The storied history of Atlantic City as a destination by the sea dates back to the 1800's. "The World's Playground," as it was widely known by our parents and grandparents, has evolved into a destination that showcases more than a beachside community. It is an amalgamation offering visitors a variety of delightful accommodations, tasty dining options, gambling, golfing, music and entertainment, shopping and a hospitable environment for cigar smokers.
Atlantic City has reinvented itself more than once over the years. The most recent transmogrification is a blend of the old and new, influenced by present day casinos. In the 1920's and 30's, elegant boardwalk hotels welcomed guests who danced the night away to big band sounds of Dorsey, Krupa, Goodman, Miller, Shaw and others. During World War II, the same grand beachfront hotels were utilized as hospitals for wounded soldiers. The 1960's saw headliners perform on the city's Steel Pier—The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Count Basie, The Supremes, The Temptations, and The Four Tops, to name a few. Frank Sinatra first played the city in 1939 and was a regular guest with his Rat Pack entourage for decades. The Beatles performed there during their first United States tour in 1964, the same year Atlantic City hosted the Democratic National Convention.
In some ways, the advent of casinos has invigorated the destination and brought back a once familiar, festive lifestyle of quality entertainment, rich dining venues and crowds of people to take pleasure in the beautiful, natural shoreline location.
For cigar enthusiasts looking to buy some choice smokes, Atlantic City's best option is A Time for Wine, located in Caesars Hotel and Casino. The humidor showcases some 350 brands from the Dominican, Honduras, Nicaragua and other countries. Here you'll find such brands as Ashton, Alec Bradley, Davidoff, Dunhill, Arturo Fuente, Kristoff, Macanudo, Oliva, Padrón, Rocky Patel, Romeo y Julieta, and H. Upmann. It is the only authorized God of Fire dealer in the region and prides itself on regularly adding new and hard-to-find brands that are priced to satisfy and please a variety of smokers, from casual to cigar aficionado. A Time for Wine also operates stores at Tropicana Casino Resort in The Quarter and Resorts Casino.
In general, though, Atlantic City is a welcoming location for cigar smokers. Designated smoking areas in casinos include 25 percent of the gaming floor. New Jersey law allows cigar smoking anywhere cigarette smoking is permitted. Some casinos, however, may have restrictions on cigar smoking in these spaces.
The playground is open. Good days and nights at the beach are here again.
Freelancer Bill Nestor explores globally to write about travel, golf, food, nature and lifestyles.