A new golden age for A.C.?

ATLANTIC CITY – I’ve always been one of those people who’ll run in the opposite direction of a crowd. Maybe, it’s because my job will often send me right into the middle of a big bunch of people. Maybe I just don’t like the noise.

So after I checked out the big hoo-hah that was the “soft” opening of the Revel a couple of weeks ago for work purposes -- crowds everywhere, lines to do everything, very noisy indeed -- I headed over to the Golden Nugget. I’m not much of a gambler. But I was hungry. And I like contrasts.

And I wanted to see whether the big, bad $2 billion Revel really was beginning to suck the life out of the other casinos as AC watchers have predicted it will.

Golden Nugget, the former Trump Marina, has been undergoing a stylish $150 million transformation. They’ve put in new showrooms, redone the casino, hotel rooms and suites, and added lounges, bars, a salon and spa, pools, and a new Ronnie Wood Art Gallery (the Rolling Stone guitarist turned artist). And five new restaurants, including a Chart House outpost with a terrific view of the Farley Marina, Gardiner’s Basin, and the Revel.

The casino was busy, it looked like plenty of people were checking into the hotel on a random Monday, and the dining room was pretty full, too. The staff was friendly and efficient and made me feel very welcome. I got a nice table by the windows. And as I enjoyed my chopped salad and a lofty tower of shellfish, I grew optimistic there certainly will be life after Revel for places like the Nugget – as long as they stay in the game.

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