FRIDAY, REVEL takes a big step forward toward turning around its fortunes as its Pearl Lounge high-end slots area officially opens.
Such a space—a staple in casinos from Atlantic City to Arizona—was missing in April 2012 when the $2.4 billion pleasure dome at the Boardwalk's eastern end opened for business. Not having an ultra-luxe compound where gamblers can court lady luck on slot and video gaming machines with minimum wagers of $5 and more ($100 is Pearl Lounge's highest level) was part of Revel's initial operating strategy of being an upscale resort that happened to have a casino, as opposed to being a casino that had pricey amenities.
As has been well-documented, that concept proved to be as successful as Ralph Kramden's plan to sell "Handy Housewife Helpers" via a TV commercial on a classic episode of "The Honeymooners."
So now, under interim CEO Jeffrey Hartmann, Revel is taking a mulligan and doing things in a more traditional manner. That means in addition to Pearl Lounge and its 71 machines (and the adjacent posh, private retreat for high-rollers), the gaming hall, over the next two weeks will unveil a portion of the casino floor where customers can smoke while gambling, a noodle bar operated by Philly-based superstar stove jockey Jose Garces and Relish, a reasonably priced 24-hour restaurant (remember when casinos called them "coffee shops?") that replaces O Bistro and Wine Bar and The Breakfast Room ( where you had to take out a second mortgage for a cup of coffee and a bagel).
Ever wonder what it's like to cruise the highways and byways in a Lamborghini, Maserati or Ferrari? Wednesday and Thursday, Harry's Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant at Bally's Atlantic City is offering the public a "Once In A Lifetime" chance to do just that at the inaugural Exotic Car Festival.
During the event's two-day run in the Dennis Hotel Courtyard, qualified drivers who pony up $500 can get two hours behind the wheel in any—or all-of the following: Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Audi R8 Spider, Maserati Gran Turismo and Ferrari California Convertible. Each is in the "If you have to ask how much, you can't afford it" class of rides.
"We wanted to present Atlantic City and its visitors with a unique car festival devoted to the fast and the lavish," said Kim Brownell, general manager of Harry's. "Most people would consider themselves quite lucky just to have the opportunity to drive one exotic, let alone four of the most high-end and elite sports cars in existence; that's what makes this truly a 'Chance of a Lifetime.'"
The eatery will offer a special, themed menu during the festival featuring such dishes as Fuel-Injected Fried Shrimp and Finish Line Fettuccini. There will also be live music and vendors.
More magic at Comedy Stop
Thursday, the Comedy Stop at the Tropicana Atlantic City debuts its new family-oriented magic show.
Joe Holiday takes over the "family hour" shift which, for the past five years, was covered by Paul Kozak, who has fled Absecon Island for Kona, Hawaii's "Big Island."
Show time is 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Admission is $20 (adults) and $10 (kids 10 and under). For 5:30 p.m. dinner, add $10 per ticket. For tickets and info, call 877-386-6922, or go to www.thecomedystop.com.
Trios hit AyCee
Thanks to a coincidence of scheduling, two long-established classic-rock trios, each of which have been intact for decades, perform Saturday within a few blocks of each other.
At Trump Taj Mahal, Canadian prog-rockers Rush (established 1974) will make with its tricky time signatures and bombastic instrumental work, while Revel hosts 44-year-old Texas-bred blues-'n'-boogie masters ZZ Top.
Trump Taj Mahal, Boardwalk at Virginia Avenue, 8 p.m. Saturday, $171, $86 and $75, 800-736-1420, www.ticketmaster.com.