It's Memorial Day Weekend . I will leave it to Dave to post the most iconic video of all time as he does every year since the dawn of time. Memorial Day Weekend is the official kick off to summer. Which means all across the Hamptons, The Cape, and The Jersey Shore 21-25 year olds (26-28 in some cases if you really are married to the game, and 40+ in the case of my friend Sean who will never retire) are moving into their shore houses (I know some people call these share houses, I don't).
For those unfamiliar- shore houses are a group of people who pool their money together to rent a property for the summer. It's always overcrowded think 12-14 people in a 3-4 bedroom house, it's expensive, it's shitty quality , it's outdated, it smells, and it's chaotic. People usually only occupy the house on Friday night to Sunday day. In some cases, Thursday nights can be a time of arrival for those with "summer fridays" at their office job (or those kids from Staten Island who don't work a job on paper yet somehow drive a new Lexus and have cash on hand at all times). Additionally, Monday early mornings can be a time of departure for those who indulge as "Sunday Night Sinners". Regardless, I think you get the point, it's a communal house that no one has ownership to (which often results in the landlord fining you up the wazoo at the end of the summer), but you all occupy for a period of time. It's also (if you do it right) a hilarious, enjoyable time. You're all broke, you all most likely hate your jobs, however for 72 hours every weekend you get to sit on the beach , go to the bars, or hang out in a house with your friends without a care in the world.
Now, I'll be honest, due to working jobs with weekend hours right out of college (and graduating during a recession) I never had a shore house. By the time I got away from weekend hours and was making decent money, I was seriously dating and in a phase of life that had 4-5 weddings every summer so it wasn't worth it. I was however a very frequent guest for many summers, which qualifies me to weigh in on the good , the bad and the ugly of shore houses. What makes them work ? What makes them a disaster ?
I have reached out to some truly experienced veterans of the shore house game to weigh in with their advice. Some serious, mostly funny. My goal is to instill wisdom to the 22-25 year olds reading this as they sit at their cube and pack up for their first weekend down the shore. I have leaned on some of my finest experts and characters in my life. They provided tons of wisdom and advice for all you first timers.
Before we get to that, here's some tips / advice I would say are my golden rules :
A- Pick the right crew
I've seen this a ton of times where shore houses kind of become a mix mosh of people, or people that aren't great friends before the house- and in some cases that can work (shoutout this kid Ryan from Staten Island who used to be a part of a shore house that was filled one by one on Craigslist- he told me "it was awesome it was like living on The Real World"), but in most cases you would rather have a group of good friends you know really well. Additionally, lifestyles have to match. If your majority of housemates are night owls and like to party do you really want to deal with the 2-3 other people who complain that they aren't in bed by 10pm ?
For 15 straight weekends you are going to drink, laugh and party. You should want to have people around you who do that as a big group. Everyone can do their own things once in a while, maybe 2 guys are going to Jenks to meet up with someone, or a handful of people rather try Porta one night- that's fine. But the majority of laughs , and memories etc happen in the house. Breaking chops getting ready, playing LCR before you go out, etc. To have 1 or 2 people who are essentially strangers in the house- or just suck personality wise (shoutout Jacobson) is a waste in my opinion.
2- Don't show up empty handed
This was a RESOUNDING response from some vets and on twitter, which shows me there are still smart people in the world. This was the golden rule as the guest. If your buddies let you stay in their house for the weekend show up with stuff. The BARE MINIMUM in a 10 person house is a 30 pack of beer (or a case of High Noon's because they are the most delicious beverage on the planet).. BARE MINIMUM. Standard is usually a 30 and a bottle of liquor. If you are coming down 5-6 weekends in the summer , feel free to mix it up. Maybe one day you bring down cold cuts and bread, maybe another you bring down a shitload of toilet paper, maybe another you bring water, ice, and mixers. Reminder- these are in addition to the 30 pack of beer or the case of high noons. It's not a replace toilet paper for beer type deal. Liquor always comes with guests.
If you live in the house, if you do it right- you usually all chip in together to load up on standards for the weekend. There is usually a group text of "hey send me x amount , blank is going to costo to grab toilet paper, beer, snacks, and cups and trash bags for the weekend." Pretty simple shit. Everyone chips in everyone uses it , very easy. Having said that, housemates can always go above and beyond to make the house better. There's always room to pick up cups on your lunch break at work before your drive down, if your parents don't need an air conditioner in there house and it's not insanely heavy - bring it for someone else's room who doesn't have it, and as always - at last resort- pick up a case of high noons for the house. Don't be the guy who rolls in with one sandwich for yourself with a house of 12 people. Send a text and pick up everyones order by the time you arrive Friday afternoon. It will make everyone happy.
D- Lastly ... Don't break shit
It's a funny story , and you'll all likely laugh about it. But in the end it's never worth it. First off , the landlords jack up prices of repairs (more on that later), and it's pretty shitty to make everyone lose their security deposit, or expect them to pay repairs when they didn't partake in the damage, even worse if they weren't there at the time.
Back to the jacked up prices. Here's a few screen shots from my friends Steve, Donnie Damage, Petey Marlins, and Paul "Dontnudgemebro " from way back in the day- circa 10 years ago.
The $75 toothbrush holder will never not be funny, and still gets talked about to this day, however a major bill is a major bill and all those laughs eventually wear off when you have to pony up a shitload of money … UNLESS you do it the summer before Hurricane Sandy and while the landlord is hounding you for the money, the house sadly gets destroyed and rebuilding the house becomes the priority instead of the chipped kitchen sink. Amazingly, these guys got off scott free. Didn't pay a dime, also never got a house again. Retired on top. Well unless of course you ask Steve's mom who famously sent him this text when she learned of the charges and damages to the house .
Hysterical. Speaks for itself.
Moral of the story, try not to break shit unless you bank on a hurricane miraculously saving you from all charges… but I would never bet on that. Be respectful , don't break shit especially if it's not your house.
Now … here's some additional advice from some people retired from the game for all you young folks. Some of it overlaps, but non the less it's all very valuable. Take your time and read it, learn it, memorize it, and live it. Send it in your chats and get everyone on board, the quicker you learn by the rules the faster you enjoy the summer without any hiccups.
Without further ado …. here's that advice . Warning this will be lengthy but worth it . Lastly this logic and advice can apply to cape houses or Hamptons houses as well . Here you go :
- "Two things are like gold down there. Ice and toilet paper."
TOP Notch advice from a vet in the game. Should almost be a fucking tshirt it's so good.
Additional advice from KFC :
" Not too realistic but best to do them single. Couples always fight. Also I think you should factor into the cost just a couple hundred extra bucks to have the organizer do a huge fresh direct order to start things off. You'll end living like animals, but in the beginning having cold cuts and burgers and food and drinks starts it right."
- " Never show up empty handed. If you're the first one to arrive park on the street and not in the driveway. 5 minute showers at the max. Always restock the TP. Don't be cheap, if you're in the house you chip in for everything. If you don't live there don't touch the music. No half shares allowed, full share or go sleep in the street. If you didn't stock the fridge don't go in it. If you don't pay rent don't touch the AC. If you are a guest don't invite randoms."
- " Always bring beer, clean up after yourself, don't take without asking, don't invite random people and if you do keep it minimal."
John aka "Seabiscuit"
- "Get there early if you want a bed to sleep on. Drunk snacks to come home to are a must (for me it's Pizza rolls). "
- " My only rule of a share house (skell term) is the man who works with the owner , collets the money, and books it- gets first pick at which bedroom he wants."
- "Someone in the house should take one for the team and work at one of the bars to establish relationships for summer. If times are tough money wise, be the first one to the house so no one sees what you walk in with. When your friend that always does the right thing comes with two thirty packs help him empty the car and walk in like a hero. Find a bartender you like and don't stray away. Make sure your fucking AC works, and always have a back up, "I've seen relationships ruined because of this" Last piece of advice- throw a Jock Jams party."
- "No such thing as half shares they are either never there at all or there every weekend."
- "Don't be the guy who leaves at the crack of dawn Sunday morning high tailing it out of there with 100 fucking half full and empty beer cans around the house. If you have a race car bed in your house you are guaranteed to get laid. Sisters are off limits."
- " Know your role in the shore house, the music guy plays the music, the drinking games guy starts the drinking games. If you are in a house with couples or girls in general , single guys get last pick of the beds."
DJ Chris Camp
- "If you are the first one at the house take two spots so someone else can park. Driveway is off limits if you have to leave throughout the weekend. Ask the house before you bring outside friends. Don't expect people to be quiet, if you got work in the morning go home. Make friends with every neighbor. If you finish something replace it.
- " When someone asks you to go to Parker house.. go. When a lifeguard wants you to blow his back out, do it. Houses with coworkers suck. Always stay the extra day. Get the house breakfast after a night of drinking."
Pat always has a way with words.. thanks Pat
- " Add up how many people in the house and bring a 12 pack per person. No stealing linens. And put your name on your towels, there's always a towel thief."
- Glenny Balls
- "Never fall in love at the Jersey Shore and make sure you have a strict drunk sing a long playlist for the post game."
3.4 balls for going with the most cliche line of all time.
Connor the Zebra
-" Tip your bartenders, introduce yourself to your neighbors, take the first parking spot you see Don't be a skell and don't get jammed up."
- " Bring extra air conditioners, if you bring beer, bring ice. Don't piss off the local cops. D'Jais happy hour is way more fun than D'Jais late night. Don't fall in love at the Jersey Shore."
Joey Task Force
- "Nothing good happens after midnight."
The Koala Girls
- " Don't use the dining room as a bedroom. Stock up on water. Buy cheap shoes for the bars. Make friends with your neighbors they can become your bff's and help take out your trash. Holiday weekends are the worst, but the weekends after them are the best. Finally, help clean up on Labor Day if you crashed there all summer."
Jimmy from Brooklyn
- " No half shares. If you happen to be allowed and go near a bed expect to be tortured in your sleep."
Sean (40+ years old, has had a shore house 20+ years)
- "What I tell everyone who's getting a shore house is to remind them it's not a hotel, you need to bring your own sheets , towel etc and Liquor for you and the house. Any guest coming down has to bring a bottle for every night they plan on staying. When going out to any bar down there be polite to everyone who works there because that will help you out when you need it. Always tip the bartenders, minimum $1 per drink each round. If they buy you back, add a few more. Always say hello and goodbye to the door guys - if there's a line they will likely remember you as a good person and they will let you in."
- " Bring an extra pair of bed sheets."
- " The ocean cures all hangovers. Don't go to Bar A. Take up two spots if you get there early. Hook up on your friends bed. Never step on the sidewalk with alcohol. Make friends with the cops. Don't take a shit in your neighbors garbage pail. Don't leave bikes unattended even though you stole the bikes to begin with. Don't leave spray a fire hydrant in your friends room. Sleep sitting up if you have work in the morning. If you piss in a girls bed blame it on her. Always tip the booze delivery guy. Lastly, if you are worried about getting sued for damages- don't worry a natural disaster will cover you."
Kid is a lunatic, but he does have experience. Read his words kids -they can help you.
- " If you are visiting someone's house : Bring a 30 of beer for the house. Don't show up unannounced. Don't be the guy that gets too drunk at the bar forcing one of the people in the house to leave the bar and take you back to the house. If you have a shower or use the bathroom to get ready make it quick. Lastly, don't be an inconvenience to those who actually paid to live in the beach house."
- " Get a shore house with a driveway or a parking spot."
- "No half shares"
- " Tip the bartender 20 first thing so they hook you up, otherwise you will be waiting forever for a drink."
I also collected some of the best replies on twitter :
I realize that's lengthy but like I said the more you read, the more you learn and the more enjoyable the summer is. Trust those that came before you, they have done it, screwed it up, learned from it, and got better for it. Trust it.
Now lastly, I promised advice for D'Jais first timers as well. I have compiled info from bartenders who work there and used to work there, promoters , regulars, and past regulars. This should be considered a bible of info for all you first timers. It should go without saying the rules of the dance contest will be and will always be :
1- gotta be dancing
2- gotta be smiling
3- gotta be shaking that ass
4- you can't pick yourself
Here's my quick advice which likely gets said by tons of other people here ;
A- Be aware of surroundings
There will be fights. Have your head on a swivel or you could catch yourself in the middle of a scrap of haymaykers , or worse bouncers haymakers.
Take care of your bartenders. It's super simple. Regulars always have a better time than those who don't tip. Also, D'Jais is packed from 11am - 2am every weekend. These bartenders work fast despite being exhausted. Respect the hustle.
D- Enjoy every second, and save a few Mondays off work to enjoy Sundays
You are only 21-25 once in your life. Leave your troubles in the trunk of your car wherever you park it, and once it hits Friday at 5pm enjoy it the best you can. Also … Sunday is so underrated. Bang out of work on a Monday a few times so you can enjoy Sunday night and then sit on the beach Monday without a care in the world.
Now here's some additional advice from some experts and veterans and staff and regulars :
Fun Anthony - current DJais promoter and Director of fun
- " Come early, lines will be long and not everyone can have Rico Bo$co privileges. Pace yourself aka stay hydrated by mixing in a water every few drinks. Eat before you start drinking. Tip your bartenders, cash is king, no credit cards at DJais just the atm, and guys - keep off the stage."
Kenny Hammer (former West Bar bartender)
- "Don't bang on the blinds. Don't touch the bartender. Always have cash. Hold your money out when ordering a drink. Don't argue with the bartender. Don't wear open toe shoes. Order your drinks all at once. DO NOT WAIT FOR THE BARTENDER TO COME BACK AFTER MAKING DRINKS AND THEN ORDER MORE."
Slim Cooper (Former West Bar bartender)
- " Cash only always. Have it out ready. If you are harassing the bartender you better have your order ready. Don't touch the blinds ever. You cannot pick yourself. Do not touch, tap or poke the bartender, if they aren't serving you that sure isn't going to help. Tip your bartender every single order. Don't assume what the price is. Gotta be dancing, gotta be smiling, gotta be shaking that ass."
Ashley (current D'Jais bartender)
- " Cash only, have your money ready when you order drinks. Order all your drinks together. Tip your bartenders. It's a grail… not a rail, not a holy grail. Oh and I highly suggest closed toe shoes."
Christine (current D'Jais bartender)
- " Never wear flip flops to D'Jais."
Red Eye (D'Jais bartender)
-" Cash only. Have your drink order and money ready when it's busy. No we still don't take credit cards even if you ask 5 times.Let the barback through the crowd (they are carrying ice and beer). Gotta be dancing,gotta be smiling, gotta be shaking that ass and don't pick yourself."
Some various other pieces of advice through my dm's and texts:
- get stamped early
- girls don't you dare wear flip flops , they cannot reiterate this enough.
- don't touch the blinds you will get kicked out
- arrive early on holiday weekends
- pick a bar and stick with it
- bring cash (did we cover that)
- get a VIP card
- if the shirts and hats are cool on the dance contest and you want one as a guy wait until towards the end of the dance contest. Don't push, don't shove. They only pick guys in the last 5 shirts.
Additional advice from those on Twitter :
Well ..that should just about cover everything you need to know to get you through your first summer shore house as well as your first trip to D'Jais.
In closing, remember to enjoy it- it's a short window you can act like an animal in your 20's.. trust me. Lastly, shore houses and going to D'Jais is a tradition thats gone on for the last 50-60 years. Cherish that you get that opportunity and make the most of it. Laugh, break chops with your buddies, slam grails, go to the beach, make memories and enjoy your summer.
Here's some D'Jais photos that make me feel old, but show back in my day I could hang with the best of them.
Again, read these words above and put this wisdom into your own life. Thank you to all who contributed.
God, Country… D'Jais ,
Rico Bo$co … A West Bar Soldier
PS- a summer playlist for your drive down :