Spent the day at the beach? After soaking in the sun, check out Pop's Seafood Shack & Grill (15 Railroad Pl., Island Park) on Reynolds Channel with a man-made beach with seating at private cabanas, a fire-pit lounge and a deck with a retractable canopy, for rainy days. On the menu: a lobster and sweet potato salad, three kinds of lobster rolls, seafood fra diavolo and the necessary burger.Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark
Presenting an enticing beacon of light visible from the Long Beach Bridge over Reynolds Channel, Pop's Seafood Shack & Grill in Island Park offers a place for summer nightlife that feels more like the Florida Keys than Nassau County. But how to get there?
To those not native to the neighborhood, the route may seem perplexing -- so here's the scoop: Heading south on Long Beach Road, right before the bridge, you'll see Bayview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on the right. Between that structure and the channel crossing is a tiny road called Railroad Place. Make a quick right onto that winding street, which leads to Pop's. Prepare to hand over your keys, for outside the valet-only parking lot the signs say "No Parking" -- which is ignored by some and leads to an incredibly tight squeeze for cars.
Pop's is surrounded by a sandy shore-style courtyard that wraps the grounds and holds some dining booths and several beach chairs, all of which lead to a view of the water that flows right past. This is also where the DJ spins his music. But unlike most other venues, which have a booth or corner for their mixers, the Pop's tune player is set up in a boat -- a tiny, dry-docked dinghy in a corner.
The nightspot has an outdoor deck that holds a bar and dining tables, sits under rows of dimly lit bulbs and is connected to a wall illuminated by lights that change from yellow to red to purple, creating a backdrop of ever-changing hues. As for the structure itself, it's small, with stone floors, wood walls, exposed steam pipes above and another spot to purchase drinks. Pass through and you've reached the back end of the estate where there's yet a different experience.
In the rear is a faux fisherman's wharf -- three fake building fronts feature signage purporting to sell bait and fish, but in fact they house the restrooms. There's more beach-y yard here, too, but unlike the rest of the property it features tables with built-in firepits. Armed with a tap space, this section also features a small barbecue that serves up $4 hot dogs and $5 burgers. Somehow, this tiny cooking zone fills the area with the aroma of grilled edibles.
Although it's early in the history of Pop's, which opened July 1, Thursdays will be Ladies Night, and a DJ will play from nightly from then through the weekend; Sunday afternoons will start with a live band and close with a DJ working as well. As for happy hour, it runs Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.