The Hook is an entertainment venue full of intimacy, history and one-of-a-kind experiences

The Hook, Atlantic City
The Hook’s grand opening was in July.

The coastal town of Atlantic City has been going through a renaissance in terms of entertainment in the past few years, and to add to the mix is one new concept that ties together dining, drinking and experience—with a little intimate psychedelic influence. 

The Hook is a new concept by Spiegelworld, an entertainment company founded by innovative entrepreneur Ross Mollison. Currently, the group has successful shows in Las Vegas (like OPM, Absinthe and the Atomic Saloon Show) but The Hook is their first show in AC. And the concept was focused here after Mollison had a conversation with the CEO of Caesars Entertainment, and they talked about expanding Spiegelworld’s reach around the country.

“There’s incredible interest in developing the properties that are there at the moment, and it’s not just Caesars Entertainment,” explains Mollison. “There is literally billions of dollars going into [Atlantic City]. And I think that’s in part due to the migration of people from cities to the Jersey Shore over the last four or five years, and I think there’s a lot more demand for restaurants and live entertainment in that area.”

The Hook
Ross MollisonMikayla Whitmore

For Mollison, the next steps included figuring out what the brand of New Jersey and more specifically, Atlantic City would look like for Spiegelworld. 

“It’s just so beautiful there and I think a lot of people who don’t go there a lot just don’t realize how beautiful it is,” Mollison continued. “You see the cycles that some of these boardwalk towns have been through and I’d always been drawn to them. I’ve always loved the carnival and the circus and the end of the pier. I love history, I love old buildings, and it’s tragic that the Warner Theater was torn down, but it’s incredible. The facades are still there…So, let’s restore it, fix it, and build a theater there.”

As Mollison says, The Hook now sits in the former home of AC’s previous historic venue, The Warner Theater, which originally opened in 1929. And that’s par for the course for Spiegelworld, which was built on a love of intimate entertainment that brings out-of-this-world experiences to everyone who walks through the door.

The entertainment company gets its name from Spiegeltents, which have been around in Europe for over a hundred years. And Mollison took his time working with Cirque du Soleil among other inspirations to open the Spiegelworld’s first show in New York City over a decade ago, and the concept has been growing ever since. 

“Part of our dream is always to integrate really great hospitality, delicious cocktails and a delicious restaurant into what we do, which we did down there in New York. And that’s also what we’re doing in Atlantic City.”

The Hook’s centerpiece is its show, which is described as a comedy burlesque made for adults, which will call the venue’s 450 seat theater home. 

The Hook

“It looks back to the history and the origins of vaudeville and it looks forward to where the circus will go in the future. And so we incorporate new acts that we’ve only just been dreaming up over the course of the years, and also we look at old skills that were in the circus to make it incredibly exciting,” explains Mollison. “The whole thing is packaged with this incredible focus on comedy and then you’re getting these absolutely virtuosic moments of the circus being presented before you.”

And you can do it all with a cocktail in your hand and some pizza being served to you as well. The Hook will also incorporate dining into its experience, but there are a few ways to go down that path. While watching the show, visitors can indulge in a craft cocktail or order pizza from the venue’s restaurant, Superfrico. Or, you can opt to dine at the restaurant for a full sit-down meal. 

To get to the Italian-American psychedelic dining experience that is Superfrico, visitors will have to walk through the theater into the backstage area to enter— because it’s located in the dressing room of the theater. 

“Because you’re in the dressing rooms, the artists are coming in and going out—but it’s not like you have to sit there and the lights go down and you have to watch a whole show,” says Mollison. “But you do get to meet some of the artists from the show as they’re on their way from the dressing rooms to the stage.”

You can head to The Hook to see just the show, or just to dine at Superfrico. The menu at the dining establishment “pays tribute to generations of Old World Italian cooks by filtering a treasure trove of family heirloom recipes through a modern, globally-conscious lens.” Aka, diners can indulge in dishes such as salmon crudo, crab gravy pasta, chicken parm, Heritage pork milanese, lobster vodka fra diavolo, an assortment of pizza, sweets like fennel ice cream and more. 

And the cocktails set their own stage here as well. Mollison cites an old NYC bar that he used to live above called Milk and Honey as the blueprint for the cocktail program at The Hook’s dining venues. 

The Hook

“I just imagine a world that when you go to the theater, you have incredible cocktails,” says Mollison “But also, imagine a world where you’ve got a restaurant next to a theater next to where the circus is playing, where they know how long the show is running and they know you’re in the show. So you’re not gonna be late. Imagine a world in which you’re halfway through your bill and they say, listen, the show starts soon. Why didn’t you come back after the show for dessert?”

That intimate vibe is felt throughout The Hook’s entirety, even in the venue’s other two stops, the Horse Dive Bar and Cheval de Plongée. The former is a boutique bar serving up beers and craft cocktails in the lobby and the latter is a breezy new boîte located on the Atlantic City Boardwalk next to the establishment’s main entrance. 

Both the Horse and Cheval are available to stop by whether you want to attend the show or not. And sticking to the theme of history, they play into the local history of AC (which involved diving horses.) 

The whole venue is meant to be an experience, whether you are just grabbing a drink at the bar, ordering a sandwich to go to take down to the beach, or you’re looking to get the full experience of the show. The Hook is meant to do what’s in its name—hook people in no matter what they are looking for, and keep them coming back.

“Ultimately it’s about making it unique. But that’s where I think the intimacy is important because it leads to an emotional response,” finishes Mollison. “Sometimes it could be tears, [or] you could be watching somebody on stage that’s so beautiful in their artistry that you just can’t believe it. Or you could be laughing your guts out because there’s something else happening. But once you get that emotional response as well, then you know you’ve really got people there.”

The Hook

The Hook’s (1909 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey) showtimes will be 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The Horse Dive Bar will run from noon to midnight Wednesday through Sunday, and Cheval de Plongée will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, visit