St. Patrick’s Day Cheer in Ocean Beach Fire Island
March 25, 2013
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!
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
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!
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
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
Escape the sweaty solstice in the city and head east to Fire Island for everything you need: cool beach breezes, sun-kissed surf, and massive margaritas. Neighboring the city that never sleeps, Fire Island boasts reputable restaurants and nightlife spirited with that northeast coastal flavor.
Cherry Grove For a complete list of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines bars, restaurants, and nightlife please visit CherryGrove.com
The Casino Cafe 631-597-6150
The Casino Café and Bar is the place to see and be seen in Davis Park. This eatery is where residents come to get a decent meal, a few too many drinks, and hobnob the night away. A safe bet, this establishment is the only bar and grill in town. Atop the beachfront sand dune, The Casino offers a great view of both the ocean and bay. We recommend the sea scallops, mango and seared tuna, and the roasted Long Island duck.
Le Dock 631-583-5200
The fact that Fair Harbor survives with only one bar and grill is a testament to the delicious eats at Patrick Adam’s Le Dock. The establishment proves, like all things Fire Island, quality can be served up at a casual beach joint. The setting is cozy, yet airy and boasts one of the best views in town overlooking the bay at sunset. We recommend the Carpaccio, curried bluefish, and the never flawed Le Dock burger. Kismet
Surf’s Out surfsoutfireisland.com 631.583.7400 Bay Walk, Kismet, NY 11706 The Surf’s Out Restaurant is Kismet, Fire Island’s premier waterfront restaurant and club, serving up new world cuisine, Italian specialties, fresh seafood, and a spectacular sushi menu. It features a fabulous sunset dining deck with the most majestic view of the water, and an air-conditioned indoor dining room. The water wall behind its extensive bar adds the perfect ambience. Appetizers range from $8.; entrées, $15. Formerly known as The Out, a longtime institution of Kismet, Surf’s Out is a newly renovated waterfront venue that welcomes visitors to the island by boat (marina, or ferry) or by land (walk the beach past the historic Fire Island Lighthouse.) The restaurant’s Surf Club provides a lively summertime atmosphere in an outdoor courtyard, specializing in theme nights and summer-fun daytime events. Both host live music, happy hours, DJ’s and dancing entertainment.
The Kismet Inn & Marina 631-583-5592
For 25 years the Kismet Inn has been the gathering place for natives crowning it as Fire Island landmark. The Inn is a time-honored reliable locale for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks. A mix of summer locals and tourists get loose on the expansive bay side outer deck as the sun goes down. The Inn retains its classic Fire Island charm with the help of the coveted jukebox. Ocean Bay Park
The crowd at this monumental restaurant on the bay is casual and diverse. Early evening welcomes families, couples, and singles for dinner while watching the sunset over the bay. After dinner, a younger, rowdier, mainland crew heads to Flynn’s to bring on the night. The hard-core party crowd seems to flock here from all other towns and DJs liven up the dance floor on Friday and Saturday nights. Reggae music is featured early Sunday evening. We recommend the grilled tuna with soy-ginger glaze and cucumber relish or the marinated grilled shrimp.
Read a review of Flynn’s.
Hurricane’s Bar and Grill at the Fire Island Hotel 631-583-8000
This ocean eatery serves poolside lunches and dinners at the Fire Island Hotel. The Hurricane is an easy choice for hotel guests and informed Ocean Bay Park residents. With a varied nightly menu, the recommended entrees include dijon rack of lamb, sesame seared tuna, and cashew encrusted salmon.
Overlooking the Ocean Bay Park marina, Schooners offers a spacious and vibrant bar to hang at while you set your worries a sail. Schooner’s never vies for your attention or tries to get cute, which is what is so endearing about the old school Fire Island haunt. At times, the crowd tends to skew a bit older, but that only adds to the neighborhood feel. Schooner’s is also a popular Inn that provides both kayaking and bike rentals.
The Inn Between 631-583-0111
While Flynn’s gets rowdy, the Inn Between keeps it’s cool. Known to house many Point O’ Woods kids jumping the fence for a night out, The Inn Between is everything that Flynn’s isn’t: a friendly and familiar alternative to an aggressive night out. Offering the best brunch in Ocean Bay Park, the Inn is second to none.
(631) 583-5800 620 Baywalk, Ocean Beach Fire Island, New York The Landing is the newest addition to the town of Ocean Beach. Located in Front of Ferry Dock, this is one of the best locations in town. We are going to gather some feedback and write a review on this restaurant shortly.
Designed with dark wood, dim lanterns, and even graffiti-covered walls in the back this place is a crowd pleaser. A mainstay in Ocean Beach, the scene is a blend of young ‘uns and family types and holds the possibility that you’ll spot someone you know. The outer deck facing the street is the best seat in town for people watching. We recommend the cajun calamari, French onion soup, tuna steak sandwich, or the burger.
Bocce Beach 631-583-8100
This oversized dining hall is the perfect place for large parties and share house buddies looking to eat out. A true carnivore’s destination, Bocce is famous for it’s rib, steak, and veal entrees. Be sure to stop in for rib night on Wednesdays and Sundays. A little roomier than most Ocean Beach bars, no one will cramp your style while you grove or throw darts. Although most bars in Ocean Beach are dominated by young 20 something’s, Bocce consistently draws all ages.
The owner of the local ice cream shops, Scoops and Beaches and Cream has a sweet craving for the bar scene. Castaway re-opened in 2007 and is now, one of two bars that are open all year round. It provides a much-needed break from the same old scene that is widespread on weekends. A dependable place for a low-key lunch, dinner, or drinks, Castaway is warm and welcoming, and the friendly faces will keep you coming back. A few cocktails inevitably ends the night at 4 am as weekenders spill out onto the streets and beeline to Town Pizza for some late-night noshing.
Regulars have been coming here for ages, especially, in the off-season as it used to be the only place open all year round. In the heat of the summer, CJ’s caters to parched singles seeking to quench their thirst on rocket fuel, the house drink. Not particularly well known for a decadent menu CJ’s serves up some no fuss favorites such as burgers and heroes.
The Hideaway at Housers Hotel 631-583-7805
The Hideaway never disappoints. This establishment has the essence of a French bistro and serves up outstanding and consistent food. The Hideaway boasts some of the best service in town and an incredible view of the bay. Fresh herbs are grown on the premise garnishing each plate adding to that home-style appeal. Signature dishes include seafood pasta, the tequila lime ribs, lobster roll, and the flawless burger. Also boasts a lovely brunch featuring lemon ricotta pancakes that will melt in your mouth.
Houser’s Bar and Grill 631-583-7805
A cult classic of Fire Island nightlife, we were in talks about keeping this favorite haunt off the list for selfish reasons. Housers lures you in like bait and will hold you captive until booted out at closing. Classic rock booms through cabin like walls, while the Island’s finest throw darts and play pool. Surfboards hanging from the ceiling set the stage for the gang that gathers here. Sip your brew on the hushed outer deck overlooking the bay. This bar will authenticate that Fire Island experience.
Island Mermaid 631-583-8088.
It’s all about the location at the Island Mermaid. An expansive outdoor deck commands a view of the Ocean Beach Ferry dock. Aside from a little exhaust inhalation at docking, the new fair American cuisine will have you reminiscing about winters spent in Key West. Try the bacon wrapped meatloaf, catfish roulade, or the stuffed pork loin. After sunset, the Mermaid is often victim to the “girls night out” types. The cookie-cutter crowd might bring on the urge to be double fisting. You’re in good hands, bartender and local surfing guru Jamie Raguso is a master mixologist.
If you’re looking to go out with a big group, celebrate a birthday, or get to know your fellow share housers, Maguire’s is perfect. Near the west edge of town, Maguire’s is the site to enjoy the sunset over the bay. Whether dining on the deck or the cabin inside, try the seared ahi tuna, the “drunken” pork chops, the Alaskan king crab, or the classic Lobster dinner. Post-dinner, this place becomes a happening spot to get your drink on. Most known for the late-night crowd and disco dancing Maguire’s will have a second coming after 1pm.
Matthew’s Seafood 631-583-8016
A Fire Island classic, this cozy bar and restaurant has a home-like feel that will drift your worries away. The exposed wood beams, rustic tables, and candle-lit deck surroundings add to its charisma. This long-standing seafood destination offers a new outlook on the catch of the day. We recommend the baked clams, seafood bisque, and coconut shrimp. Watch out for margarita madness Thursdays, where a wild crowd doubles down on fishbowl sized margaritas. Matthews also has a fish market in front for the best take-out lunches – fried chicken, and lobster rolls with chips, packaged in carrying cases for the beach or home.
Read A Review Of Matthews
Michael’s Italian Restaurant 631-597-6555
Bring the entire family for a hefty pasta dinner or gourmet pizza pie. Michael’s is located on the east end of town, just past the Ocean beach marina. A meal at Michael’s is sure to satiate that seafaring appetite. If you have a hankering for something a little heartier than the seafood spread, Michael’s is your go-to.
Part bakery, part homage to your Mom’s cooking, Rachel’s is the comfort food joint on the island. Melt-in-your-mouth pastries are served to go from dawn to dusk. Sit down and unfasten your top button as you fill your belly with a hearty omelet, seasoned jerk chicken, or burly slice of meatloaf. Rachel’s serves up a packed house for a marathon brunch that unravels into all-day eating.
Read A Review Of Rachel’s
Sand Bar 631-583-0388
Designed to resemble the Fire Island Ferry this fresh faced bar is the spot for live music and theme nights. The décor is a tribute to Fire Island including radio flyer wagons and Fire Island Lighthouse logos. The menu offers an array of wraps, sandwiches, and burgers. Entertainment is the draw to this chill-out bar; board games, live music, and theme nights such as Woodstock Weekend and Lifeguard Night keep the Sand Bar bustling. There’s always something going on.
Town Pizza 631-583-7774
There’s only one slice that matters on this island. Whether you’re in need for a post surf session snack or a late-night noshing, a Town pie is seriously satisfying. Consistently filled to capacity, this casual eatery speaks for itself. Don’t fret about the line; there is a method to the madness, which will put a slice in your hand before you know it. Delivery on request.
The Pines For listings and reviews of the Pines dining check out: CherryGrove.com
The Pier Restaurant 631-597-6655
Situated in the heart of the Watch Hill Marina complex, The Pier is a quintessential Fire Island eatery. Adorned with nautical flags, wood beams, and photographs of old sailboats the décor adds to the sea swept setting. Offering an eclectic American menu, the top pick entrees include the best entrees include chicken and shrimp pancetta, and the seafood fra divalo over linguini and the crisp skinned duck. The adjoining Tiki Bar offers a refuge from the sun and is the celebrated Watch Hill watering hole.
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.