By Rachel Sunshine

Now with spring officially in the air the prospect of summer is a satisfying reality. For the already bustling town of Ocean Beach, summer dreaming hit full blast for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Though the weather slightly cooler than years past, the ferry delivered plenty of warm, anxious faces. With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a weekend again, a day at the beach was an ideal retreat.

Though the bars did not open until noon, many came early to check out the beach and stroll the familiar walks. As always The Albatross opened for it’s first day of the season, a tradition for long over a decade. Jimmy Mallot, owner of the Albatross, and Mayor of Ocean Beach, set out his customary corn beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread for his patrons. Son James Mallot and son-in-law Peter Hasemann worked the bar for an eager crowd.

Across the green, Castaway turned up the cheer for the long awaited celebration. Castaway, open year round, with much to accomplish, was able to reopen their doors six weeks after the storm. Anxious as always to have his friends at his bar, owner Jon Randazzo, was especially thrilled to see so many familiar faces who journeyed out for the St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Jason Bendicksen and Rachel Sherman sported their green Ocean Beach Fire Department tees behind the bar. Castaway remained open for dinner and drinks long after the last boat for all those still in The St. Patty’s mood.

Besides the usual Ocean Beach goers, The Riverview of Oakdale chartered a private ferry for their yearly Fire Island field trip. In for a more exclusive and scenic celebration many familiar faces bar hopped around Ocean Beach enjoying the sand and sun as well. Though always an anticipated occasion, the guests and bar-staff alike were overjoyed in being reunited with spring’s presence once again, looking forward to another summer season at the beach!

Fire Island Summer 2013 Fire Island 2013 Fire Island Summer 2013 Fire Island Summer 2013 Fire Island Summer 2013

The Palms Hotel Group, owners of The Palms Hotel Fire Island, announced that they are the official new owners of CJ’s bar & restaurant.

Bay Shore, NY. January 12 , 2012

With the beach feel charm of CJ’s the new owners plan on giving the facilities a modern update. Laura Mercogliano owner of The Palms Hotel Group stated, “We want to maintain the aura of the famous eatery, but at the same time we plan on giving the space some subtle upgrades…” The locals of Ocean Beach love the eatery, and the new owners would like to keep that homey, authentic feel.

The devastation of Hurricane Sandy dragged in four feet of ocean water into the building, the new owners are just excited to put that behind them and rebuild. The community of Ocean Beach has already started to feel home again and many local businesses plan to be up and running by Mother’s Day Weekend.

About CJ’s Bar & Restaurant
Open since 1971 CJ’s named after the original owners son has been a staple to the Ocean Beach Community. Best known for as being “The home of the Rocket Fuel” The restaurant which is one of the few that have been open year round since the 70s has the feeling of “cheers” where you walk in and everyone does know your name.

About The Palms Hotel Group
The Palms Hotel has been open on Ocean Beach since 2005. Going from one location on Bay Walk to now 5 all around the town of Ocean Beach. Expanding to a new location each year, guests of the hotel can stay in rooms with accommodations of twopeople to full cottages with four bedrooms, full kitchens and living rooms. For more information please visit www.palmshotelfireisland.com

The Palms Hotel Group
168 Cottage Walk
PO Box 431
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
(631) 583-8870
www.palmshotelfireisland.com

The Palms Fire Island CJ's

 

By Rachel Sunshine

Summer’s end became clear over the last few weeks. Every weekend a different restaurant closed their doors with anticipation of a peaceful off-season followed by an early spring. CJ’s also closed the last weekend in September, but with much more emotion then any other establishment on Fire Island has endured. On September 30th, 7pm the doors were closed with a definite sense of finality.

For over 30 years, CJ’s has often been the sole year-round bar and dining establishment on Fire Island, with very little change in atmosphere or clientele and been a treasured staple to the community of Ocean Beach. Known to many as “The Home of the Rocket Fuel,” an invention of frozen hard liquor concoction became synonymous with CJ’s and Fire Island in general. CJ’s was simple and that is why it was wonderful.  It was a menu on the wall, bottles of beer on the bar kind of place. Whether just to shoot the breeze after work, indulge in a lobster meal with the family, or throw some late night darts with friends, you could always count on CJ’s for the drinks flowing, people laughing, and the music rocking.

John “Giovanni” Palermo opened CJ’s in 1971, named after his son, Christopher John. CJ’s was one of two restaurants he operated, the other being Giovanni’s just down the block. By 1979 Giovanni’s closed, but CJ’s remained. In the late 90’s the aging Gio was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The bar’s namesake Christopher John now a grown man was not interested in taking over his father’s business, so Gio bequeathed his bar as well as the traditions and memories it held to his loyal, employee, caretaker, and friend, Joseph Theodore “J.T.” Prolo.

J.T., was in his mid 30’s became the new owner of CJ’s. Giovanni did not will CJ’s to J.T. without thought. This young man was the one Giovanni saw fit to take on not just a bar, but also the responsibilities of community and tradition that came with CJ’s, and that he did. The place kept its rustic beach charm for well over a decade. One change J.T. did see fitting was to enlarge CJ’s space. Soon after he took over the bar in 1997, the East wall of the pub was taken out expanding the bar to a full horseshoe and creating a second front entrance. No matter how much bigger CJ’s became it was constantly packed to the brim.

J.T. was that classic, generous, good guy with a witty sense of humor. He loved his friends and most importantly his family. Though J.T. had a busy and successful bar to run all year he made time to visit his sisters and nieces across the country, as well as his mother and late father.  J.T. was always to be caught with his younger cousins Phillip and Henry whom he was a role model too.  The abundant and infinite love for this one man was most prominently though grievingly shown on April 2, 2011 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church for J.T. passed away on March 21st, shortly after undergoing treatments for pancreatic cancer and only in his early 50’s, leaving behind multitudes of mournful friends at CJ’s.

CJ’s remained open as always, kept up by his loyal friends and bartenders until J.T.’s mother, Lori Prolo set up shop in Ocean Beach, keeping the bar alive. Even in the shadow of loss and grief that lingered throughout Ocean Beach, the patrons of CJ’s carried on for Giovanni and J.T., and kept the good times going.

At summer’s end of 2011 Mother Lori planned to return to her winter residence and come back the following summer, which broached the question would CJ’s be open for the winter? Apart from two sets of brief winter months for minor renovations CJ’s had been open every winter since the 70’s. Jennifer Moritz, close life-long friend of J.T. and wife of Mathew Morano, owner of Mathew’s Seafood House, made the decision to stay in Ocean Beach for the winter and run the show. It proved a successful winter and with the following summer of 2012 being momentous for CJ’s and the community. Lori upheld her son’s legacy for two years, but with summer’s end made the decision to close the doors on her son’s behalf. The time for friends, family, and CJ’s to move on had come.

The space that was CJ’s has been leased to Rob Foggo and Ed Werblow, the bar will reopen again in the spring of 2013. Foggo has been a bartender of Bocce Beach for 23 years and Werblow a resident of Ocean Beach for over 20 years who met his wife over Rocket Fuels at CJ’s 12 years ago. These two friends and business partners appreciate the institution that CJ’s was and still can be. Both gentlemen have no other intentions other than to brighten the place up and keep that relaxed feeling it always had. This bar will forever be the “home of the Rocket Fuel” in Ocean Beach.

Note: Castaway Bar and Grill in Ocean Beach will be open for the 1012 / 2013 off-season. Hope to see you there!

By Catrina Christensen

The Long Beach All-Stars kicked off Memorial Day weekend at Houser’s in Ocean Beach last night. Covering a variety of Led Zeppelin songs, young and old locals, tourists, and even the staff were rocking out. It was a ton of fun just dancing around, playing darts, and of course, sipping on a zippy. The band and everyone at Houser’s had such a fun, carefree time that it went on into the early hours in the morning. As always, the owners did a great job picking a band to entertain everyone. I’m looking forward to more great bands and fun times at Houser’s this summer!

Fire Island BandsFire Island Bars

 

The Village of Ocean Beach, Fire Island

The unofficial capital of Fire Island, Ocean Beach is a 600-home community with the greatest concentration of bars, restaurants and stores on the entire island. Overflowing with small-town charm reminiscent of a simpler time, main street walks are lined with mom and pop markets and boutiques. Local children sell painted shell souvenirs out of red radio-flyer wagons. Just outside of town, Ocean Beach walkways are lined with traditional summer cottages that are both home to longtime Fire Island families and home away from home for many share-house transients.

We have selected a few of our Ocean Beach favorites to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

Fire Island’s Best

Ocean Beach Restaurants and Bars

Albatross
 
320 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach
631-583-5697

Matthew’s 
935 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach
631-583-8016

Houser’s 
785 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach
631-583-8900

CJ’s 
479 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach
631-583-9890

Reviews of Fire Island Restaurants

Ocean Beach Restaurants

Ocean Beach Bars

Over the years a few fire island writers have writer some great reviews, the may be old but these are still pretty darn accurate so we wanted to share them with you. 

Rachel’s Restaurant

Flynn’s Fire Island

The Albatross

The Chowder Bar

Maguire’s Restaurant

Ocean Beach Hotels

Our Pick for Fire Island’s Best hotel is simple. Year after year reviews prove The Palms Hotel in Ocean Beach to be the only place to stay!
This plush boutique resort boasts two locations centered in the village of Ocean Beach. Popular for the luxurious accommodations, the rooms at the Palms are bright and meticulously tended to. The rooms are furnished with the finest amenities including: flat screen TV, Wi-Fi, ipod accessibility, and a refrigerator. The customer service is friendly and incredibly efficient.
The Palms Hotel
631-583-8870

View a full list of Ocean Beach Fire Island Hotels.

To get to Ocean Beach Fire Island you need to jump on Fire Island Ferries Ocean Beach line.  The most recent Ferry Schedule is below:

Fire Island Ferry
Ocean Beach Fire Island Ferry 2013

Check out the complete list of Fire Island Ferries 

Read more about Ocean Beach and other Fire Island towns.

Map of Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach Fire Island Map
Map of Ocean Beach Fire Island

 

Fire Island Bar Hop
By Tegan Smith

Wrecked from the trials and tribulations of the Ocean Beach nightlife? It happens to the best of us, but you’re in luck. Here’s your go to bar hop, so you can avoid fist pumping your way through the wrong scene. Party like a local… Start your night right at home. Get your drink on at your place or a buddy’s share house. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. As the dinner crowd dwindles, you will be sufficiently buzzed to bear the boozing.

Albatross 320 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach This watering hole’s hull of a ship ambiance is fitting for the island feel. Cozy booths close to the bar are conducive to chilling out. Dim lantern lights dangle above the bar and set the mood in this hangout. As the night progresses and the tips add up, the lanterns start to spin (the bar’s trademark) and so does your head. Albatross is a safe bet whether you’re looking to start the night or stay the night.

Matthew’s 935 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach This locals haven is conveniently tucked in a nook at the edge of town. The place is fairly small in size, but makes up for it in personality. Take a swig of your drink out on the deck and watch the boaters pull up on the dock. This no fuss, low-key crowd is all aboard for a good time. Matthew’s is the ideal setting to ease into a big night out.

Houser’s 785 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach Once a best kept secret, Houser’s is well deserved of its title and hype. The music selection is an orchestrated summer blend of classics from The Pixies, Led Zeppelin, and Toots and the Maytals. It is sure to get the body moving. Escape to the “beach” a backyard retreat of sand and night breezes perfect for unwinding. The scene is friendly, but tends to attract a crowd. The contagious energy will have you sucking back a few drinks in no time. Bottom line: the people, character, and vibe will keep you coming back.

CJ’s 479 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach CJ’s is the stomping ground for locals, offseason, but in the heat of the summer this favorite haunt preys on experienced Fire Islanders. Get lit on rocket fuel, the house drink, and the guarantor of a good time. The close quarters adds to the appeal for these partygoers. Get rowdy and you might find yourself bump n’ grindin’ to the DJs selection.

Maguire’s 1 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach. A traditional spot among Fire Islanders, Maguire’s is a staple in the scene and the inevitable end to the evening. Retreat to this hotspot at the first sign that the night might close out. Bust a move on the dance floor or grab a nightcap and head out onto the deck to soak in the sea air. Maguire’s reels in the late night crowd and provides everything you need to retire the night right.

Popular Happy Hour Appetizers of Ocean Beach, Fire Island
By Trevor Smith

If you’re planning to set sail and head to the beaches of Fire Island don’t expect to get paradise at a cheap price. However, if you live in the daily bump and grind that is New York City, an island retreat with a relaxing vibe of the water’s edge can be worth its weight in gold; and what better way to compliment a weekend getaway then tickling your palette with the flavors of summer. So, prepare to drop anchor, shell out some cash, and come aboard to review some of ocean beach’s savory appetizers.

Matthew’s Seafood Restaurant
Tucked away on the corner of the island, and away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip you will find Matthew’s Restaurant, with a bay view dockside. Upon entering you’ll feel a familiar quality, like you just stepped into your relative’s home. This place has history, which adds to its character and you can easily pass hours there chatting with patron’s bar side. The bar tender on call was friendly and knowledgeable with her 25 years experience, and she offered us service promptly. We decided to taste their Buffalo Shrimp that was butter flied, lightly breaded, fried, and accompanied with hot sauce and a mild blue cheese. At $11.00 for seven jumbo shrimp you may want to share this appetizer with a friend, but the robust spicy seasoning left us thinking: do I really have to share? (935 Bay Walk Ocean Beach, NY 11770.

Bocce Beach
Walking into Bocce Beach you can see that this establishment has been given a facelift with it’s strategically placed nautical motifs. But, with most cosmetic fixes, it leaves you feeling that the character and charm with age has been wiped clean from the plate. We sat at the bar and decided to sample a seafood standard, Crab Cakes (fairly priced at $11.00). Service was efficient, but lacked interaction from our bar tender, which matched our first impression of the restaurant. Two hot Crab Cakes came out of the kitchen, unfortunately on a cold plate, which doesn’t help to keep the food warm. The crab cakes were served with a pankco breading (Japanese breadcrumb) and a citrus mayo dip. All around we found the crab cake itself to be enjoyable. Although, we would have preferred a little less salt, which over powered our palette at times. (927 Evergreen Ocean Beach, NY 11770 (631) 583-8100).

The Hideaway
The Hideaway has a classic country French décor with white linen table clothes and glass blue vases throughout. The water’s view makes it a romantic place to grab a cocktail and nibble on an appetizer. Our order was taken by an interactive an energetic young bartender who offered up suggestions on their appetizers and made us feel welcomed. We chose their chili lime ribs, which came to us with a generous half-rack of ribs and a crisp slice of corn bread. This sweet and tangy morsel cost us $13.00 dollars, but was well worth the price with its ample portion that could serve as an entrée. Our only criticism was we couldn’t quit detect the citrus lime flavor in their ribs. All an all the Hideaway lives up to its name and leaves you feeling like you stumbled on an undiscovered treasure (785 Evergreen Walk Ocean Beach, NY 11770).

CJ’s
CJ’s is the only Restaurant open past the summer’s end, and is not big on pretenses. This no fuss restaurant makes it kid friendly and a good place to grab a quick bite or wet your whistle. We kept it simple and ordered their hot wings, which happen to come in a variety of different sauces (Sesame Ginger, Orange Ginger, BBQ, Cajun, and Teriyaki). Our interaction with our bartender was brief, but cordial. The appetizer came with 11 large sized wings and was seasoned with an uneventful helping of plain out of the bottle hot sauce. The wings were not crispy enough for our liking but for it’s price it will serve for a quick fix to fill your belly.
(479 Bay Walk Ocean Beach, NY 11770)

Maguire’s Restaurant
Tuna “Pokie” Tartar ($13.50): Served on a long rectangular plate, this dish featured three medallion shaped molds of chopped tuna tartar, each topped with a deep-fried pot sticker triangle—creating an image reminiscent of tiny sailboats. Avocado scoops, passionfruit puree and wasabi vinaigrette were drizzled around the plate’s perimeter, completing the presentation. The light crispiness of the deep-fried pot stickers, buttery texture of the perfectly ripened avocado, and fresh tuna tartar mingled beautifully, while the two sauces added concentrated sweetness and zing. This appetizer foreshadowed the core culinary theme Maguire’s of Ocean Beach: outstanding ingredients are allowed to shine through, minimally altered.

We wrote this review to highlight some of the more popular happy hour spots. We are also huge fans of: The Albatross, Castaways, and The Sand Bar.