Posts Tagged ‘beach bar’


Butterflies and Beer Island. October 8, 2011. Copyright © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy snapped these photos of Beer Island and the adjacent vest-pocket garden on Saturday. “The garden on Stillwell is a butterfly garden,” he wrote in an email. The Monarchs that greeted us on 12th Street earlier in the week, en route to Florida via Coney Island, touched down in even greater number this weekend.

Butterflies are a potent symbol of change and transformation. The Boardwalk side of Stillwell Avenue, purchased by the City from Thor Equities in 2009, is undergoing a transformation too. In 2011, the parcel on the east side was developed into the new Scream Zone thrill park by Zamperla’s Central Amusement International. CAI is slated to take over the west side, currently occupied by Steve’s Grill’s House, Beer Island and a vacant lot, in 2012. What will they build? There’s been talk of double-deck go-karts or a double looping coaster. And oh, yeah, a beer garden very similar to the one that’s there now.

The key to Beer Island’s success is serving a wide variety of beer in bottles and on tap–all for $5—on a sandy beach just a few steps from Coney’s shore. Blaring music, bikini-clad waitresses, and the fact that you can bring in food from any of the Boardwalk restaurants add to the party ambiance. As one Yelper explains:

I have seen some strange shit at Beer Island. One time some guy rolled up with a bunch of exotic animals: iguanas, parrots, pythons–all at the same time. He sat down at a table, scattered his animal kingdom cohorts about, ordered a beer and proceeded to let old ladies feed his massive iguana (what looked like) strawberries.

But mostly it’s just occupied by a diverse mix of people who share the common goal of getting shit-housed in the Coney Island sun while belting a bunch of Def Leppard in the process. The music is usually amped up pretty loud, and it’s controlled by a jukebox that has the kind of music you want while getting drunk at Coney Island.

Beer Island is a newcomer to the Boardwalk compared to its fellow evictees. The bar got its start in 2007 after Thor Equities bought the property and evicted Norman Kaufman’s Batting Range and Go Kart City. The beach bar was built on the site of the miniature golf course seen in these photos of the park. Its creator was Shoot the Freak’s Anthony Berlingieri, who told the New York Post last year: “They’re going to steal my idea, after I put a lot of time and money and built it up over the past three years.”

In the meantime, stop by for butterflies and beer, weather permitting. You can view Bruce Handy’s complete slide show here. Through November 4th, ATZ is posting a favorite photo (or two) a day to say goodbye to the Boardwalk Mom and Pops who are losing their leases at the end of the month. Click the tag “Countdown to Corporatization” to see all of the posts.

Beer Island

Beer Island. October 8, 2011. Copyright © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary


Related posts on ATZ…

October 20, 2011: Reversal of Fortune on the Coney Island Boardwalk

October 9, 2011: Photo of the Day: Ruby’s Old Tyme Bar by Kenny Lombardi

October 8, 2011: Photo of the Day: “The Chief” of the Coney Island Boardwalk

November 1, 2010: Out With the Old in Coney Island: Only 2 of 11 Boardwalk Businesses Invited Back

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