Long Island’s original “anti-bar” shut down this past Wednesday after ushering in a whole new era of possibilities.
“No couches, no attitude, no poetry, no karaoke, no Budweiser”
Effin Gruven opened in 1999, drawing the line and issuing the battle cry that successfully defied Long Island bar culture over the next decade and beyond.
For those who recognize the availability of craft beer as the norm, it is hard to imagine what an oddity Effin was, given all of the other non-choices on The Island. 18 taps and 80 bottles was the start of it, but the willingness of the staff to explain and share are what gave new identity to the local bar game.
The vibe caught on quickly. On weekends, the only route to the bar was a sideways shuffle and a dozen recitations of “pardon me/’scuse me.” Countless recollections of 21st birthdays, famous foosball battles and happily endless nights there can be found all over Facebook, and it becomes clear that this place that took the big risk by bucking the trend became known as the new normal by a whole new generation.
Cries of “What happened?” have only been answered with speculation so far. Original owner Joe Dantona sold Effin two years ago when he moved out of the area. Many of the long time familiar faces behind the bar went on to run and/or start their own places. Regulars have recently reported what they see as a diminished list of choices, compared to earlier days. After becoming the definitive local anti-bar, Effin found itself having to compete in a market they helped create. The game is not kind because you won previously.
Sources report that at least two groups interested in opening a new bar have already approached the buildings’ owners. Best of luck to them as they seek to set up shop in a spot that created a new vibe, and turned a lot of people on to a whole new world of choices.
What are your favorite memories of Effin? First craft beer experience? Favorite bartenders? That night when _____? Share them with us in the comments below.