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LIBeerGuide Destinations

 

BAY SHORE  (11706)

 

Bay Shore is a bustling village on the Great South Bay that serves as one of the gateways to Fire Island. After some lean years in the 1990s, downtown Bay Shore along Main Street has seen a tremendous revitalization, especially following the opening of the YMCA Boulton Performing Arts Center in 2003. With a growing number of craft breweries and a lively nightlife scene with popular gastropubs, beer bars and restaurants, Bay Shore is a great place to visit on your way to or from the beach, or as a destination on its own.

 

 

 

BREWERIES --  Bay Shore is home to four breweries that are located in industrial areas a short drive or cab ride away from the LIRR station and the downtown area along Main Street (27A). Great South Bay Brewery was founded in 2009 by fourth-generation brewer Rick Sobotka, and opened a 4,000 square foot tasting room and party space in 2013 at its production facility at 25 Drexel Drive in North Bay Shore. GSB hosts several popular festivals at the brewery throughout the year, including the 5th annual Bay Fest recently held on June 3, and the popular PUNKTÖBERFEST coming up on October 21. Over the years, GSB has won numerous awards for its beers, including gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival for Hog Cabin Maple Bacon Porter and Jetty Cream Ale.

Great South Bay will soon be sharing its address with Fire Island Beer Company, which agreed last year to lease 15,000 sq. ft. of space that wasn't being used in the 40,000 sq. ft. building. Fire Island Beer was founded on Fire Island in 2007 and started contract brewing its beers in Connecticut in 2009. Co-owners Bert Fernandez and Simon Leonard, who is the head brewer, had been searching for a location for a brewery and tasting room for several years. They started brewing at the new facility in early June and plan to open a tasting room later this year. Fire Island's flagship beers like Sea Salt Ale and Red Wagon IPA will continue to be contract brewed but the new brewery will allow them to experiment with new styles and seasonal beers.

Destination Unknown Beer Company, known as DUBCO, operates out of a 2,000 square foot industrial unit located east of downtown. Co-founders and brewers Brad Finn and Chris Candiano grew up nearby and attended West Islip High School together, then reconnected years later over a shared love of homebrewing. They raised $24,000 through Kickstarter to buy kegs and additional fermentation tanks, and to build out their two floor tasting room which opened in May 2015. The brewing system was initially a 1-barrel system and is now a 3-barrel electric system producing over 400 gallons a month. DUBCO brews a wide variety of beers and won Gold medals at the TAP New York Festival in 2016 for its Triple Rainbow Belgian Triple and in 2017 for its Mosaic Mood Pale Ale.

The Brewers Collective Beer Company officially opened its tasting room in April at its brewery located in an industrial building just south of the Southern State Parkway. The brewery, which proudly proclaims its collective ownership, was founded in 2007 as a homebrewing club and debuted their beers to the public in 2012 at the Blue Point Cask Ale Festival. After deciding to become a commercial brewery, the founding comrades received a NY State farm brewery license in 2014 and spent time at the Taste of Long Island brewery incubator in Farmingdale perfecting recipes while searching for a space of their own. The new Bay Shore brewery houses a 3-bbl electric brewing system and small tasting room with 12 taps and a cask ale. Brewers Collective is known for its creative takes on historic beer styles including gruits using herbs from East End farms and IPAs like Useful Idiot IPA using locally grown hops.

GASTROPUBS, BEER BARS & RESTAURANTS -- If there is one beer bar that put Bay Shore on the map as a great beer destination, it is T.J. Finley's Public House, which opened in 2006 on E. Main Street. Owner Drew Dvorkin, who owned beer bars on the West Side of Manhattan, saw the opportunity to educate Long Islanders about craft beer and also provide high quality pub food, so T.J. Finley's became Bay Shore's first gastropub. T.J. Finley's also sponsored and hosted beer tastings and festivals that brought beer lovers to downtown Bay Shore, including ongoing annual festivals like the Winter Bourbon & Beer Festival and Pumpkinfest. Dvrokin has since branched out and in 2015 with some partners opened Local Burger Co. on E. Main Street, pairing burgers, hot dogs and other comfort food with an all Long Island draft beer selection.

T.J. Finley's paved the way for other beer bars and gastropubs on Main Street, including: The Cortland in 2010 which features only New York State beers on tap and in bottles; Tullulah's, which opened in 2005 as a small 20 seat restaurant, then reopened in 2013 after a major expansion that added 100 seats and a bar with 13 taps; , which opened in 2012 with 20 taps; Corks & Taps, a gastropub with 20 taps that opened in 2015; and Salt & Barrel Oyster & Craft Cocktail Bar, an upscale seafood-focused gastropub opened in 2016 by the Flynn family of Flynn's Fire Island, with 8 taps and 40 bourbons to enjoy. Also popular on the east end of downtown is Southside, a Lessing's owned pub in the historic Southside Hotel. Today there is no doubt that Bay Shore's restaurant scene is on par with any of Long Island's other top dining destinations including Huntington, Patchogue, Rockville Centre and Babylon.

BEER STORES -- Bay Shore Beer & Soda is a Beverage Barn store with a good craft beer selection highlighted by a growler station with 8 taps. The store is located a short walk from the LIRR Bay Shore station and is a good place to stock up for the Fire Island ferry ride.