If and when rating the nightlife scene currently found in Wantagh, it's likely most people would give high marks to the massive, 30-year-old Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall -- a well-attended hangout that features sizable shows and hosts high-profile events -- but the hamlet known as "The Gateway to Jones Beach" can also boast of several tinier bars that, while not as mighty as Mulcahy’s, are still steadily successful.
An example of such a smaller, frequently busy place was Guido’s Irish Pub. Situated on Wantagh Avenue only a few blocks from Mulcahy’s, Guido’s was an establishment attended mostly by locals, popular for watching sports and catching live bands, with occasionally unruly patrons.
However, the current proprietors have changed the venue’s identity of nearly 20 years with a transformation that is most noticeable in its new name, “Guido’s Retro Bar.”
Gone are the photos, framed mini-posters and beer-branded tchotchkes that once served as Guido’s wall ornamentation; the spot now goes with mostly decor-free black and white walls in a move to embrace a more lounge-like, upscale persona -- a look matched by a color-revolving metallic marquee on its facade. And as for any of the unruly guests? “Those people are all gone now,” says bartender Joe Wigdzinski, “It’s been great .?.?. some of the old regulars are still here, but lots of new people have been coming in [since the change].”
The bar’s plans are still being worked out (a new cocktail menu becomes available in early June). It has already started scheduling DJs on Saturdays (with DJ Frankie B who also does karaoke) and Wednesdays (DJ Chef spins) – with the latter bash also a ladies night during which women can pay one charge of $15 for an open bar from 8 to 11 p.m.
In addition, the sound system has been upgraded, the beer menu has been expanded and live music will still be a factor -- a point proven as Guido’s presented a live performance from freestyle queen Judy Torres back on May 21, its grand opening night.
However, word is that sports will continue to run on its TVs, as Wigdzinski pointed out by stating that despite any changes, “you'll never come in here and not see a game on.”
For more information, check out Guido’s Retro Bar online at facebook.com/GuidosRetroBar.
Guido’s Retro Bar: 1923 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh, 516-826-7623