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Headphones and Nautical Mile winters at the new Cleary's

Cleary's By The Water on Freeport's Nautical Mile.

Cleary's By The Water on Freeport's Nautical Mile. (Sept. 5, 2013) Credit: Ian J. Stark

Before the summer of 2013 had started, there were questions concerning whether Freeport’s Nautical Mile would be able to return to its familiar warm-weather norm – as in big crowds dining, drinking and dancing by the Woodcleft Canal – for many establishments needed to rebuild following the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy (some were completely destroyed). The likelihood of a reduced business year was high.

However, many of the restaurants and bars that had previously served as favorite ‘Mile hangouts ended up enduring, with some even upgrading their facilities – and before long were furthermore joined by a few new venues that appeared before September arrived with its notorious nighttime chill – a sign indicating the end of the summer social season.

And, in what is one of the more especially unexpected moves yet, a new bar and eatery has arrived – just in time for the aforementioned, less-than-toasty fall.

The majority of the Nautical Mile’s merrymaking spots tend to spend winters shuttered, but as of the last week of August, Cleary’s By The Water has arrived with plans to party all autumn, winter and spring – right into summer 2014 – staying open as late as 4 a.m. nightly.

Owned by the same people as Cleary’s Bar and Cafe in Wantagh (3231 Sunrise Hwy, 516-557-2977), the new spot is a bit of a departure from the original’s Irish pub-styled decor, as the Freeport Cleary’s – while still matching its Wantagh sibling with framed rugby shirts, golf clubs and other Emerald Isle trappings – is better lit, and boasts a surfboard hanging from its rafters, in a likely nod to its waterside locale.

Also, while both the Clearys open at 8 a.m. during the week, the Freeport edition is gearing up to offer some lively promotions. The Wantagh pub is more of a straight-up “drinks-and-jukebox” sort of spot, but it appears Cleary’s By The Water intends to party loudly…yet softly.

It was Nautical Mile neighbor Bracco’s (319 Woodcleft Ave., 516-378-6575) that made a splash this past summer with its “quiet clubbing” gathering – an event that the mostly outdoor venue hosted on weekends -- obeying ordinances by offering rentable headphones that carried the music spun by its DJs, sparing the area from any noise louder than human conversation. But, with the temperature already dropping, the dancing along the canal at night will soon be wrapping – and the Bracco’s bash will be moving to Cleary’s (starting Sept. 20), to be held on Fridays and Saturdays after 10 p.m.

In addition, Cleary’s has also announced it will offer headphones for its “Touchdown Sundays” football marathons, as starting after noon, guests can don ear-sets in order to block out the din of the crowd – allowing the wearer to switch channels to hear only the Jets, Giants or a third contest (but all the day’s NFL games will be playing on the room’s various flat-screen TVs).

For more information, check out Cleary’s By The Water online at

Cleary’s By The Water: 42 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport, 516-415-7675


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