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Cornhole moves indoors for winter at Long Island bars

The backyard bean bag toss game's hardy fans find camaraderie at open play nights.

Cornhole is a popular hobby for many Long Islanders, and an East Marion businessman makes it accessible for many.  (Credit: Randee Daddona)

While the winter wind whipped at the streets of Greenport on a recent Thursday night, beanbags were flying within the warm confines of the Greenport American Legion.

The building, officially known as Burton Potter Post 185, has found new life over the past year as the George D. Costello Sr. Memorial Skating Rink. Besides roller skating sessions — there's a cornhole night.

“It’s not like there’s much to do around here this time of year,” says Meredith Higgins, 44, of East Marion. “So this is a pretty great night out.”

Both Meredith and her husband Dan, who have a marine contracting business, came down to give indoor cornhole a try on the first night it was offered. “Usually we play in backyards, during barbecues and things like that,” Dan, 54, says.

Organizer Greg Cocheo, a business owner from East Marion, is a devotee to the game, which involves lobbing bean bags at a low target from some distance away. While he practices "at least 20 minutes a day," outside year-round, Cocheo created the new weekly open play night to give others something to do during the colder, less-travelled months on the North Fork. He's hoping to hook more devoted players.

SHOW UP, MEET, PLAY

“I’m definitely meeting new people here,” notes 46-year-old Christopher Winter, an IT consultant from Mattituck. “And I’m not that great at cornhole, either. But people here are helping me out and giving me tips.”

That’s kind of how this event works: People pay a $10 cover and get randomly paired with another player — which could be a stranger — for the night's games. Cocheo keeps track of winners and losers with a bracket system that pairs the victors against each other throughout; losing teams also keep playing by facing each other. Cocheo not only built the equipment, but commissioned hands-free scorekeeping contraptions with built-in cupholders. "Instead of just keeping track in your mind, you can mark it off and even put down your drink when necessary,” he says. Players simply move clips up and down a row of numbers between zero and 21 to note scores.

The game is "the new wave of darts." Winter says. "You can go to a bar — or here, or in your backyard — throw, have a drink."

For its part, the Legion runs a cash bar and serves pizza from the neighboring La Capricciosa Brick Oven Pizza and Cafe. Wine includes offerings from North Fork vineyards such as Kontokosta, Croteaux and Bridge Lane.

“It’s a perfect place for cornhole,” Cocheo says. “Lots of room, relaxing and a lot warmer than trying to play in your backyard right now.”

The Higginses say they are likely to be regulars.

"We’re out of the house, it’s not that expensive, everyone here is friendly," Dan says. "I’m having fun with my wife — you can’t beat it.”

Open Indoor Cornhole at Greenport American Legion

WHEN | WHERE 7-10 p.m. Thursdays at 121 3rd St., Greenport.  Ages 21 and older.

INFO 631-333-2644, greenportamericanlegion.org

ADMISSION $10

OTHER PLACES TO PLAY

THE CLUBHOUSE

The East Hampton venue features indoor cornhole; no fee to play, just leave your ID at the desk to get some bags to throw (174 Daniels Hole Rd.; 631-537-2695, ehitclubhouse.com).

LEAGUE PLAY

Social sports organizers at LI-Kick continue indoor cornhole league play Mondays at Mulcahy’s Pub in Wantagh and 89 North in Patchogue, as well as Tuesdays at Napper Tandy's in Smithtown — to take part, you’ll need to register through li-kick.com.

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