Boardwalk dives offered new lease — if they clean up
Old-school Boardwalk businesses that are facing eviction can stay open for eight more years — if they agree to get rid of their honky-tonk charm and turn themselves into upscale eateries — under a deal being offered by their landlord.
Central Amusement, the company that controls the leases along the city-owned beachfront, is negotiating new deals that require the owners of old-time businesses — including Ruby’s and Paul’s Daughter — to spend more than $100,000 each to clean up their acts if the Depression-era dives are to remain on the Boardwalk through 2019.
And the old-school owners may not be willing to bite.
“Ruby’s is in negotiations to come back, but right now it’s a coin toss,” said a source close to the negotiations, who asked remain anonymous.
The bars are being asked to spend several hundred thousand dollars on renovations including hardwood floors and a fleet of flat-screen TVs, a move that would rip the rag-tag carney atmosphere out of the 77-year-old Ruby’s, which is beloved by the Coney faithful for its aging decor and honky-tonk feel.
Such a transformation would run the risk of alienating regulars who go there for cheap drinks, salty conversation and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Still, the source said Ruby’s may be willing to pay for the face-lift even though it would drastically change the style of it.
“The place would look more like the 2000’s, not the 1800’s,” the source said.