She had spotted the same guy earlier on the beach, eating a popsicle. “He just stood there, sucking and staring at me,” she said. Eventually, a male friend of Ms. Kirschbaum’s started staring back, and the mystery man moved on.
It was an eye-opening weekend for many involved, especially the more devout night owls. “It’s really the first time I’ve seen all these people in the sunlight,” joked Henry Smulewitz, manager of the New York rockabilly group Chainsaw Trio.
Later Saturday evening, the other Beatrice partner, Mr. Sevigny, showed up, wearing a white polo emblazoned with the name of the seminal Washington, D.C., punk-rock band Minor Threat on the back, to oversee the conversion of a poolside cabana into a makeshift DJ booth, complete with swirling disco lights.
A noted turntablist, musician and sound-system aficionado, Mr. Sevigny voiced some concerns about the outdoor speakers, but otherwise seemed pleased with the way the fledgling nightspot was coming together. “It’s getting there,” he said, standing amid a cluster of friends at the far end of the pool and ordering rounds of shots; the sweet scent of marijuana wafted through the salty air.
Even the Beatrice Inn’s despotic doorman, Angelo Bianchi, had been relocated from New York that night to reign over the velvet rope.
Anyone thinking the beachy setting of this alternate party spot might allow for a more relaxed door policy would be gravely mistaken. If you weren’t on the list, or an overnight hotel guest, you were out of luck, as two Jersey girls duly learned when they were turned away around 9:30 p.m.
For hours, permitted revelers mingled and danced under the stars before the festivities gradually migrated to an indoor bar and game room hung with antique Monopoly boards, where the party continued until 4 a.m. (and afterward in various suites upstairs).
The vibe seemed sexy and sophisticated. But was it too New York for South Jersey to take?
“My group had a blast there and we felt really at home,” said Philadelphia party promoter Tommy Up, who checked out the Chelsea’s pool deck and party spaces on Saturday. “I keep explaining Beatrice Inn’s relevance to all my friends at home, and although it isn’t really a known commodity in Philly yet, the Beatrice Inn is an easy sell with universal appeal: model babes, good music and fun. What’s not to love?”
“Right now, Atlantic City is more known for having a really cheesy nightlife scene,” Mr. Up later continued over e-mail. “It’s the Ed Hardy and Afflicted shirt crowd. … It’s extremely difficult to get my crowd to go to Atlantic City with the current nightlife climate. I really want the Beatrice Inn and the Chelsea to give us a better option in A.C. and I felt like the party there on Saturday was something I would be able to proudly share with my people.”
Others have their concerns.
“The Chelsea can’t survive on a New York crowd alone,” said Jen Miller, author of the guidebook The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May, who had stayed at the Chelsea earlier in the week and came back to witness the revelry on Saturday. “Yes, you’ll get a lot of New York people in Atlantic City, but Philadelphia and southern New Jersey is Atlantic City’s bread and butter, especially in the off-season. I think putting a Stephen Starr restaurant in there plays to our restaurant sensibilities—he’s much more a Philly guy than New York. I would recommend that they stop putting the New York Post in front of rooms in the morning—it should be the Press of Atlantic City or the [Philadelphia] Inquirer.
“Even if you’re from New York,” she added, “you’re still at the Jersey Shore.”