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Skipper's Pub in Northport seeks to add rooftop bar, seating for 109 customers

The exterior of Skipper's Pub on Main Street

The exterior of Skipper's Pub on Main Street in Northport, seen here on July 30, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

The owners of Skipper's Pub in Northport want to add a seasonal rooftop bar with room for 109 seats and a raw oyster bar.

Paul and Marie Gallowitsch sought approval Wednesday night from the Northport Zoning Board of Appeals for the estimated $400,000 project. The board postponed any decision on a parking variance the couple are seeking until its next meeting on Sept. 16.

Several village residents raised concerns about the potential for noise from a rooftop bar, parking congestion and whether allowing Skipper's to open its roof to customers would encourage more businesses to do the same.

"I am extremely concerned about the parking issue," said Kathie Kitts, owner of Artisan House, a gift shop on Main Street. "Parking is already an issue."

The Gallowitsches have owned Skipper's for 38 years. The restaurant is at the corner of Main Street and Woodbine Avenue, across from the popular Cow Harbor Park and Northport Harbor.

Marie Gallowitsch said the restaurant has one of the "nicest views north of Key West," and they want to give their customers the opportunity to enjoy it. "I know we will be busy," she said. "People are very excited. They're already talking, 'Where will my seat be?' "

The summer season is the most profitable for Skipper's, she said. Being able to serve more customers during the busiest time of year would make it easier to stay open through the winter.

"It's really hard to work so hard in the summer and then give it all back in the winter," she said. "Having the outdoor deck would help with that."

The Gallowitsches own the single-story building that houses Skipper's and lease the rest of the space to Benkei Sushi, Maroni Cuisine and Village Tailor. The new deck would cover the entire flat roof of the building.

The restaurant would lose some of its tables in the renovation. It currently can seat 100 customers. The structural changes would be permanent, but the deck would only be open in warm-weather months.

The restaurant would eliminate its existing sidewalk seating, and the tenant businesses have agreed to give up outdoor seating rights to offset the increased traffic, the Gallowitsches said. Music wouldn't be allowed on the deck.

But several people remained concerned.

"This doesn't really seem like the spirit of the law of outdoor dining," said resident Richard Krulik, citing the proposed permanent structural changes.

The Gallowitsches hired Huntington attorney Christopher Modelewski, who is chairman of the Huntington Town zoning board, to represent them as they seek the variance.

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