Locals and vacationers alike know that Memorial Day Weekend in the Wildwoods is the official kick off to summer. It’s the first weekend where the island is jam-packed and crawling with people —when it comes alive again after the quiet winter.
Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of beach season and summer business re-openings, coupled with outdoor activities and all-day barbeques. Usually this weekend is filled with many of your firsts: your first trip to the shore, first beach day, first family get-together, first bike ride, first outing on the boardwalk, and if you are my age, your first day of your first summer where you can legally party with your friends.
My kick off to this monumental weekend started with a trip to the beach with the whole crew. We decided we would hold off on the drinking because we had big plans to explore the North Wildwood bar scene later that night, and, obviously, we knew it was illegal to drink on the beach. So we settled for scattering our chairs down by the water’s edge and watching other people who were dispersed around us crack beers and partake in the traditional beach drinking games, instead. Let me add, by the way, that watching others half-in-the-bag trying to conduct serious, hard-core games of Dizzy Bat and Baggo was just as, if not more, amusing than being half-in-the-bag, yourself.
When we grew bored and tiresome of the beach, we all agreed that it was indeed time to start the party, ourselves. We continued our get-together back at a friend’s house, where we cracked our own beers and grilled out by the pool, relaxing until dusk. And as we sat and watched the sun fall below the horizon, we knew it was time.
Ah, yes, the North Wildwood bar scene. After my Memorial Day Weekend experience, I can now say that it is, in fact, all it’s cracked up to be.
Our first stop of the night was Flip Flopz, the huge corner bar on the end of New Jersey Ave., a few steps away from the beach. Flip Flopz was a great time and definitely a new favorite hot spot. The inside was huge, with marble bars positioned accordingly throughout the place, making it quicker to get drinks and easier to find a seat posted up around the bar. There were open areas for dancing and hanging out with the good mix of people the bar brought in. It’s undoubtedly one of the places to be on the weekends, or at least a bar to check out, setting the summer tone with its casual atmosphere, tropical decorations and dim lighting. Oh, and the music—definitely danceable.
Ultimately, my friends and I were fans of Flip Flopz, and we would have stayed all night, but we couldn’t party at only one bar our first time out on the town. So we had a drink or two before moving on to our next destination.
At around 12:30 AM, we left Flip Flopz and migrated, with the rest of the mob, out the door and a few steps to the right, where we patiently waited in line outside of Echos.
Now, I’ve heard so many stories about Echos, with it’s Dollar Bottle Night and club-like atmosphere, and it’s ability to bring people together—people whom you haven’t seen since perhaps high school—people whom you never thought you would cross paths with again, but are pleasantly surprised when you do—and of course new faces and acquaintances as well. At least that’s what happened to me my first night there. I found that it doesn’t matter whether you’re local or vacationer—you party at Echos.
It wasn’t Dollar Bottle Night, but that didn’t keep the crowds away. If you think the island is jam-packed like sardines during the day, try standing in Echos at 2 AM. Even better yet, try dancing in Echos at 2 AM. With the spotlights streaming through the dark and up over the dance floor filled with fist-pumpers and raised, half-empty beer bottles, as everything from The Foundation’s “Build Me Up Buttercup” to Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” blared from the DJ booth, I understood why Echos was the most reputable bar in North Wildwood. It delivered my friends and I majority of the qualities we look for to make an overall pretty successful night—cheap drinks, good crowds, solid games of pool, standard music, traditional bar brawls, and of course, getting a picture under the famous “STD Free” sign hanging by the bathrooms. You have to experience one night at Echos to know what I’m talking about it, and I suggest you do!
Of course when we exited the bar close to 3:30 AM, drenched in sweat and covered in spilled beer, the only thing on our minds was food. The last stop of the night consisted of curbing our drunk, pounding appetites with a late night food run. After much questionable debate, we decided to save the renowned Joe Joe’s Place for tomorrow night, opting for subs and wraps instead of pizza and fries. So off we stumbled in the direction towards Wawa.
Let me tell you, there is nothing better than sitting on your front porch and listening to the birds beginning to chirp as the sun begins to rise, all while cupping a big chicken cheese steak in your hands. And that’s what we did before finally retiring to bed, concluding a perfect ending to a perfect night…well morning. Then it was time to sleep in order to carry on our previous night’s shenanigans into the next. After all, it was only Saturday…