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Cameo Bar to Keep its Iconic Cameos



There may be a new buyer taking over the well-known Cameo Bar on Main Street in Asbury Park but little change will be made to the bar’s iconic interior, which was filmed for a 1988 Mickey Rourke movie, “Homeboy.”

John McGillion, owner of Johnny Mac House of Spirits at the other end of Main Street, is under contract to purchase the Cameo, 1213 Main St. between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.

McGillion said he is not changing the interior of the Cameo other than to make bathroom improvements and put in a walk-in box cooler.

“I am not changing the interior at all. I recognize that it is unique with the cameos on the walls and other features. It’s different and I like the interior so I expect to make no changes,” he said.

McGillion recently purchased the former Adriatic Restaurant on Kingsley Street, and is renovating it.

Angela Dottore, who is selling the bar to McGillion, said the Cameo has been in her family for almost 50 years. Her Aunt Irene Hall purchased and operated the bar for 35 years. Dottore’s family then inherited the bar and she moved to Asbury Park to run it for the past 14 years.

“I moved here to keep it going and, back then, property here was worth nothing. But it’s just time to go- to let somebody else take it to that next level and make it nice,” she said.

And she said that McGillion seems to be a good buyer for the Cameo.

“I am sure he will make it nice,” she said.

Dottore said she does not know if the bar existed prior to her aunt purchasing it.

“I don’t know if it was a bar before that and I was not there when my aunt purchased it,” she said.

The bar, with its Art Deco design, is also probably the oldest continually-operated bar left in the city, according to Dottore. Much Cameo Bar memorabilia hangs above the bar today.

Dottore said that in the movie “Homeboy” Mickey Rourke can be seen dancing on the bar and that other Cameo features were also filmed, including the front door.

“That door is pretty old and beat up now but that’s why we still try to fix it up and keep it there,” she said.

Dottore said that the film crew pretty much broke down the Cameo’s furnishings to shoot the movie.

“But Aunt Irene made them put it back the same,” she said.

As for the future, Dottore said she will keep her options open, adding she has a condo in Florida that she will probably visit more.

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