Although it only first opened its doors last Thursday, The Arden in Port Jefferson is already making a serious nightlife splash.
A new bar, club and restaurant, it’s located in the second-story space previously belonging to the now-defunct Port Jazz — and its owners have done more than just take over the location, as heavy renovations have been made inside and out.
The Port Jazz scheme was a fairly simple bar-with-lounge furniture setup; the building face was just flat beige siding, and several separate windows wrapped the hall, offering a basic look at the bustling Main Street scene below. However, The Arden has transformed the many former ‘Port portals into just a few, wide gates that permit for an even more expansive view of the neighborhood. Brown overhangs have been added to the now-white storefront, while the once one-room indoor space is now semi-divided into a window-side front section, a pub zone and a slightly raised back sector that doubles as both a dining area and a dance floor. The walls, columns and part of the ceiling have been purposely stripped to expose the wood and brick — and although the room is kept quite dim, faux candles and tea lights bathe the club in a steady yellow glow.
Also, the tables adjacent to the windows are equipped with personal taps; to use them, interested parties must make reservations, and once set The Arden will connect a keg of beer containing whatever sort of suds the users choose. Once running, those who RSVP can draw their own drafts — but then again, people who enjoy adult beverages may also want to consider the signature cocktail menu, which features such libations as the $13 “Lemonade on Main” (which includes muddled lemons, vodka and house-made sour mix) and the $15 “Mother Mary” (a Bloody Mary served with a jumbo shrimp, a freshly shucked clam and served in a pint glass with olives, hot sauce and horseradish).
Despite a mostly unannounced soft beginning (the official grand opening is July 23), The Arden received a large crowd on its first Friday night, with both the bar and dance floor staying filled well past midnight. A DJ spun classic tracks and current pop — but before that mix session, the band New Life Crisis took the stage. Featuring frontman Paul Mahos, the group has been a staple of the East End party scene for several years, building a large following and remaining a successful draw year-round. However, those seeking to catch the next Crisis show at this spot won't need to wait too long, as the band has become Arden’s house band, with Mahos serving as Arden's entertainment director.
As for what sort of atmosphere to expect, the guests ranged 25 to 60 in age, with a casual-but-neat general fashion style. There is a doorman and a $10 cover charge; for more information and a look at The Arden’s food menus, visit theardenportjeff.com and facebook.com/theardenportjeff.
The Arden: 201 Main St. Port Jefferson, 631-828-1111