D'Jais

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D'Jais
D'Jais.jpg
Location 1801-1805 Ocean Ave, Belmar, New Jersey
Owner Frank Sementa, Bill Luddecke, and Kip Conner[1]
Type Restaurant, Dance club, Music venue
Genre(s) Electronic dance music, electronic, rock, trance
Construction
Opened 1959
Renovated 1979
Website
www.djais.com

D'Jais Bar & Grill is a popular[2] dance club and restaurant in Belmar, New Jersey. It has been called a landmark, "infamous", and one of the most famous bars along the Jersey Shore.[3][4]

Location and Name[edit]

D'Jais Bar & Grill is located at 1801-1805 Ocean Avenue, a street which runs north and south along the Belmar coastline. It is on the west side of the street, and the front entrance faces the beach and boardwalk. According to Frank Sementa, who has been the owner since 1979, the name "D'Jais" comes from the childhood nickname of the first owner of the club, Dominick Joseph DiSalvo, who was called "DJ".[5]

History[edit]

Southern view from the ocean side.

D'Jais was established in 1959. Locally, it has been called the most popular bar in town,[6] and was busy from the start.[5] D'Jais is still a popular spot [3] and has been called a "Jersey shore institution for young people".[4] During the 1970s, D'Jais was also regular spot for Bruce Springsteen, who also took part in softball games and picnics hosted by the establishment,[7] as well as singer and guitarist Bobby Bandiera.[8] During that era, it was considered "the most celebrated of the bars across from the boardwalk", and was popularized for offering five six-ounce pilsner glasses of beer for a dollar.[9] Local bands also played at the venue during the 70s, including Holme, whose members included Bobby Bandiera, Frank Sementa, and Kip Conner.[10][11][12] It was purchased by Sementa, Luddecke, and Conner in 1979. They converted it from a bar famous for its live bands and cheap beer to a trendy dance club with a DJ, theme nights, and a party atmosphere.[4][1]

In 1984, Monmouth County officials adopted a uniform 2 am closing time to discourage patrons from driving to other towns to find bars open later; however in 1986, D'Jais began closing at 12 am.[13] Around 1990, Sementa added the restaurant to the site.[14] In 2005, a study was conducted at the request of neighboring residents by the ABC board to analyze the bars operations and occupancy levels. The residents believed patrons of D'Jais had violated Quality of Life conditions.[15] Residents were cited as spotting multiple fights, as well as other disruptive behavior.[16]

Restaurant and dance club[edit]

The appearance of D'Jais has changed since the 1970s. The outdoor portion of the restaurant is covered by rooftop, and provides patrons with oceanview seating.[4] The interior features four full-sized bars, as well as one that sits upon the outside deck.[17] During the summer, most nights D'Jais features a DJ and dance music. There are frequently theme nights and contests.[17] On Monday nights in the summer, Holme, a New Jersey band whose popularity dates back to the 1970s, entertains the crowd.[12][18]

Notoriety[edit]

D'Jais is considered a landmark dance club and restaurant,[19] and has been called many things, including "infamous" and "guido-central".[17] D'Jais was named the best overall party spot and ranked 4th out of 100 in the 100 Best Bars at the Shore by Fun New Jersey.[20] The club has attracted sports celebrities such as Kim Clijsters and Brian Lynch.[21] Locally, it has been called the most popular bar in town,[6] and a local hot spot.[22]

New Jersey Sand Castle Contest[edit]

D'Jais is the lead sponsor of the annual New Jersey Sand Castle contest at the 18th Avenue beach. This contest typically attracts over 350 entries and about 10,000 participants each year.[23][24] D'Jais also participates in other local and regional charity events.[25][26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Satore, Bielat (18 July 2013). "Bielat Santore & Company's "WHO'S WHO in the Restaurant Industry. One of the Jersey Shore's most popular bars is open for the Summer.". PRWeb. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Special to the New York Times (June 22, 1986). "Jersey town shuts bars early - and stirs debates". New York Times. p. 34. 
  3. ^ a b Glickson, G (6 September 1992). "If you're thinking of living in Belmar". New York Times. pp. R5. 
  4. ^ a b c d DeMasters, Karen (18 August 2002). "By the beach, a club and a club sandwich". New York Times. pp. NJ12. 
  5. ^ a b The Borough of Belmar New Jersey. "Home movie of Belmar from the Summer of ‘59 Surfaces on YouTube". Belmar. YouTube. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Cariello; Cariello, p. 89.
  7. ^ Sandford, Christopher (1999). Springsteen: point blank. Da Capo Press. pp. 214–215. ISBN 978-0-306-80921-7. 
  8. ^ Douglass College (1988). New Jersey folklife. Ch. 13, p. 44: American Studies Dept., Rutgers University. 
  9. ^ Blum, p.36.
  10. ^ Sandford, p. 215.
  11. ^ Ames, L (7 May 1978). "The lively world of club circuit rock". New York Times. NJ28. 
  12. ^ a b Mikle, J (14 June 2009). "Cheap concerts, free festivals could be music to your ears". Asbury Park Press (online). 
  13. ^ Staff (22 June 1986). "Jersey Town Shut Bars Early- and stirs debate". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  14. ^ Newspaper publication date 2002, stated "12 years ago": 2002 - 12 = 1990 per routine calculations.
  15. ^ Lott, p. 1.
  16. ^ Lott, p. 34.
  17. ^ a b c Corvino, Taylor (3 June 2010). "The D'Jais way The low down on this reputed Belmar club". Metromix. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  18. ^ Zedalis, J; Alexander, A. (2 September 2005). "Perfect forecast for finale season of surf and sun expected to end on a high note.". Asbury Park Press. p. 1. 
  19. ^ "D'Jais Oceanview Bar & Cafe". Metromix. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Top 100 Bars Down the NJ Shore". Fun New Jersey. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  21. ^ Robbins, L. (29 August 2005). "After break and break up, Clijsters makes a fresh start". New York Times. F4. 
  22. ^ Gould, Joe; McShane, Larry (19 July 2008). "Crowds smaller at Belmar nightspot after uproar over mayor's comments". NY Daily News. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  23. ^ "The 24th Annual NJ Sandcastle Contest at Belmar's 18th Avenue Beach c(07/28/10)". 
  24. ^ "Sun, Sandcastles and…Pirate’s Booty". 
  25. ^ Bowman, B. (16 July 2009). "Challenge in Avon to help military families.". Asbury Park Press online archives. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  26. ^ Seidel, B. (3 October 2008). "Art News". Asbury Park Press (online). 

Sources[edit]

T-shirt from 1979 protesting the conversion of D'Jais from a beer joint with live music and 5 beers for $1, to a dance club.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°10′13″N 74°00′59″W / 40.170347°N 74.016308°W / 40.170347; -74.016308