Garces out as Blatstein shuffles deck at Playground in Atlantic City

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The Playground is the former Pier at Caesars on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.

Developer Bart Blatstein is changing the business model of The Playground, his retail-entertainment center at the Playground, the former Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City.

Rather than run it himself, he will assume the role of landlord, just as he did at the Piazza at Schmidt's in Northern Liberties shortly after it opened in 2009. (Blatstein has since sold most of that residential-retail development.)

Gone from The Playground is Garces Events, which had managed the food and beverage under a contract with Blatstein from its opening this summer. Aaron Kleinle, a Garces vice president, said the agreement expired Oct. 31.  (The foray was Garces' second in Atlantic City, as the Iron Chef's Amada and Distrito were shuttered in the financial collapse of Revel Casino in September 2014.)

Blatstein, who leases the property from Caesars, is now in effect subleasing The Playground's eight venues, known collectively as T Street. The first announced operators are Brian Nagele and Brian Pugh, who operate North Shore Beach Club and Kings Oak, near the Piazza.

Blatstein said they will run the music venue 39N, the beer garden Riviera, and the dueling-piano bar Bo's.

Another operator, to be identified shortly, will run Monkey Bar, Purdy's, 1921, and Tag.

A third operator will run The Bluey.

Nagele and Pugh are preparing a large New Year’s Eve party for 3,000 people that will attempt to break the Guinness record for most champagne bottles popped simultaneously (the record is 2,600 bottles). 

Meanwhile, the Playground is open Thursday to Saturday.