Updates on Bird & Betty’s and What Features Will Stay

Feb 27, 2019
Courtesy of: Deborah Whitcraft The new owners weren’t allowed to use the name the Ketch, and they loved another former title, the Acme, but there are too many places already registered under that name.

As many well-wishes as the new owners of the Ketch received for “Bird and Betty’s,” there were also pleas (and a petition) to please don’t do away with the popular Teen Night. Another keeper, according to many shout-outs, would be the upstairs outdoor deck at the Beach Haven landmark.

Bird and Betty’s patrons will have both when the renovation/transformation is done, and the planned ’60s & ’70s theme in the casual dining and nightspot as well.

“I love this,” new co-owner Melanie Magaziner wrote online about the petition by Kurtis Waldeck on Facebook for signers to let the new owners know “how near and dear we hold this place to our hearts” and to keep the tradition of the Ketch 18+ club alive.

Magaziner urged people on her Facebook page to indeed sign the petition if they felt that way. “I want to see how many actually want to keep teen night,” said the new owner, a partner in The Tide Table Group owning five other successful LBI region restaurants.

The outcome after 1,007 signed the petition and others commented was the announcement that “We are going to give it a try.” Actually, they had never said they weren’t going to keep the feature.

“As a mom of a teen, I realize our children need things to do, but I want it to be something our community is proud of,” Magaziner said.

One writer on Facebook had cautioned against the “big responsibility,” saying that before, kids found a way to sneak in alcohol. Magaziner agreed about the responsibility and added, “work to be done.”

The topic was just one of several updates that the new co-owner gave about the Tide Table Group’s plans at 529 Dock Rd. Bird and Betty’s will open May 9.

The Tide Table Group, owners of Mud City Crab House, Ship Bottom Shellfish, Parker’s Garage & Oyster Saloon, the Black Whale Bar & Fish House, and the Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House, announced the acquisition of the Dock Road property formerly known as the Ketch on Feb. 14. The Tide Table Group includes the Nugent, Magaziner, Burris and Mehl families.

“Will we keep the deck? Well, why would we not want a deck where we can watch the sunset and have a cocktail?” Magaziner said in a Sunday Facebook post aimed at answering all the questions together.

“We will do some renovations before summer and then some bigger changes next winter. We promise summer evenings on the deck, good food, new cocktails and live music in a welcoming environment.

“Happy Hour? Old Causeway & Black Whale both offer happy hour, not sure why we would do anything differently? The menu? We are trying to bring unique choices to the area yet continue to offer menu items that reflect the bounties our local waters are known for.”

The name hearkens back to previous owners, Betty and Bird Clutter, who purchased it in 1956 and ran a successful bar. The new owners weren’t allowed to use the name the Ketch, and they loved another former title, the Acme, but there are too many places already registered under that name, Magaziner said.

Before and since they bought the building, new owners found out about the original building, which dates to the turn of the 20th century.

“I have scoured history books for information on this location, and as far as I can tell the Acme Hotel is the oldest hotel bar on LBI, opened in 1904 by John Cranmer,” Magaziner said this week.

“Only hotels had liquor licenses at the time. It was a popular spot during Prohibition, and many stories surround a trap door in the floor behind the bar.

“In 1925 it was bought by the Tueckmantel family. In 1933, full licenses were issued; the Acme received one of those as did Ellis Parker of Parker’s Marine Grill. Interestingly enough another bar on the mainland was popular at the time, Thompson’s, which eventually became the Old Causeway Inn. In 1956 or so, the Acme was sold to Bird & Betty Clutter, who owned it until 1976. During this time it was a gathering place for a new generation who wanted to hear rock ’n’ roll music.

“It was not until 1984 that it underwent another transformation to the Ketch. If you want to fact check, John Bailey Lloyd’s books are a wealth of information as well as Deborah C. Whitcraft, who continues to share the history of LBI through the New Jersey Maritime Museum and her photos.”

In conclusion, “We are very excited to see this project unfold,” Magaziner told the online community of very interested readers.

“As with all of our projects we plan to preserve the history of the location and breathe life into an aging building that needs some love,” Magaziner said, also promising continued community involvement.

— Maria Scandale


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