Scott Keenan has fond memories of spending summers down the shore. Originally from Philadelphia, Scott and his family opened Keenan’s North Wildwood with the slogan “where all neighborhoods still meet” in an effort to share the Jersey Shore experience with others. For nearly twenty years people from all parts of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and beyond have flocked to the one-acre venue on Olde New Jersey Avenue to enjoy a cold beer and the summer sunshine with friends and family. Heady Times sat down with Scott Keenan to learn more about what makes his bar a top summer destination.
Heady Times (HT): What made you decide to open your bar in Wildwood?
Scott Keenan (SK): Wildwood was our family retreat. Every year after school let out for summer break we would head down the shore and spend the entire summer there. I fell in love with the bar business working summers at a bar called Ollie’s Pub, Even my summers off as a teacher were spent working down the shore.
HT: How are you celebrating your 20th season in business?
SK: To honor our milestone, we teamed up with Double Nickel Brewery to create two exclusive beers, a session IPA and a summer lager. Our anniversary house beers can be enjoyed at Keenan’s all summer long.
HT: Each year you have a huge event on Memorial Day weekend to “open the shore”. Tell us more about it.
SK: On the Friday before Memorial Day we open up the bar at 6am for Eggs with Peg (my mother). Preston and Steve from Philadelphia’s WMMR broadcast their show live and we have a huge party to kick off the summer season. Coors Light sponsors the event and it gets bigger and better each year.
HT: How do you stay successful as a seasonal business?
SK: We are only open about four months out of the year and many uncontrollable factors, like weather, can play a role. Because of this we have to run a tight ship. I work closely with the Kramer Beverage sales team to determine which products to bring in for the season; I only want what will sell well. Working together as partners has served me well so far. We took in Twisted Tea very early on at their suggestion, and now we are one of the top on-premise accounts in the country for the brand.
HT: Keenan’s is closely connected to the community. How do you give back?
SK: We started the Keenan’s Scholarship in memory of my father who passed away in 2010. He was a very giving person and always wanted to see other people happy. Each year we give away $25,000 in scholarships, sponsorships, and donations.