Bellmore’s Effin Gruven was known for straying away from typical South Shore bar culture and transforming the way Long Islanders drink beer, according to its new owners, Michael Cassano and Maria Pallotta. But on Dec. 8, 2017, it shuttered after nearly two decades. Effin Beauty, a new creation in the same location, hopes to fill that void.
Although wide brew selections are now more common, even in supermarkets, Effin Gruven helped usher in the era of craft beers, said Cassano. “Gruven invented rotating taps,” Cassano, 42, of Massapequa, said. “They brought craft beers here and revolutionized beer on Long Island.”
Effin Gruven opened in 1999. Beer was its theme. Eventually, more than 20 craft beers were offered on tap, as well as dozens of bottles, most of the niche variety — “no Budweiser” was a firmly held rule.
In the original Gruven, asking for a Budweiser was like asking for water, Cassano said. Such a request would be met with the recommendation of a “better” beer.
Cassano and his wife, Maria Pallotta, a Bellmore native, aim to bring Gruven’s spirit back. The two fondly recalled celebrating at Gruven — making friends, and enjoying its relaxed vibe and expansive beer selection.
“That was my first real bar,” Pallotta, 37, said with a smile. “The bartenders there practically taught me how to drink. I had going away parties, friend engagement parties and plenty of celebrations.”
The couple opened Massapequa’s American Beauty Bistro, a beer-themed restaurant, in 2016. The establishment also serves cocktails and a menu that ranges from full meals to bar-friendly finger food. The couple was inspired to revive Gruven after it closed by combining the vibes of both businesses.
Twenty-four taps will be available, with a selection of cans and bottles, many from local Long Island breweries. A condensed menu will have about half of American Beauty’s dishes and 15 specialty cocktails. Bistro’s theme of classic Americana decor, like the bar topped with pin-up girls, will also carry over.
Gruven’s interior needed remodeling, with new lighting and flooring. It will “still have the same look and feel, but will just have a face-lift,” Pallotta promised.
Before opening, Pallotta wants community input on the interior. She is calling on local artists to paint their renditions of a rose on a wall inside Effin Beauty for a lasting collection of artworks. “It’s all about a cool atmosphere,” Cassano said. “You have to set a mood.”
Cassano and Pallotta could not confirm an opening date for Effin Beauty, and only left with a tease – “soon,” they said.