokes of the ferris wheel over at Steel Pier when it gets dark. If the weather's nice, you can even hang out on the outdoor deck for a breath of fresh air and ocean breeze. There will likely be a good number of people here on the weekend, but it won’t be as rowdy as some of the other bars at ground level.


Even if you’re not raging until the sun comes up, you should still eat a real meal before your night out. Head to Setaara, an Afghan-French BYOB spot with loud, colorful decor that matches AC’s energy without being too chaotic or overstimulating. After you walk through the grand double doors, you’ll scooch past the galley kitchen and enter the backyard oasis where a miniature Eiffel Tower glitters and birds serenade diners. Bring a few bottles of wine and start with an order of warm bolani for the table, which comes with a bright and spicy chutney. While the menu is full of winners, the lamb shank and rice will give you enough energy to power through staying up late, especially if your normal routine involves going to bed at 9pm.


Nola’s is a solid compromise if your friend group is split between people wanting to nurse a beer and folks looking to dance for a bit. On the ground floor of Ocean Casino Resort, this bar and lounge has plush chairs and booths where you can relax with a spicy cucumber margarita without dealing with the fray on the dance floor, but there are also live music acts and DJ sets for those that would like to shake their limbs to a dubstep remix of “Shout.” The vibe on the dance floor depends on who’s playing, so check their website to see if you’re in for a night of rock cover bands, bumping bass, or a cabaret showcase.  


Tony’s doesn’t make the best food in Atlantic City, but their kitchen is open until 3am and has a bar that never closes, so it’s a reliable stop when you need some late-night pizza to replenish your spirit before you crash for the night. This spot is the epitome of old-school—they’ve been making pizza and spaghetti since 1927, and it’s one of the only places in town where you can get a beer for less than $5. Get a pie with sausage and cherry peppers to help soak up whatever you’ve been drinking all night. You just might find yourself making friends with members of a bachelor party, or fans of The Killers fresh out of a show. 


photo credit: David A. Lee

$$$$Perfect For:Brunch

Whether your evening ended with late-night discussions of how the TikTok algorithm knows you better than your significant other or a sensible 11pm nightcap and face mask, you’ll want to make your way to Kelsey’s for the soul food brunch buffet in the morning. Tap into the party spirit once more and vibe to ‘90s R&B or whatever the DJ is spinning with a mimosa in hand. While some people will be dancing at their tables or in the aisles, you’ll see others feasting on shrimp and grits with the gusto of a kid let loose in a candy shop—we support both journeys. Grab some chicken and waffles and prepare yourself for whatever else Atlantic City throws your way, whether you plan to drive home or stay another night to catch an Earth, Wind & Fire concert. 


Eventually (or “thankfully,” at this point), your Atlantic City weekend will come to a close. Before you hop on the road, prepare for the journey home with food from White House Subs. The $20 special is so large and precious that you’ll find yourself cradling it like a three-month-old baby, and it’s loaded up with lots of thick-cut salami, provolone, ham, capicola, and hot peppers. You might have to wait in line, but it’s worth it for a sandwich that’ll be your lunch on the way out of town, your dinner on the road, and maybe even a salty dessert for when you get home.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

The Best Restaurants In Atlantic City  image

The Best Restaurants In Atlantic City

You’re probably not here for the food, but you might as well have a great meal while you’re in town.

The Best Restaurants In Asbury Park image

There’s no better, cliche, or more appropriate way to introduce this guide than how Bruce Springsteen might have in 1973: Greetings from Asbury Park.

The Best Restaurants In Hoboken image

This tiny city in Jersey has more than just fratty bars and expensive condos.

The Best Restaurants In Jersey City image

Whether or not you live in Jersey City, you should eat at the 21 places on this guide.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store