Heading to Rockaway Beach this 4th of July? Or whenever? Check out the latest outdoor drinking spots, starting with a B + B exclusive.
Rockaway Beach Surf Club
Last year the Rockaway Beach Surf Club was a scrappy hybrid: a surfboard storage joint, a workspace for local artisans, an occasional party (and mud wrestling) spot, and in the wake of Sandy, a relief hub. But in the next days, Long Beach native Brandon D’Leo and his partner and neighbor, firefighter Brady Walsh, expect to score a liquor license that will allow them to turn their concrete patio into a proper beer garden.
D’Leo has built benches and a bar for beachgoers who want to drop by for a mixed drink and some empanadas, but he wants to keep this a “grassroots community space” for outdoor film screenings, performances by local DJs and musicians, and art exhibits. (Currently, the surf photography of Justin Jay, who rents a bungalow nearby, hangs on the wall). Oh, and there’ll be coffee, too: from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, local firefighter Steve O’Sullivan will operate The Drop-In, a café with baked goods, before the place transitions to a beer garden from Thursday through Sunday, 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.-ish. 302 Beach 87th Street
This potential gamechanger, named after the amusement park once located across the street, soft-opened over the weekend. Four Williamsburg entrepreneurs (two are the developers of Output, two are the owners of Rosarito’s Fish Shack and El Almacen) have turned the sleepy Tap & Grill into something resembling a downmarket version of Sunset Beach (Andre Balazs’s hotel-and-boite on Shelter Island). In about a month, the bi-level corner spot will house a pizza joint, a check-in area hawking an in-house clothing line, and a retro “upscale diner” serving fish tacos — for those who can’t deal with the line at Rockaway Taco a few blocks away. (Menus here.) In the meantime, the motel’s 12 rooms, decorated by artists, are already being booked at $200-$250 a night, and the music is being programmed by Greenpoint resident Olivier Spencer, of the record label Still Going and the band Ladies Night.
Jamie Wiseman says the hotel is going for “mid-century nostalgia,” right down to the lawn chairs that are “supposed to remind you of things you may have had in your childhood — depending on how old you are.” Fun fact: some of the floorboards were reclaimed from the Bushwick church that Wiseman and his partner Robin Scott are turning into apartments. Playland is currently open Wednesday through Sunday, and will open daily (closing around midnight on the weekdays and 2 a.m. on the weekends) in about two weeks. 97-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd., (718) 318-1035
Sayra’s Wine Bar
When Rashida Jackson decided she wanted to turn a former hair salon into a wine bar, the landlord brushed her off, telling her, “Nobody in Rockaway drinks wine.” She eventually snagged the space, but two months later it was gutted by Sandy. Luckily her partner, Patrick Flibotte, is an artist and craftsman: he built everything from scratch – from the seats to the bar. The narrow front room is handsome (yes, the filament bulb craze has finally hit Rockaway), but the place’s selling point is its backyard, where there’s jazz on Thursdays, acoustic folk music on Fridays, and black-and-white movies on Saturdays. Sayra’s is a family affair: its name is an acronym of the names of Rashida and her four sisters, who moved to Rockaway as kids more than three decades ago. See the menus for food and red and white wines, plus beer. 91-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd.