Irene Can't Stop Seaside Bar's Party
J.R.'s on Seaside Heights boardwalk one of few open Sunday, the day of storm
A couple hours prior, the ocean nearly reached the boardwalk. Local roads remained flooded. But for one bar on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, it was simply Sunday night and the party must go on.
Although not as packed as it might have normally been on a summer Sunday night, the weekend before Labor Day, JR's bar in Seaside Heights opened up hours after Hurricane Irene, to allow locals to come in, have a drink and relax.
Several dozen came out as flat screen televisions at the boardwalk bar broadcast the latest Irene news into the night.
One patron from Denver at the bar said it turns out his vacation coincided with a hurricane.
"I'm on vacation, I got to come out! It's not bad here on the shore tonight." stated Ryan Whetsel, who is on on vacation at the Jersey Shore until next Sunday, when he will head back to Denver CO.
Others described cabin fever drew them to the bar.
"I just needed to get out of the house, and I knew JR's was open." said Toms River resident Christina Johnson.
Lavalette resident Jennifer Lorenzo, who stayed on the mainland in Toms River during Hurricane Irene, was able to head back home and decided to go to JR's that evening.
"I have been stuck in the house all day, and we knew that JR's would be open so we decided to come out." said Lorenzo. Lavallette was under mandatory evacuation orders during the storm.
Lavallette resident Chelsea Colon was out during one of the calmest summer nights on the boardwalk in a while.
"This is the only night I can go out for the rest of the summer, and I was supposed to work tonight." said Colon.
Others said they headed to JR's because it was one of few places open on a barrier island still mostly shuttered after the storm.
"There was nothing open on the way out here, and we just needed to get out of the house. We would have stayed closer to home and gone to the Crab's Claw in Lavallette, but they were closed. So we decided to drive out to Seaside and saw that JR's was open so we are going to hang out here." said Lavallette resident Jen Andrews, and Brick resident Ryan Donaghue agreed.
JR's also had a DJ to try and entice the local crowd to come out and celebrate the passing of Hurricane Irene, according to the event flyer, which billed the evening as "The Official Sunday Afterparty" with $2 Bud Lite and $3 mixed drinks.