Atlantic City revels in 'Boardwalk Empire' special rates

Steve Buscemi reigns over Prohibition-era Atlantic City as Enoch "Nucky" Johnson.
Steve Buscemi reigns over Prohibition-era Atlantic City as Enoch "Nucky" Johnson.
Posted: September 30, 2011

FOR A TOWN that needs every scrap of good news it can get these days, the hit HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" has been like manna from heaven.

Although set in an Atlantic City that has, save for the Boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean, no similarities at all to the present-day gambling-and-entertainment resort, "Boardwalk Empire," which had its second-season premier Sunday, has given the beleaguered gaming capital a higher national profile, not to mention a hook that has launched a multitude of marketing ideas.

" 'Boardwalk Empire' has brought a new and bright light onto Atlantic City's very colorful history before, during and after Prohibition," said Jeffrey Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. "We knew there was an interesting story, and the national television exposure along with a few liberties taken by the writers has put a new spin on it.

"We're now seeing tours, restaurant promotions and hotel promotions designed around the Prohibition era. This past summer, thousands of people took the 'Nucky's Way' tour or the 'Roaring '20s' tour around Atlantic City and visited some of the sites mentioned in HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire.' "

No casino has embraced the "Empire" vibe more than Resorts Casino Hotel, whose new ownership was inspired to peg the property's overall theme to the series that chronicles AyCee's Roaring '20s status as that era's Sin City. From the sexy flapper outfits that cocktail waitresses squeeze into to the old-school uniforms worn by bellmen, dealers and security personnel, to the trebly 1920s music played over the property's sound system, Resorts provides a pretty good idea of what the town might have looked and sounded like when Enoch "Nucky" Johnson (portrayed by Steve Buscemi in the show as "Nucky Thompson") ruled Atlantic City's political and vice realms.

Resorts took its motif from "Boardwalk Empire," but Caesars Atlantic City has forged a business partnership with HBO, making the gaming hall the series' official casino partner. Last September, Caesars held a premier-screening event complete with a lavish VIP soiree featuring period food, beverages and live music. On Sunday, the casino hosted a free screening of the second-season debut. Earlier this month, it offered series-connected hotel packages.

But casinos aren't the only places where "Boardwalk Empire" fever has taken hold. As Vasser noted, this past summer saw the introduction of two separate guided tours of historic sites. Recently, a mural depicting 1920s Atlantic City was unveiled on a stretch of midtown Boardwalk. And many businesses, gaming and nongaming, continue to offer special deals, including Lucy the Elephant, which was name-checked in "Empire's" second-season premier. Here's a sampling:

Tropicana Casino and Resort: $119.20 one-night hotel package includes $19.20 food and beverage credit at any Tropicana-owned restaurant; $19.20 drink credit in Tango or Rumba Lounge; $19.20 EZ Promo Slot Dollars; complimentary health club admission for two; 2 p.m. late checkout. Sunday-Thursday through Nov. 20, 609-340-4000;

A Time for Wine at the Quarter at Tropicana: 15 percent off Nucky's Boardwalk Red and Nucky's Speakeasy Reserve wines. Through Dec. 30.

McCormick & Schmick's at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City: $19.20 three-course prix-fixe dinner. 3-5:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday through Dec. 30. 609-441-5579.

Roaring '20s Trolley Tour of Atlantic City: Through Dec. 30, $25 adult, $20 child, 609-884-7392.

Tun Tavern at Sheraton Hotel: $19.20 Prohibition package includes a full pitcher of any available handcrafted beers and a dozen wings. 9 p.m. to closing, daily through Dec. 30, 609-347-7600,

Lucy the Elephant: $19.20 admission for four adults. Atlantic and Washington avenues, Margate, Tuesdays and Thursday through Dec. 30, 609-823-6473,

For a complete list of "Boardwalk Empire"-related special offers, go to

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