The vacant building that last housed Molly Malone’s in Bay Shore will be reopening as Whalers.
Molly Malone’s, which was located at the Southern end of Maple Avenue, sustained damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 — and eventually closed in 2014.
“It didn’t work out and the building has been empty for a couple years now,” said Whalers co-owner Brian Kearns, a Bayport attorney who co-owns KB’s Burger Shack in Patchogue Village. Kearns is also a former c0-owner in the Harbor Crab Co. restaurant, also in Patchogue.
He will be operating Whalers with his wife and other close family members. Work began in Bay Shore last month. The hope is to open the new restaurant and catering hall on Watchogue Creek by summer.
Aside from mostly aesthetic improvements, a bowed rear wall has been replaced and other measures are being taken to protect against flooding. A new kitchen is being built and a second stairwell is being added to the eastern end to better connect the first- and second-floor dining areas.
In total, Whalers will be able to hold about 350 people, a number that includes the outside deck space.
The new building will be barely recognizable under its new facade.
“It’s going to be consistent with the look of these buildings on the South Shore around the turn of the century,” Kearns said of the design plans.
For one, he said, larger windows and french doors on the second floor will offer better views of the surrounding water.
As for the food, the exact details of the menu will have to be worked out with the chef that is ultimately hired to run the kitchen.
“But we’re shooting for eclectic and worldly,” Kearns said, later adding the idea is for New American cuisine with an Asian and Latino flair.
Music on the deck will be a huge part of the business during the warmer months — as it had been at Molly’s and, for decades before that, Gil Clark’s.
It’s also a spot where people could easily pull up on boats.
“It’s going to be just a light, fun and family oriented place,” Kearns said.
“Whenever you take a place over, you have to make it your own,” he added, “but a lot of people remember this place fondly as a great Irish pub with live music playing into the wee hours.”
That’s a vibe the new Whalers will be looking to recapture.
Check back with bayshore.greaterlongisland.com for updates.
Top: Whalers co-owner Brian Kearns on the outdoor deck Thursday. (Credit: Michael White)