All-New Surf City Hotel Beach Club to Be Ready in Time for Wedding Road Show

Mar 14, 2018
Photo by: Chris Seiz

The Surf City Hotel has been a destination for live entertainment since the days of the pipe organ on Long Beach Island. And the Beach Club, long beloved by perennial party people, has always had its quirks: namely, the huge central bar that took up too much floor space; a fenced-in “corral” that passed for a stage for the bands; the giant columns in the center of the room that obstructed views of said bands; the pronounced absence of a proper dance floor; the nonsensical restroom situation.

All of that and more ­– including the rotting floor that was discovered beneath the bricks ­– has been remedied, as part of the comprehensive changes the hotel has undergone in the last year since new owners Greg and Colleen Gewirtz took over.

To returning guests this season, the Beach Club will be all but unrecognizable. The Gewirtzes have been working with contractor John Egan (Colleen’s brother) and architect Craig Brearley to transform the space.

The aforementioned columns have been replaced by three 1,500-pound beams holding up the ceiling. The opened-up space will feel not only larger, but also fresher with a change in color scheme to lighter, beachy neutral tones, according to Colleen, who has been responsible for all the cosmetic choices.

The new women’s room is twice as big and will now have five stalls instead of two; the men’s room has been relocated to the opposite side of the club.

“Because of the history, we have tried to keep what we could,” Greg said. When they tore up the old brick floor, they took care to save and set aside the white tiles bearing the names of regulars, which will become part of a special installation at the entryway. The steps leading up to the Beach Club have been removed in order to extend the floor out in front of the entrance, where the preserved white tiles will be laid.

When they opened up the walls, they found some interesting artifacts, including a corn cob pipe, a set of darts, a parking citation issued by Surf City police, and some photo negatives, developed at the old Surf City Pharmacy – containing images of palm trees, women in ’40s-style bathing attire and cars from the same era.

The idea is to make a destination here, Greg said. People will have room to dance, he said, and it will be a fun, open environment. When the doors are open, the vibe from the club will flow out into the dining area, Greg explained. Overhead carriage doors will come down as needed to seal the room off for private parties or to reduce the noise level for the dining rooms.

The club will still have three separate bars, but the central one will be one-third the size of the original and will be portable so it can be moved for large parties or wedding receptions. The number of seats will not change, but seating will be redistributed for improved flow. No more traffic jams caused by hundreds of people trying to navigate too-narrow walkways.

The new layout will put the bands on the far east wall, on an elevated platform, so guests entering the front door will see the band straight ahead.

The expanded lineup of bands this summer will include some local favorites such as Shorty Long, and some bigger names from out of the area, including three appearances by the B Street Band (Springsteen tribute), which was a huge draw last year, Greg said.

Another big announcement is the return of the Long Beach Idol contest this July, to be emceed by “LBI’s Ryan Seacrest,” Jason Booth. And the legendary Jackie Vee and Paul Presto are rumored to be planning a visit.

Earlier this week, the Beach Club was awaiting its plumbing and electrical inspection approvals. Owners said the work was about four weeks away from completion. The goal is to be ready for unveiling in time for the Wedding Road Show, April 22, Colleen said.

— Victoria Ford

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.