Kicking off our first full day in Newport together, my girlfriends and I headed to Atlantic Beach Club. The beach club is actually situated on Purgatory Road and I feel like this name is very apropos. ABC is its own form of purgatory, a temporary punishment of sorts. At ABC you feel trapped between heaven and hell, loving and hating your experience.
The building has been a Newport institution since the 1920s and has battled some of New England’s toughest storms. The location may be prime for hurricanes but it also has a front row seat to the Atlantic and Newport’s famous Cliff Walk.
Their back deck is steps from the sand and there’s live bands that play from 2 to 6 p.m. The band that afternoon was rock cover, and in between sets a DJ played top 40 with a dance song thrown in every now and then. There’s beach volleyball as well, just make sure you don’t bring your drink with you. “No drinks on the sand,” says the bouncer if you try.
Speaking of drinks, there’s everything from light beers to sugary concoctions that sound like a good idea but never end well in 90-degree heat.
So with live music, ice-cold cocktails, sunshine and girlfriends, you’re probably thinking what could go wrong?
The crowd is like an open casting call for MTV reality television. Its Jersey Shore meets Road Rules meets Dismissed. Heavy on the Dismissed. Juiced guys, more men in sports jerseys than you can count, bikini-clad women and the occasional bachelorette party. While there is a seafood buffet inside, there’s an all-around smörgåsbord of crazy on the outside.
Michael Phelps and his dad made an appearance. No, not really. But two men dressed as Michael Phelps and his dad were there. We then witnessed Michael Phelps dance with a bachelorette party, complete with inflatable penis. Can’t beat that.
The bartenders provide terrible service, but I really don’t blame them. We were there early enough to see them all in a great mood, smiling; but as the afternoon wore on you could tell their clientele wore on them.
One of ABC’s biggest problems is their bathroom situation. There is a bathroom – a very nice one I dare say – inside the restaurant. But if you’re at the back patio, they force you to use portable toilets. I was not about to use the portable toilet when there were nice ones inside – hello, air conditioning! – so I ventured into the nicer bathrooms. Big mistake. A woman, who claimed she was the owner, had called the police for anyone who dare brought a single grain of sand into her restaurant. I actually saw a girl get arrested who, in my very honest opinion, hadn’t really being doing anything that terrible.
There are worse crimes than trying to use a nice bathroom, am I right?
So as you drink, dance and ogle your way through the purgatory that is ABC, the choice is up to you – heaven or hell?
If anyone from ABC is reading this: Can someone please edit your “about” section online. We all make mistakes but the grammar and punctuation on there is particularly ghastly.