The Acme Bar in Beach Haven.
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The Acme was one of the hottest bars on LBI during the 1970’s.
The Ketch was once the Acme Hotel, Bar and Restaurant. During it’s heyday it was a favorite of celebrities such as Babe Ruth. It was also allegedly a speakeasy during prohibition. When the revenuers were on their way, the stash of not so legal booze could be dropped into the bay.
In the 1970’s it had simply become a Bar. There was a regular crowd who frequented the place. When we had extra money we might try the Tide, Bayview or even the Seashell and Engleside.
There were bouncers at the door who loosely enforced the age requirements. Some people referred to some of the bars as “over the counter service”. In other words, if you could see over the counter, you got served. The bar was noisy and smokey. Non smoking had not yet come into being. There was a large bar in the older part of the building. During the 1970’s the building deteriorated to the point where if it was raining outside, it was raining inside. The bartender would sometimes be wearing a raincoat. There were rows of mugs hanging from the ceiling. If you were a regular, you could buy your personal mug which was somewhat of a status symbol.
There were some early arcade machines. One was Asteroids, that was a simple joystick game where you shot at incoming asteroids. The other was Pac-Man. Actually, I think both were imitations of the real Asteroids and Pac Man.
It wasn’t a notoriously rough bar and didn’t have the reputation of The Gateway. However, there were enough human-window collisions that they put 1 x 3’s on the inside of the windows.
The Acme would have special nights as if the ridiculously low cost of beer there wasn’t low enough. One night would be Tuborgs for 25 cents. Another would be ladies night where ladies got a beer for 10 cents or so. One of the lifeguards would dress up in drag and get 10 cent beers all night. The bathrooms would not be up to code anywhere in the world today. Let’s put it this way, the sink and toilet were somewhat interchangeable.
After closing time, some of last people standing would walk to Zorba’s on Bay Avenue. Zorba’s was a Greek Restaurant that served food 24 hours a day. It had a reputation of being a bit of a greasy spoon. However, after a night of 25 cent beers, it didn’t matter all that much.