After going above and beyond to help the West End community in the days and weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Shine’s bar and restaurant received some help of its own.
Shine’s is a West End staple, and it showed at their Project Pay it Forward fundraiser last Saturday. Hundreds of friends and patrons came out to the Long Beach VFW Post 1384 to show their support and help raise money to help restore the bar.
“We were surprised,” said Megan Casey, whose husband, Brent Wilson, owns Shine’s. “People have so much on their plates right now, it’s a surprise that it went so well.”
Casey and Wilson have not paused since the storm. The day after Sandy hit, and floodwaters tore through their bar, they set up grills and invited their neighbors to come eat and drink their inventory.
“It was a motley crew of people, but it was a good haven,” said Casey. “It was kind of a happiness, while everyone was kind of depressed, to come inside and just pretend for a minute that they were just hanging out at Shine’s. People liked that.”
Shine’s was set to celebrate its centennial anniversary the Saturday after the storm hit, but the bar’s two young owners cast aside their own concerns about the business’s survival and began operating a full-fledged soup and supply kitchen for residents.
Soon after the storm, people started dropping off donations at Shine’s, and it became a gathering place for the recovering community. The owners put out free food every night and didn’t charge for beers, remaining a bright light in a dark corner of Long Beach.
“We were very lucky personally, we live above the bar so our home was dry,” said Casey. “But a lot of people that we care about [were not.]”
And even though they’ve shifted back to normal bar operations, Shine’s is still far from whole. Although the structure of the building was unharmed, they have no heat, taps, fridge or freezer. Casey said not having beer or soda on tap has been the biggest financial burden for them.
“We’ve been hemorrhaging money by not having tap beer,” she said “Opening a soda bottle to pour someone’s mixed drink is really expensive.”