Monday, June 13, 2011

King Edward Bar, Cape May

The Chalfonte Hotel is a heckuva place. Open since 1876, it's Cape May's oldest continuously-operating hotel (and remember that Cape May is America's first beach resort). And as a Southern-style hotel, they like to point out what I always maintained in college - that Cape May and southern New Jersey are south of the Mason Dixon line. [This, incidentally, is untrue. The MDL isn't a line - it turns south more or less at the Delaware border, making Maryland South and Delaware and all of New Jersey North.]

The Southern style plays out in all sorts of ways. Unfortunately we weren't in the house today for the breakfast buffet (biscuits!) or volumific southern dinners (fried chicken!), all of which are prepared by the 3rd generation of women who served the Richmond, VA family that used to own the hotel. We were just there to drink, because we had other dinner plans. In retrospect, this may have been an oversight.

The King Ed is the bar; as happens with an awful lot of preserved Victoriana, it's a little sparse and worn. You can still get a good idea what's good about it though.

My favorite feature was the mermaid painting over the bar. If you squint a little, you'll see that it's not actually a painting of a mermaid. There's a dark border delineating what I think are legs inside the tail, meaning this is not Daryl Hannah but some cheap strumpet dressed up in a mermaid suit.

Ah well. We felt all southern, so we ordered some mint juleps and iced tea and went out to the porch to rock.

When I say 'rock', I know you want to say 'And ROLL!' but restrain yourself. It's more placid and southern than that. The sun was a little bright and brutal to look at, but it was nothing that the bartenders overly ambitious 4 ounces of bourbon each couldn't cure. Without even finishing our first drinks, we were more than ready for dinner.

Even baby Samwell.

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