The Empress Hotel (New Jersey)

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The Empress Hotel
Empress Hotel Asbury Park.JPG
General information
Location 101 Asbury Avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States 07712
Opening 1961
Owner Shep Pettibone
Technical details
Floor count 4
Other information
Number of rooms 101
Number of restaurants 1
Official Website

The Empress Hotel, located in Asbury Park, New Jersey, is a popular gay resort.[1]

The Hotel opened as a luxury resort for vacationing families in the 1960s. It was a successful resort, attracting the likes of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli.[2]

In 1980, the Empress was featured on the picture sleeve of Bruce Springsteen's hit single "Hungry Heart", which depicts a photo of Springsteen standing near a phone booth on the Asbury Park boardwalk, with the hotel visible in the background.

By the summer of 1976, Asbury Park was in a state of decline, albeit the Empress Hotel remained a popular establishment. During a New York Times interview, the hotel's manager boasted: "all of our 101 rooms are taken!"[3] Unfortunately, by 1988 the hotel was struggling for business, and closed shortly after.

A strip club, Extreme Fahrenheit, opened in the building in 1993. It became notorious for drugs and prostitution, and was eventually closed because of lewd conduct.[4]

In 1998, Shep Pettibone bought the abandoned building and opened the Paradise Nightclub inside.[5]

The nightclub lured crowds of gay travelers away from Fire Island and instead to the beaches of Asbury Park.[citation needed] The hotel portion reopened in August 2004,[6] and is very popular among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender travelers in New Jersey.[citation needed]

In 2008, a dining establishment, the Ketchup Grill opened inside. A clothing store, Esphera, catering to gay beach-goers, was added to the ground level in 2008 and is open during the summer months.[citation needed]

The hotel features a restaurant, gift-shop, lounge, nightclub, and outdoor pool.


  1. ^ "EMPRESS HOTEL". Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ JOE SHARKEY. "The Past Is Dead in Asbury Park, but the Future Is Arriving." New York Times
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gay Asbury Park
  6. ^ Gay Asbury Park

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°13′06″N 74°00′06″W / 40.21838°N 74.00180°W / 40.21838; -74.00180