The beverage center was an oft-neglected apostle of craft beer on Long Island. Until now.
The Point Ale House & Grill
(516) 442-2403, Point Lookout
Start entry on The Point Ale House & Grill with pertinent Al Pacino quote from The Godfather, Part III: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
Ed Ainbinder, former owner of West Hempstead’s The Palm Cafe from 1986-2001 (the defunct establishment was family-opened in 1968), chose to leave bar-restaurants forever and dedicate full-time energy to a profession in finance. Almost.
“I worked in banking and climbed the ladder after The Palm Cafe for some time, but I stopped in 2006,” says Ainbinder, who opened The Point Ale House & Grill with Tom Masi in August 2012. “I was going to put my suit back on, but a good opportunity was presented, so I went for it. The rest is history.”
The opportunity for Ainbinder, a former collegiate football player at Hofstra University, was 70 Lido Boulevard, former home of The Bay House. With Masi, the duo rehabilitated the 2,300-square-foot building and installed a 22-draft system “that appeals to everyone, from the hardcore beer guy to the person who only likes lighter stuff.” Recent pours include Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales 60 Minute IPA, a citrusy, malt-sweet staple, and Blue Point Brewing Company Oktoberfest, a grainy German-style lager available during autumn.
“I’m slowly weaning people off the Bud bottle,” says Ainbinder. “We run our lines less than 10 feet, so our beer is reaching the taps quicker and pouring real fresh. We’ve only been open since August, but the response has been great.”
Complete entry on The Point Ale House & Grill with pertinent Al Pacino quote from Scent of a Woman: “HOO-AH!”
(516) 496-7271, Syosset
“A lot of people are trying samples from our taps and drinking beer they normally wouldn’t buy,” says manager Kevin Johnson, who provides craft inventory suggestions to Roseanne Nicotra, owner of Syosset Beverage. He uses Facebook and BeerAdvocate to research brewery reviews and monitor release dates. “We keep a good mix, but try to feature beers like Port Jeff Brewing Company Schooner Ale and Great South Bay Brewery Blonde Ambition Ale because they’re great for any level of drinker.” Browse 700+ beverage brands and sample from their growler station. Consume. Growl. Enjoy.
(631) 238-5963, Montauk
I am filming my commercial for Zum Schneider, a biergarten in the East Village, to promote its new location in Montauk. The script is below. Enjoy.
[Setting: A mancave with three unused guitars, empty Budweisers and poster of Jenny McCarthy from Singled Out. Three dudes are playing Sega Genesis. Niko Krommydas enters room and bludgeons console.]
Niko Krommydas: “Hey! I believe your Sega Genesis has malfunctioned. No sweat. We can play Hypothetical Craft Beer Existence Situation! Close your eyes.”
[Dudes close their eyes.]
“You now exist within Zum Schneider. Observe the checkered brauerei banners and browse the menu of 12 drafts, 11 bottles and a selection of signature cocktails using beer schnapps, distilled versions of beer often aged in bourbon or wine barrels. I recommend one of the five pours from Hofbräuhaus Traunstein, only available in North America at Zum Schneider. Okay. Open your eyes.”
[Dudes open their eyes.]
NK: “Hey! Three mugs of Hofbräuhaus Traunstein 1612er Zwickelbier, a grassy, golden-crisp lager, have conveniently replaced your malfunctioned Sega Genesis console. Enjoy!”
D: “Thanks, Mr. Krommydas!”
Bellport Cold Beer & Soda
(631) 286-0760, Bellport
David Schlutzer is the proud father of four children: Adam, Joshua, Hannah and Bellport Cold Beer & Soda. The latter progeny, also the eldest (age=15), is currently a refined, local-supporting beverage center offering 1,000+ brands and a 14-draft growler station. Prior to birth, however, Bellport Cold Beer & Soda was Station Beverage.
“The place was a mess,” says Schlutzer, who purchased the delinquent property and changed the name on July 1, 1997. “It was basically a malt liquor warehouse with 40 brands. I think it had more soda than beer, actually. As I learned more about craft beer, it’s something I wanted to push on Long Island.”
Though Schlutzer has slowly poured variety into Long Island’s arid pintscape, his beverage center represents more than an always-increasing portfolio of bottles and cans; Bellport Cold Beer & Soda is a space for community.
Know This: Bellport Cold Beer & Soda was one of Blue Point Brewing Company’s initial retail accounts. “They drove around and sold beer in a ratty van, and I had a ratty store,” says Schlutzer. “They came in with some growlers and I realized we were both nuts. It was the start of a beautiful relationship.”
Follow Niko Krommydas and his blog, Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!, at lipulse.com where you can find more craft beer on Long Island.
Photo by Stephen Lang