People’s Pub: Historic Site In Bayport Returns To Serve Its People


People’s Pub: Historic Site In Bayport Returns To Serve Its People

The sprawling building at the corner of Bayport and Railroad Avenues doesn’t immediately give off historic vibes like the “George Washington Slept Here” kind. But this landmark site is one of Long Island’s oldest operating pubs and restaurants, dating back to its start as a stagecoach stop in 1868. Now this neighborhood treasure is adding to its legacy with the opening in February of People’s Pub.

Pete Cotter, who cofounded Patchogue’s Blue Point Brewing Co. with Mark Burford in 1998, and Linda Ringhouse, former co-owner of the building, teamed up to bring back a restaurant in the building that has special meaning for them. From 2008 to 2019, Ringhouse and Irene Dougal owned the building and ran Grey Horse Tavern, known for its upscale pub food and as a popular venue for live music.

When Ringhouse and Dougal decided to close Grey Horse and sell the building in 2019, they received an offer from Cotter, a South Shore native who is passionate not only about craft beer but also about music and supporting local artists. After Blue Point was sold to Anheuser Busch in 2014, Cotter spent some time enjoying foreign travels but ultimately returned to live and raise his family in Patchogue.

“I never wanted to run a restaurant,” said Cotter, “and when I was selling Blue Point kegs to restaurants I used to tell them that I would never last a minute in their business. I wanted to keep a restaurant in this historic building with a similar vibe to the Grey Horse, with great music and food, so I’ve looked to work with people who know how to run a restaurant, while I try to add some value through my knowledge of craft beer and music.”

After purchasing the building in 2019, Cotter leased the space to a local restaurateur, Justin Tempelman, to open JT’s Farmhouse. After a few strong opening months, the Covid pandemic hit in March 2020 and JT’s never recovered. Tempelman stepped back in 2022 and his partners operated the renamed Bayport Tavern on the site for just six months. 

When Cotter looked to launch another restaurant in the historic building, he talked with Ringhouse about coming back and she was ready to go. “I’m a lifelong resident of Bayport and was looking to do something again here,” said Ringhouse. “I’m grateful to have the support of the community to keep this tremendous part of our history alive.” 

Cotter and Ringhouse lovingly restored the interior of the restaurant and expanded the bar area, which is highlighted by a copper-topped bar and now features a tap system with 16 rotating beers on draft. Cotter curates the beer menu with a focus on Long Island and New York City breweries such as Sand City Brewing Co., Root + Branch, Barrier Brewing Co., Grimm Artisanal Ales, and Brooklyn Brewery. 

“We want to have the best beers on tap,” said Cotter, “so I’ll also have imports from Belgium and Germany along with hard-to-find beers from the U.S.” On a recent visit, beers on tap included Lunch IPA from Maine Beer Co., Dead Flowers NEIPA from Burlington’s Foam Brewers, and a Saison and Imperial IPA from Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont. 

The kitchen, under the direction of chef Tom Mitrakos, features a menu with elevated pub food including traditional favorites like burgers, patty melts, and wings, and hearty winter comfort food like stout stew and cottage pub pie, a delicious vegetarian version of shepherd’s pie. The Hans & Katy’s chicken schnitzel pays homage to former owners of the building Hans and Katy Rohde, who ran Hans and Katy’s Bayport House featuring German cuisine from 1953 to 1980.

Live music will continue to be a main feature at People’s Pub, which has a state-of-the-art sound system in its bar area. The restaurant has already held sold-out shows with local bands including The Falco Brothers and will have regular open mic nights on Wednesdays and acoustic music on Sundays. The first Sunday of each month will feature a showcase of music from Songwriters of Long Island.

Longtime patrons from Bayport and surrounding towns on the South Shore are excited about the new People’s Pub, which seems likely to write a long chapter in the ongoing history of its landmark home.

People’s Pub is located at 291 Bayport Ave. in Bayport. For more information see peoplespubbayport.com.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com, where you can find info and listings on where to enjoy great beer on Long Island.