I’ve been a Springsteen fan since ... well I’m not going to say the year I fell in love with his music because it’ll really age me. But I will tell you that I’ve been visiting the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park since it opened in 2002.

The Wonder Bar via Google Maps
The Wonder Bar via Google Maps

The Wonder Bar is a place so unique, that it could only work in Asbury Park. It’s a favorite of locals and visitors, offering live music, food, and great drinks. Yes, in the light of day it feels a little ... well, is seedy the right word? But don’t be fooled. The Wonder Bar is magic.

Whether you’re having fun on the dance floor or enjoying a cold beverage on the spacious outdoor deck, it’s an amazing spot for original, live music on the Jersey Shore. It’s always been associated with local legends like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Clarence Clemons, and many others.

And this weekend was special: it’s the 20th anniversary. Its co-owner, Debbie DeLisa was proud to post a special shoutout from Bruce Springsteen on her Facebook page, congratulating her and co-owner Lance Larson, another Jersey shore music legend on Sunday, July 31.

In it, Bruce said, “Hey Debbie, I just want to congratulate you on 20 years of the Wonder Bar, a fabulous Asbury Park institution. We need you, we love you - have another great 20. Bye-bye.”

And just to make the anniversary weekend more special, Bruce showed up at the Wonder Bar in person, shooting a congratulatory video along with Debbie, which was widely shared on Twitter.

There were special shows all weekend to commemorate the occasion, ending with original E-Street band member Vini Lopez and the Wonderful Winos, joined by his former Lors Gunner bandmate and co-owner Lance Larson.

The Wonder Bar is dog-friendly and famous for Debbie’s brainstorm, Yappy Hour, which happens each week during the summer season where you can hang out on the outside deck and enjoy food and drinks while your pup romps around in a large fenced-in area.

There are swimming pools, an agility course, and a special “time out” area for those who need to unwind. Dogs of all sizes are welcome Thursday through Sunday, and small dogs have their turn on Mondays.

The bar’s outside deck is named “Tillie’s Landing” after Tillie, a grinning mural that was originally located on the side of Palace Amusements.

Wonder Bar is an important city landmark and beloved by not only Bruce Springsteen, but by people (and pups) from all over NJ, who travel from near and far for the unique WonderBar experience. As Bruce said, here’s to the next 20!

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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