Live shows are their raison d’etre
Le Grand Fromage is a former gourmet French restaurant on Gordon’s Alley in Atlantic City that is now a casual place to catch live music from both local musicians and touring acts. Its name translates to “the big cheese,” which is kind of ironic now because it’s one of the least haughty, most laissez faire bars on the island. It makes sense in another way, though, because the three-story venue is the largest place in the city to catch original independent music on a regular basis.
Expect diverse divertissements
The type of music you can expect to hear at Le Grand Fromage varies from set to set, let alone from night to night. They regularly have long rosters of avant-garde acts, with dozens of groups performing in one day at times when the bar has performers on all three floors. While you can mostly expect different forms of rock, there is plenty of hip-hop to be heard as well, not to mention comedy and poetry at times. It’s best to call ahead or check their Facebook page beforehand to find out the genre du jour, or just arrive with an open mind.
They have a liaison with locals
When the establishment made a pretty dramatic shift from a high-end bistro to a low-key spot for rowdy soirees, part of the goal was to nurture the local music scene. “We wanted to be more community driven,” co-owner Michael Messina Jr. says. “When you go to a city you should be able to experience the culture.” They try to have live performances five days a week, and sometimes the limiting factor is there not being enough acts in the region, but you can almost always catch a local musician on the weekend. The crowd itself is also mostly made up of locals, from casino employees to friends of the bands.
It’s a favorite of beer connoisseurs
The bar has lately been bringing in small batches of craft beers par excellence. For example, it recently tapped a sixtel keg of Troegs Mad Elf Ale, a tour de force of cherries, honey and chocolate malts that’s 11 percent alcohol by volume. Bringing in rare brews like that is something to cheer about on any night.
Vive charitable giving
As if it isn’t enough to want to check out some unique and interesting music now and again, many of the events Le Grand Fromage hosts are benefits of some kind, such as recent shows to help victims of Hurricane Sandy and support local organizations. C’est magnifique to be able to support great causes while having a great time.