Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Egg Harbor Township After Hour Joints

Egg Harbor Township (EHT) After Hour Joints

For many years Egg Harbor Township allowed those liquor licenses within their jurisdiction to remain open 24-hours a day, and some of them did, especially those near Somers Point, where the bars were forced to stop serving at 2am and close by 3am.

Brownies Lodge, a rustic log cabin in Bargaintown was probably the first to become popular with the post-Somers Point crowd, and many old timers recall driving out there to continue the party after Somers Point had closed.

John McCann, Sr. and Dick McLain, the owners of Bay Shores built the most notorious of the after hour clubs – The Dunes, on Longport Blvd. at the intersection of where the roads from Somers Point and Ocean City came together.

Then there was Jack’s Grove, down past Route 9 on Mays Landing Road, just on the other side of the Patcong Creek. Jack’s was a laid back place under a grove of trees, but was renamed the Attic when a guy named Joe bought it and broke it up into two bars – one upfront with two pool tables, and another larger room in the back where bands played.

Joe sold the place to a group of guys who cleaned up the place and renamed it the Boatyard, and continued the live music tradition.

O’Byrne’s was a local taproom just on the other side of the bay bridge at Lousy Harbor on the Longport Blvd, that became the Mug and the Purple Dragon before Andrew Cornaglia bought it and renamed it Mothers, after the bar in the TV show Peter Gunn.

All of these places were either closed during the day or virtually deserted until around midnight when things would start picking up and they would get more crowded as the Somers Point bars let out. By 3 in the morning they were jamming, most of the them with live bands that didn’t even begin to play until midnight and continued to early in the morning. Dunes ‘Til Dawn was the slogan on the T-shirts.

The bands that played these places were special too. The Dunes had the best bands early on mainly because of their affiliation with Bay Shores, so many of the bands from there would go over to the Dunes when they got finished at Bay Shores and continue playing or jam with the band that had the gig.

Airport was the house band at Mothers for a few years, while Bob Campanell and the Shakes also played there a lot. Bob’s brother Gabbo had a band The Flys, whose equipment was destroyed when Mothers burnt down a year or so after Andrew sold the place to Charlie Brown.

Mike’s Towing was the band at the Attic for many years, and Mike and his pals would move to the Pocono mountain resorts for the winter after the summer ended at the Shore.

A lot of bands played Brownies over the years, including Jack Zwacki, Larry Hickman and Back Roads, which included Nancy and Tom, Jack Patch and Billy Mueller.

Today, none of these places even exist. Brownies is still there but after Joe Hoffman died his second wife sold it to some guys who operated it as a bust out joint for a year or two and then went bankrupt, and it now sits empty.

After Mothers burnt down its liquor licenses was sold and moved to the Cardiff Circle.

The Dunes was renovated into a sports bar by the Suttor family from Margate, who also owned, at one time – the Sailfish CafĂ© and Roberts in Margate, the Point Pub and the Owl Tree in Northfield.

Then they lost it and the Dunes was taken over by the State of New Jersey Division of Fish Game and Wildlife – and went from one wildlife to another.


Anonymous said...

I was a bartender at Tony Mart's (1965-1971). I remember Tony the manager, Older Frank the school teacher from Philly who was there for years. Crazy Bobby Quinn the school teacher in Vineland who drove his car off the old bridge twix Mart's and the Dunes. We didn't find him for 2 days.
After work, we would go to the Dunes and tip back the bartenders who had come to Mart's and always laid heavy tips on us. So, the net profit for the night was always zero --HA HA.
This was the best of all times!!!!
Bob Reck

artmaven said...

Jebus! How did I find this article? I was looking for something else entirely. For years, I had been searching for just this info w/no luck and now I stumble on it outta nowhere!
Toward the end of the 70s, we hung at Meral's in Margate b/c Mike's Towing Band was there and we liked 'em. We'd hit Dunes, but mostly Mothers, after hours. We dug the Shakes. But that was long after the glory days. When Mothers burnt, that was a day! Tragic. We felt lost. What were we supposed to do w/o Mothers? Like a death in the family for us young'uns.

The Towing guys, Mike, Joe and Eddie told us about the Attic days. Crazy stories about all out hedonism with a bar and a bar band. They were prolly exaggerating ... or maybe not ... but the highlight was the story about everyone getting nekkid, band included, playing and dancing on the bar. I don't think it was the Towing guys playing that night but I never did get it straight who the band was. Maybe it was them and they just weren't saying. The Towing guys were somewhere in their late 20s to mid-30s and we were in our late teens when we heard these stories. Maybe they were just trying to turn our heads? Hmm.

We were born too late. By the time we hit the bars, everything was becoming civilized and casino-fied. The music was starting to fall off and everything was turning into a disco. Sad. I'm fascinated by what we missed. In our world, the Attic was legendary.

I miss Mike's Towing Band. They were great guys, crazy, but great. I read on the internets that Joe married Melody, moved to Florida, had 2 kids and was a successful painter down there. Up & down the coast, too. The Towing boys' house in Sommersville was full of Joe's paintings back in the day. Had a bit to do w/me going off to art school, myself. I would liked to have told Joe about that and always thought I'd get the chance one day. Guess not now. I was crushed when I read he'd passed. He had a good soul. Hope Melody is ok. Always thought highly of her. Lovely lady. Ahh, thems were the days. Good music, good people, good times. I saw somewhere that Mike is still playing. Hope I catch him one day.

I like your blog quite a bit and will be back to catch up on all your posts. Thanks for posting the history about the after hours joints. I learned some stuff I didn't know. Filled in a few holes in the stories I'd heard. I'm always up for any stories about those times, the bars and especially the bands, so if anyone wants to share ...

Bill Kelly said...

Hey Artmaven, good to hear from you. Email me at

Ranse Whitworth said...

I played in a 4pc group called The Loved Ones the summer of 69 at The Dunes along with Ray Sharp & The Soul Set. 7 nites a wk - 12 midnite til 7am - 45min on & 45min off plus matinees at Bayshores on Sat & Sun.
Some of the best times I can remember for a bunch of guys from Tennessee.

Paul J Sweeney said...

Quinn, wasnt he the guy they found in the marshes?? Those WERE the days!! I was a local, year round guy; tall and lanky, always wore crazy, funky hats...'63 on...!!!

Bettie Fletcher said...

I used to hit the Attic in Somers Point all the time and loved Mike's Towing Band! Who was the singing waitress, does anyone remember? She always sang Joni Mitchell - Circle Game......

John Lloyd said...

Slept in the car outside Mother's on more than one occasion. We would book from last call at Maloney's in Margate to Somers Point. Never worrying about nuthin'...'cept where our next beer was coming from...smh. Take me back...

Bunny Brown said...

I can't believe I found this article! I was the singing waitress, and I sang with Mike's Towing Band, and occasionally with Lou London! I knew all the gang well, and was part of the group that opened "The Attic"! My favorite song to sing? Joan Baez, "Diamonds and Rust"! My name is Bunny Brown Hewko, and I'm FB as Bunny Brown! I'm so flattered you remember me! Such an honor! BTW, art maven, the guys were not exaggerating at all! Those were the wildest days of our lives!!

CountryFresh said...

I don't know if my link will get posted, but if it doesn't you can find my Internet radio station by going to live365 dot com and searching for "Jersey Jukebox."

Jeff Guenther said...

Wow, great article! I played Bayshores, Mothers and Tony Marts back in the late 70's early 80's. Great memories!

Mario H. Roa said...

I partied and worked in OC in'68 and '69. Our place was at 423 Asbury Ave Ocean City
and was tagged by the police as "Party Row".We made the rounds to Tony Mart's, Bay Shore, Gregory's and finally The Dunes. I think the house band was Johnny Casswell and the Chrystal Mansion. My interest was piqued when I recently saw a guy wearing a retro Dunes t-shirt at a Wawa store in Horsham,Pa. Craig aka Smitty

Unknown said...

Johnny Caswell and the Secrets became the Chrystal Mansion. They played at Bayshores and the Dunes til Dawn. Best shore band - ever. Best drummer - ever! In-Sex played at Bayshores. They'd set off smoke bombs while U were dancing. They'd get up on the bar and kick every body's drunk off of it, so you had to buy another. JB and the Bonnevilles was another great band. Years later, we heard all the girls migrated to the Bongo Room in the Avalon Hotel. We went once, and never returned to Somers Point. Only good place left is Gregory's in Somers Point. They used to sell 7 beers for a dollar (pony glasses). I'm still dancing, but they ruined it with DJ's, and everything is Yuppified!

Mr. Miami said...

My nickname: Mr. Miami
Miss Bayshores, Tony Mart's, The Dunes til Dawn, the OD
the Pentagon, the original Whitebrier, the original Rock N Chair,
the original Shelter Haven, Jack's Place,
Hahn's, the Fairview in Wildwood, the Elbow
Room, the Gables, Moylan's, Maloney's
in Margate, the White House in Longport, et
SoCal is mostly DJ's. The live bands are not very good
I miss the SOUTH Jersey Shore. Girls from
Philly are literally the best dancers in the world
and I've danced all over. Still at it!!!!

Joe said...

I'm another one who feels lucky to have found this blog. My friends and I used to have some great times at Somers Point in the late '60s/early '70s. God, those were the days. I'm from Lancaster PA and graduated from H.S. in 1970. We'd stay at the Anchor Inn in OC and each night make the trip over the little bridge to Somers Point. Last year my wife and I took a bike ride from Stone Harbor to Ocean City and rode across the new bridge to the Point. We rode to the Anchorage and stopped there so I could relive the glory days by telling my wife some of the stories.

David Miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phillypat said...

I first met my husband at Tony Marts. I always wanted it confirmed that I heard the group "Soul Survivors" at the Mug one New Year's Eve (late 60's). They sang "The Expressway to Your Heart".