It may have been only hours old, but somehow the Dark Horse Tavern in Farmingdale felt well-established during its Friday night debut.
Perhaps that sensation is partly due to the fact that this pub, a sibling of the original Dark Horse Tavern in Rockville Centre, has visibly been under construction for several months, during which -- unlike most businesses that hold off until the last stages of assembly before hanging identifying markers -- a Dark Horse sign (with its horsehead logo) has been in place above the storefront since at least late March.
Management had previously announced that a mid-April opening was likely, but it ended up taking until Friday, June 6, which was when a proclamation concerning the inaugural affair was delivered via an afternoon post on the Dark Horse RVC Facebook page. Sure enough, by the evening the Farmingdale venue was open -- and bustling.
The area around the new Tavern (on the corner of Conklin and Main Streets) is already home to several other nightlife opportunities -- which, on weekends and warm nights, combine to help turn Farmingdale’s Main Street into an all-night crawl between saloons and restaurants. However, Dark Horse has a premiere location within this party-friendly zone, placed directly across from two popular stops (The Library Cafe and Last Call), and only about a block from a third (Nutty Irishman) -- making it so even those who weren't aware that the Dark Horse was opening that evening could have possibly stumbled upon its existence -- and judging by the heavy attendance, that social theory seemingly held true.
Dark Horse Farmingdale’s layout consists of a main space and a beer garden -- much like its RVC sister shop but just a bit smaller, and it also shares a color scheme of blacks, dark browns, gold and deep reds. The indoor room holds a long bar backed by both TVs and taps -- the latter of which hosts sudsy options from brewers such as Guinness, Great South Bay, Yuengling and Magic Hat (the Dark Horse Facebook page states there are 28 beers available on tap in total). Across the floor the opposite wall is mostly unadorned exposed brick with tables along its run; the ‘Tavern’s front wall holds long windows that can shift up and create a mostly barrier-less connection to the sidewalk when the weather is properly pleasant.
Out in the open-air courtyard (which is completely walled off from the parking lot located behind the building), a second drink service counter likewise features TVs and taps, set only a few feet from three long, wooden tables typical to traditional beer gardens. As for the crowd, the age range was generally 21 to 40, with guys casually sporting jeans and neat shirts; some women wore short shorts plus shoulder-revealing tops, others donned pants with light sweatshirts.
As of this writing, Dark Horse Farmingdale does not have an online presence, but updates and information can be found and shared at Dark Horse RVC’s Facebook page (facebook.com/darkhorse.rvc).
*Dark Horse Tavern is located at 273 Main St. in Farmingdale.