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Patchogue's Dublin Deck reopens after social distancing controversy

The Triple Cheese and Bacon Burger at Dublin

The Triple Cheese and Bacon Burger at Dublin Deck Tiki Bar and Grill in Patchogue. Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

Is it possible to responsibly enjoy Dublin Deck Tiki Bar and Grill? That’s where an incident this past Friday brought the Patchogue spot national notoriety when a video showing a sea of what appeared to be mask-less patrons packing its indoor-outdoor bar area was posted online. Was Dublin just trying to shelter patrons from the rain outside (their explanation)? Was the place just being “not smart” (Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone)? Were they “stupid” (Gov. Cuomo’s aide)?

The sun was bright and the clouds gone a couple of days later, when I made my way down the rocky road to Dublin. The aftermath of the swift COVID-shaming campaign resulted in a hypervigilance on Sunday. There was no crowd, no music, no one shouting “everybody’s thirsty, so let’s go.” Indeed, the only sound was of a gentle breeze flapping sails on the river and ruffling the bar’s thatched roof.

It was a sad sight, if I’m being honest. Dublin Deck exists for public festivity, for semi-serious games of beach volleyball, for people who, as in Friday’s video, actually utter things like “shaka-laka-boom.” None of this will be possible again, at least in the near term, and I couldn’t help feeling a bit blue about that — sad for the people that Dublin’s Friday bacchanalians might have put at risk, for a town and an island and a world that’s desperate for a little fun right now but can’t have it.

Anyway, it’s back to takeout-only coconut margaritas and Styrofoam containers of Dublin’s triple cheese and bacon burger, the latter dubbed by the menu “heaven on a bun.” I got both and did the prudent, permissible thing--camping out on a river dock near, but not on, the premises. Maybe it was the beautiful weather or the boats gliding by, or the ghosts of fun past and future wafting over from Dublin Deck, but my margarita was a fine one, and my burger really was heaven on a bun.

Dublin Deck Tiki Bar and Grill is at 325 River Ave., in Patchogue, 631-207-0370, dublindeck.com. Opening hours for takeout and delivery are noon to 9 p.m. daily.

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