Patchogue used to have hotels. Some were right on Main Street, like Roe’s Hotel, which is where women’s bathing suit and lingerie shop Blum’s has been located now for over 90 years. The village on the bay was once a destination, something like the Hamptons, but that was lost toward the end of the 20th century. In this century, though, the town has been making a comeback—and it’s about to become an even bigger destination. This year, with the opening of the brand-new Blue Point Brewing facility on the west end of Main Street, that old luster looks like it will be fully restored.
The craft beer company, co-founded in 1998 by Mark Burford and Pete Cotter, has grown exponentially over its 20 years in business, becoming one of the most ubiquitous and reliable brands on the market. From their tiny facility on River Avenue, they were able to reach the world with their famous Toasted Lager and seasonal selections. When they were bought by Anheuser-Busch in 2014, some might have worried that the beer that calls itself “The Pride of Patchogue” might leave the town in the lurch. Instead, after looking at possible other locations, the company has ended up staking an even larger claim on the town by taking over the building that once housed Briarcliffe College—great news for its employees who live in the nearby Artspace lofts.
“I think building the brewery here is the epitome of connecting to your own village,” founder Mark Burford, who grew up in nearby Sayville, tells me. “We went from 25 employees to 100 when we opened this space. Being able to do a project of this enormity on Long Island is a huge undertaking. It’s an incredible challenge to do anything like this.”
He credits the leadership of longtime village mayor Paul Pontieri with being instrumental to its ability to get up and running quickly. “To have strong support by the politicians and the local community goes a long way to getting things done,” he says. Soon, he hopes, hotels will begin to pop up around town once again.
From the new facility, they’ll be continuing their efforts to give back to sustainability efforts both locally and beyond. The new brewery itself is currently 50 percent energy independent thanks to solar and wind power, with plans to make that 100 within a few years. A new beer called Drink the Bay Clean supports the Save the Great South Bay Foundation, and they’re about to launch a beer with the Billion Oyster Project that will expand along the East Coast. They also use Amagansett Sea Salt, as well as local blueberries and seaweed.
One could say the opening of the brewery in late fall will be the cherry on top of the village’s already incredible growth. There has been a steady stream of restaurant openings for the last decade, and the massive popularity of the Alive After Five summer street fairs have made it a destination for nightlife. Now classics such as Reese’s and BrickHouse Brewery aren’t bearing all the weight, and the town’s infrastructure has been changing in order to make room for the influx of new guests.
If you’ve been considering a visit to Patchogue for the beer, well, you’re definitely making the right call. But we’ve gathered a list of everywhere else there is to check out.
They are no longer, as Burford notes, “a typical brewing company.” When you tour the new facility, you’ll be seeing state-of-the-art equipment that will tip you off to the future of craft beer brewing at a large scale. There will be food and beer pairing education as well. The tasting room will also boast a food program and entertainment.
“It’s rare for anywhere in the village to say they have parking,” he says, “but we have ample parking,” making it an anchor for the west side of town from which you can easily go check out all the other options.
Since 1996, this microbrewery and restaurant has operated out of the oldest commercial building in the village. They serve both standard selections and seasonal brews, like the Spicy Nacho Mama’s IPA made with corn tortillas and a blend of peppers. One of the standouts is certainly the Astral Wit, a fruity one made with Australian hops. There’s also a happy hour here during which food—not just drinks—are available on the cheap.
This newer addition to town has almost instantly become a mainstay, with fresh-shucked oysters, perfectly balanced po’ boys, buttery lobster rolls and great cocktails all becoming a draw whether on weekends or during the week. Here there’s a big focus on using local products, with all sandwiches served on Blue Duck Bakery bread. It’s tiny, so you can’t roll in with a big crew, but it’s more than worthwhile to stop in whether you’re going solo or on a date.
Think “indie Spencer’s Gifts” and you’ll have a sense of what’s available at this Main Street shop, where you can score Rockabilly-style dresses, holiday decor and a whole lot of kitsch.
If you’re in town and find yourself craving a slice, Delfiore will never steer you wrong. Right there behind the glass they’ll have an array of pies that will satisfy any desire, from toppings like breaded chicken and eggplant to the veggie-fueled Lorenzo to the dreamy stuffed knots—big garlic knots sliced like a hamburger bun then stuffed with eggplant, mozzarella and tomato.
Drift 82 is another new addition that’s easily made an impression, thanks to its right-on-the-water location, brunch menu and drinks specifically formulated for sipping by the bay.
Main Street’s Colombian destination has stuck around for years, thanks to its massive menu that puts American standards like burgers and chicken fingers right alongside sobrebarriga, a flank steak served in a tomato-onion sauce.
You can’t go wrong at a seafood spot that juts right out into the marina, which might be the reason Harbor Crab has been around for years. You can rely on them for lobster, crab pots, a raw bar and fish and chips.
Located right next to Catch, this brand-new bakery finally fills a big need in the village with its breads, croissants, cakes and more. You can find some gluten-free options as well. Pop in after your oysters for something sweet, if you have room, or just pick up a loaf of sourdough to take home.
Another of Patchogue’s longtime go-tos, the Oar offers a secluded option for those looking for seafood on the water. Expect big portions of both surf and turf, as well as a long list of wines and martini variations.
On the weekends, this place becomes a party, but at all other times, it’s more of a gastropub, serving up pulled pork nachos and wedge salads.
Every kid in town has eagerly demanded an Italian ice from Ralph’s during the summer, whether they’re popping out of the nearby library or just coming in from the Davis Park ferry. The beloved local chain has been serving a solid list of water and cream ices, as well as soft-serve ice cream, to generations of Patchogue kids.
If you need a break from eating, stop by Record Stop, which had enjoyed a long life on Portion Road in Ronkonkoma before this recent relocation to the village of Patchogue. This version is a bit smaller but still well stocked with used and new vinyl as well as band merchandise.
Reese’s is the consummate Irish pub: quiet, a little dark and all-around charming. While the town has changed, this bar has stayed the same since 1971. They have a big menu of all the staples, like pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, chicken Caesar salad, Reubens and their “famous burgers”—the house style is broiled and then topped with bacon. Just don’t go on Sundays: They’re so old-school that they close up shop.
Want all the fun of a rooftop without taking the train to the city? Head to Rhum, the colorful Caribbean-inspired spot right next to Gallo. They have not just duck empanadas, wonderfully steamed artichokes and a massive selection of mojitos but swings just begging to be posted on Instagram.
This gem of a spot offers both vintage clothing and antique housewares at reasonable prices, in a well-curated selection that’s easy to get lost in. Located right next to Reese’s, it’s the place to go to pick up a thoughtful gift or find a new old addition to your wardrobe.
The Tap Room, which opened in 2011, is the go-to sports bar, with 27 drafts and a massive menu of bar food. There’s a selection of mussel pots, and they’ve even got Beyond Meat burgers for the vegetarians. With two floors and an outdoor section, it gets packed on weekends as a drinking destination, but it’s also a chill spot for weekend day drinking.