How New Owners Revamped Brooklyn's Historic Long Island Bar
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Joel Tompkins and Toby Cecchini Reopen Brooklyn's Long Island Bar

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Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

The long-damaged cursive “Long Island” portion of the famous neon sign glows anew with noble gas thanks to Jeff Friedman, of Let There Be Neon in Tribeca, who spent three months replacing its busted tubes and sockets.

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From left, Pepita Fernández; Emma Sullivan’s husband, Buddy Sullivan; Maruja Fernández; and Emma Sullivan at the bar circa 1959.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

The old-school terrazzo floor has been buffed and rebuffed to its original luster. The pair scored new bar stools that resemble the originals, plus three vintage pink ones that will be embossed with the names Emma, Pepita, and Maruja as a kind of permanently reserved seating.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

Cecchini, a Wisconsin native, has dubbed the narrow barroom’s adjacent seating area the “Packer Room.” It features a “make-out” alcove lined with old floral wallpaper excavated during renovations, and plans include a stealth TV that springs out from behind a painting during Green Bay games only.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

A new, custom-made blue neon sign hangs between the bathroom doors.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

Tompkins found one vintage Lightolier sconce on eBay that seemed to match the space. A friend of Cecchini’s was able to reproduce the design perfectly, and now each booth is adorned with an ideal quotient of mood lighting. The two-tone vinyl booths have been reinforced and meticulously cleaned.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

Much of the narrow space is occupied by its long mahogany bar and palatial Brunswick Deco back bar. It glows like an old Wurlitzer at dusk, with new, retrofitted LED flares behind the sconces that flank the center console. Tompkins and Cecchini labored to restore the lowboy refrigerator to its original wood finish, and thousands of old cigarette marks are visible on the bar, ghosts of Pall Malls past.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty
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Photo: Bobby Doherty
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Photo: Bobby Doherty

Anton Baranenko, who worked on the calibrated taps at Tørst, spent weeks dismantling the bar’s old steampunk beer siphon and retrofitting its “Bay Ridge” handle unit to work compatibly with modern kegs. Rosé will be on tap in the summer, alongside local brews from Captain Lawrence and Kelso, as well as Cecchini’s cherished Yuengling lager.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

Cecchini’s Boulevardier.

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