Is the Montauk Party Over?
Before 2020, it was impossible to miss a wooden beach bar in Montauk called the Sloppy Tuna. Shoes and shirts were optional. Bikini-clad ladies and shirtless men would guzzle piña coladas on the deck. It was involved in numerous drug arrests and noise complaints.Now that era has come to an end.The space reopens this weekend as Bounce Beach Montauk, part of an upscale sports club chain in Manhattan and Chicago. The old grungy surf boards are gone, replaced by shiny pastel ones. Wings and mozzarella cheese sticks are out; coriander crusted yellowfin tuna and prime New York strip steak are in.And, at least for now, dinner reservations are a must, and dancing is restricted to one’s table. “We are really trying to step away from that scene and transition to a new demographic that has grown up,” said Yosi Benvenisti, one of the owners.
While other resort towns are gearing up for a post-pandemic summer of hedonism, Montauk is invoking the proverbial “abundance of caution” and tamping down on the fun. By adhering to strict social-distancing measures, even as bars and clubs reopen in New York State, town leaders and business owners hope to repel wild crowds and keep the shenanigans away.
ImageThe owners of Bounce Beach Montauk, Yosi Benvenisti, left, and Cole Bernard.Credit…Greg Kessler/KesslerStudio