Last week, two Ocean City, N.J. restauranteurs sat down with the Press of Atlantic City and lamented that they might consider being open this late in the season if only their patrons were allowed to BYOB.
To which I say: baloney.
In case you missed it, the dry town of Ocean City was locked in a battle about whether to allow restaurant patrons bring beer or wine to dinner – one that included political-campaign style robo-calling, a fight outside church, and an Associated Press story that made the entire town look like nattering fools for fighting about what to everyone else seemed a very small issue. When the measure was slaughtered in a May vote, a lot of people – myself included – sighed with relief that it was over, and turned our sights to the summer season.
Ocean City is a small island with a shrinking year round population. After the annual Fall Festival, which was last weekend, the place is a ghost town, and I’ve seen no evidence that will change anytime soon.
Restaurants allowing people to bring beer or wine to dinner is not going to reverse that trend, surely not enough to keep those restaurants open later into the season. Even The Diving Horse in Avalon, my favorite (and always busy) Jersey Shore BYOB, closed in September.
I wasn’t for or against BYOB in OCNJ. I can see both sides of the argument. But this is just sour grapes. Given that 70 percent of OCNJ residents voted against the measure, I don’t see it having a shot anytime in my lifetime of passing. It’s time to tuck away that resentment for good, and get ready for the 2013 season.