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Two new bars coming to downtown Rockville Centre this summer

Cannon’s Blackthorn, Stinger’s to be replaced after violations


Sports fans and street-fair lovers can get excited about two new bars expected to open up in Rockville Centre this summer, as one caters to watching the game, and the other features carnival fun.

Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar, a restaurant with a location in Patchogue, will replace Cannon’s Blackthorn on North Village Avenue. The Bowery Bar and Fare, a carnival-themed bar, will spring up where Stinger’s used to be on Sunrise Highway.

Cannon’s Blackthorn shut down earlier this year after it received 30 violations from May to December of 2016, including disorderly premises, inadequate supervision, unlicensed security guards and too much noise, according to documents from the New York State Liquor Authority. The well-known pub served Rockville Centre patrons for 22 years.

Stinger’s, a village bar for 29 years, shut down in 2016 after receiving 14 violations — as per the New York State Liquor Authority — within the last four months of that year for serving alcohol to minors as well as other “business violations,” the Herald previously reported.

Arooga’s signed an up-to-15-year lease on May 1 with the former owners of Blackthorn to occupy the 4,876-square-foot space, according to Kelly Huffstutler, a spokeswoman for commercial real estate firm NAI Long Island, which represented Arooga’s in the deal. The restaurant, which expects to feature 60 beers on tap and 100 televisions, plans to open its doors in August.

“It’s a good spot, and it was the perfect situation,” said Dennis McCoy, senior director for NAI Long Island, noting that a moratorium on building new restaurants in Rockville Centre does not prevent from occupying former ones.

McCoy said Rockville Centre has a similar “downtown feel” to Patchogue, pointing out the nearby Long Island Rail Road stop. “The way it seems to be going with the millennials is they watch the game, have a few beers and jump on the train home,” he said.

The business will spend about $1.5 million to renovate the inside, McCoy said, and the exterior will be painted differently. “It’ll look like an Arooga’s,” McCoy said. “It’s not going to look like it was.“ He alluded to Blackthorn’s medieval vibe, adding that the makeover will be extensive.

The owners of Cannon’s Blackthorn had not commented at press time.

Hoping to stray from being just another sports bar, the Bowery, to open as early as next month where Stinger’s used to sit, plans to be an interactive pub. “Our plan was to take various street food dishes from and serve them in a restaurant setting,” said a Bowery owner, who did not give his name. “It developed into a carnival-street fair blend.”

The Bowery owners chose to open in Rockville Centre because of the “diverse mix of people in proximity to the LIRR.” The bar will feature funhouse mirrors in the bathrooms, and carnival games — featuring oversized ring toss, roulette, chess and Connect Four on the walls — sprawled out in areas both inside and outside the building.

They added that the menu would feature sausage and paper sliders, giant beer-battered pretzels and zeppoles. The Bowery is working with a local brewery, and future customers can expect sweet drinks, such as the cotton candy


“We welcome any new business into town, and wish them success,” Rockville Centre Police Commissioner James Vafeades said. “But as with any other restaurant or bar, or licensed premise in the Village, they will have to abide by the rules of the State Liquor Authority, and we’ll be there to enforce.

He said members of his department plan on meeting with the incoming bar owners to make sure both parties are “on the same page.” Vafeades added that both establishments would be given a clean slate, despite what transpired with the prior establishments in those locations.

“As long as they follow the rules,” he said, “we’ll get along great.”