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Sip Happens: A How-to Guide for Navigating the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival

Updated: Jul 8

With just a month left until the highly anticipated return of the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival to the Atlantic City Convention Center, we're excited to offer our top tips for making the most out of your time at this must-attend event for craft beer lovers. Having attended this festival since 2007, we have developed strategies through years of experience, resulting in what we believe is the ultimate guide for navigating the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival. 





Planning Ahead: Ticketing, Accommodations, and Transportation

Tickets for the AC Beer and Music Fest can be conveniently purchased through www.ticketmaster.com. For those who prefer paper tickets or wish to avoid service fees, ticketing events will also take place at Yards Brewing on March 20 and Glasstown Brewing on March 27. Vagabond Kitchen and Taphouse will be selling fee-free tickets for $75 until April 1 and then $85 until the festival date. Stay updated on ticketing event times and other details by following @acbeerfest on Instagram.


For detailed information about General Admission, VIP admission, Jitney packages (more details below), Designated Driver tickets, and Group Sales, visit www.acbeerfest.com/tickets.


While breweries, beer selections, vendors, food choices, and activities remain consistent across all three sessions, the choice of which session to attend often boils down to the musical entertainment.


Session #1 on Friday, April 12, from 8pm-12am, features Hot Mulligan, supported by Free Throw and Just Friends.

Session #2 on Saturday, April 13, from 12pm-4pm, presents Saves the Day, with supporting acts Catch 22 and Action Adventure.


Headlining Session #3, on Saturday, April 13, from 6pm-10pm, is Goldfinger, supported by Cliffdiver and Keep Flying.


HOTELS AND ACCOMODATIONS FOR ATLANTIC CITY BEER AND MUSIC FESTIVAL

If you’re local to Atlantic City, or have a designated driver accompanying you to the fest, this might not apply to you. However, if you are in need of accommodations, there is a wide variety of options available. Event organizers have collaborated with various casino hotels and the Sheraton at the AC Convention Center to offer competitive rates for festival attendees. Exclusive rates for hotels such as Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel, Tropicana Atlantic City, Ocean Casino Resort, Caesars Atlantic City, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Resorts Casino Hotel, and The Claridge Hotel can be accessed through www.acbeerfest.com/hotels. For a distinctive upscale experience resembling a home away from home, consider Cozy CoHost Airbnb. Of course, if none of these fit your specific needs, there are plenty of other hotels, motels, and vacation rentals (e.g. Airbnb and Vrbo) throughout the city.


There are multiple transportation choices available for traveling to and from the event. Parking is conveniently located on level 1 of the convention center for a fee of $20. It's important to emphasize that drinking and driving is never acceptable, and we strongly advise against it. For this reason, we discourage you from utilizing the parking garage without a designated driver.


The NJ Transit Atlantic City Rail Terminal, is adjacent to the Atlantic City Convention Center and just a short distance from the boardwalk. There is daily service from Philadelphia 30th Street Station to the Atlantic City Rail Terminal. Additionally, Atlantic City Line trains offer stops in Pennsauken, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Atco, Hammonton, Egg Harbor City, and Absecon. Complimentary shuttle bus services connect the Atlantic City Rail Terminal with various casinos in Atlantic City. You can check schedules and purchase tickets on the NJ Transit Mobile App. 


Jitney packages include pick-up from a location within a 50-mile radius of the festival, transportation to and from the Atlantic City Convention Center, and return to your initial pick-up point, 13 General Admission tickets, and seating for up to 13 passengers.


We recommend utilizing rideshare services to travel to and from the AC Beer and Music Festival. Arriving 30-45 minutes before doors open is advised to secure a prime spot in line and to mitigate any potential delays or surge pricing due to increased demand. Uber fare estimates to Atlantic City Convention Center from various casinos are below:


Tropicana

Borgata 

Harrah’s

Ocean 

Caesar’s

Hard Rock

Uber XL

$18.74

 $21.34

$23.97

$18.74

$18.74

$18.74

UberX

$13.99

$15.99

$16.98

$13.91

$12.99

 $13.91


Day-of Preparation: Setting Yourself up for Success


Hydrate before, during, and after the beer festival. If you think you have drank enough water, drink more. On a normal day, you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water. On day when you are indulging in alcohol and salty foods, and clocking extra miles walking around the convention center floor, your body requires even more hydration. Enhance your water with Waterboy packets from our Amazon store for an extra boost. Each guest is allowed to bring one sealed water bottle or an empty refillable one.


Do not attempt to partake in the AC Beer Festival on an empty stomach. Put down a nice base with a light meal an hour or two in advance. Our research shows that high water content foods, as well as starches, prepare your stomach for hours of beer sampling. Enjoy a bowl of Vietnamese pho from Noodles of the World at Borgata, or venture outside of the casino to Atlantic Avenue and try Pho Sydney or Com Ga Ninh Kieu.

A bowl of pho from Pho Sydney Atlantic City
Pho Sydney

You’ll be satisfied, but not too full to keep you from snacking around the festival. One of our favorite parts of the event is exploring the offerings from some of the best restaurants in Atlantic City that set up shop in the Convention Center for the weekend. 


Dress for comfort, especially when selecting your shoes


While cash is preferred, some vendors may accept cards or electronic payments. However, this depends on vendor discretion and the reliability of internet connectivity. ATMs are available on-site for your convenience.


Walking into the Event

Jon Henderson, Founder, CEO, and Executive Producer of Good Time Tricycle, opens the festival with some words of welcome, and, then, you're off to select your first sample.


We recommend getting a lay of the land before making your way around the festival. There is a lot of ground to cover, and it's not feasible to hit every single brewery. Historically, the breweries are grouped by geographic location. You can pick up a festival map to see which breweries are pouring and where. You can also use your map to stake out snacks and vendors. Bathrooms are situated on both sides of the Convention Center floor.


Establish a designated meeting place for your group in case of separation.

Our suggestion? The sandcastle. You're welcome.

Sandcastle 2019 Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival
Sandcastle 2019 Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival


During the Festival: Keeping a Pleasant Pace


It's important to keep in mind that this event is a marathon, not a sprint. While attendees are encouraged to enjoy the vast array of beer selections, sampling all 400+ beers available is simply not feasible. It's crucial to pace yourself and participate in the experience responsibly. Although it's tempting to sample numerous 2oz beers rapidly, it’s a good way to ruin your night (and that of those around you). As beer enthusiasts in our late 30s who attend festivals to discover new beers, we advocate for a more measured approach.


We have each adopted strategies to enhance our beer festival experience while maintaining moderation. TJ's approach involves transitioning from lighter beers, such as lagers and hefeweizens, to darker varieties like stouts, brown ales, and double IPAs. On the other hand, Andrea prefers to focus on one or two similar beer styles, unless she encounters something particularly intriguing. She often gravitates towards sours and saisons, which are typically less abundant options at the festival, aiding in pacing. Taking breaks between tastings and being selective with samples also helps prevent palate fatigue, a common occurrence when consuming numerous similar beverages. These breaks essentially refresh the palate, allowing for continued enjoyment of new flavors. We also prioritize discovering beers and breweries we've never encountered before over old favorites that are more accessible to us outside of the festival. 




Shopping the more than 45 vendors participating in the festival is a fun way to take a break in between samples. The Escape Plans will be vending our handmade screen-printed Atlantic City t-shirts and hoodies. Look for us at the Convention Center during all three sessions. Sign up for our mailing list to get exclusive discounts! 




Post-festival Fun: After Party, Iconic Eats, and Recovery Mode


You can catch Emo Night Brooklyn at the official AC Beer and Music Festival afterparty on Friday, April 12, at 11:30pm, Isn't It Always on Saturday, April 13, at 4:00pm, and Stealing Savanah on April 13, at 10:00pm, at the Mountain Bar at The Wild Wild West Casino. Admission is free, 21+ only. Also, on Saturday, April 13, Snchor Rock Club is hosting an afterparty at 10pm featuring beers by The Seed, Cape May Brewing, Bolero Snort, Von C, and Troegs, with sets from brewery bands Sewn Away, Phlounder, and ZacRunMusic. $10 at the door, 21+.Follow us @the.escape.plans on Instagram for updates on pre- and post-festival events, as they are announced. 


After 4+ hours of sampling, walking, and building up an appetite, grab some great food at one of our favorite Atlantic City spots. Sessions #1 and #3 let out late, making late night hours essential. Tony’s Baltimore Grill has some of the best food in the city at affordable prices, and their kitchen is open late. If it’s your first time there, get a feel of what has kept this AC institution a favorite among locals and tourists since 1927 with the TBG Experience. For $40.99 a person, enjoy a house wine, draft beer, or soda; salad; their famous spaghetti and meatballs; one of four favorite entrees; and the house dessert.

Sausage Pie Tony's Baltimore Grill
Sausage Pie Tony's Baltimore Grill

Newer to Atlantic Avenue than Tony’s, Good Dog Bar is serving upscale bar fare until 1am, ideal for after sessions #2 and #3. Everyone has heard of soup du jour, and Good Dog has that, but they also have daily empanada and flatbread preparations. White House Subs makes the most perfect Italian hoagies we’ve ever had, and they have locations on Arctic Avenue (open until 8pm on Saturday, perfect for after session #2) and at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (open until midnight on Saturday for session #2 and #3 festival goers). If you haven’t had enough craft beer, or if you want to sample a variety of wing sauces instead, Wingcraft is a great option for both. They close at 11pm on Saturday, making them a great option for after session #2.  


Now, for the dreaded morning after. Caffeinate at Hayday Coffee. Grab a breakfast sandwich from Hot Bagels

Bacon Egg and Cheese Hot Bagels and More Atlantic City
Hot Bagels And More Atlantic City

and More or visit Gilchrist for a Hungry Man Combo #2 with blueberry hotcakes.

Breakfast from Gilchrist Atlantic City
Gilchrist Atlantic City

On your way out of town, order any combination of loaded fries, pizza, and insanely innovative sandwiches from Tony Boloney’s, bring your haul home, reheat, and enjoy.

Hangover "cure" Tony Boloney's Atlantic City
Tony Boloney's Atlantic City Feast

If you have any unanswered questions, feel free to reach out via email or DM us on Instagram or Facebook. Cheers!


Don’t forget to check out all of our FREE itineraries for other great ways to experience Atlantic City! Subscribe to our mailing list and never miss a blog post, including an updated guide for this summer’s AC Beer and Music Festival sessions at Bader Field on Saturday, July 13! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest happenings in Atlantic City!


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