Although it is way too early to judge, Montauk may be looking at another big summer season.
It may only be the beginning of April, but the first Friday and Saturday of the month already saw a busy crowd in place at The Point Bar and Grille and the Memory Motel on Montauk Highway -- a good sign for a town whose nightlife and party scene really came into its own last year. Another indication of what could be a strong 2012 season is what is being advertised a block south at 4 S. Elmwood Ave. -- the arrival of Zum Schneider MTK.
The name may not ring a bell with all Long Islanders, but in Manhattan, Zum Schneider is quickly recognized as an event-filled, indoor beer garden on Avenue C, at East Seventh Street, that rejoices in Bavarian culture -- authentic down to a staff that speaks German and an owner actually born of Bavaria.
Owner Sylvester Schneider is striving to bring a beer garden tradition to his NYC creation, with the goal of having a place that can be family friendly but come late nights (especially weekends) and certain events a spot for some real grown-up revelry. And judging by the banner hanging at 4 S. Elmwood Ave., Schneider plans an identical Zum in Montauk.
Most new South Fork venues connected to (or owned by) NYC businesses tend to keep things sly and not really announce their arrival until, well, they’ve fully arrived. But the sign hanging on the building best known as the home of the former Oyster Pond proudly states: “Zum Schneider MTK: Coming Soon!”
“I’ve lived in Montauk for eight years, and visited for 15,” says owner Schneider, when stating his reasons on why he’s expanding his beer garden brand to Montauk and beyond the summer season, “and during the winter there isn’t just a lot to do.”
There has been some theorizing in the press that the goal behind Zum Schneider MTK is to join the wild summer party scene still blossoming east of Amagansett, and while Schneider admits there will be some of that, he says there is a loftier goal in place. “Sure I expect the weekends to be similar to the city [location] with a stay-late crowd -- maybe have my house band (Oompah band Mosl Franzi and the JaJaJa's, in which Schneider is the frontman) come and play some gigs, why not? But I also want it to be a place where families can go on a Sunday . . . there are a lot of families visiting on weekends, too.”
Schneider plans on having this new location buck a major trend common to Montauk, where businesses often shut down during the winter. “I plan to stay open year-round. Maybe not seven days a week in the winter, but well, the people need more to do. Aside from Shagwong [the legendary Montauk restaurant that has served the community for decades] there isn’t a whole lot to eat.”
And while it’s early for Schneider to plan for the winter of 2012, he’s looking to possibly have Zum Schneider MTK be a fun spot even after the jet set leaves, saying, “We might have an Oktoberfest, a Christmas party, a May Day event . . . it’s hard to say what to expect. But I would like to bring in Bavarian culture, the beer, the food -- and also to give locals an employment opportunity.”
Anyone interested in working at this still unopened business (“We’re going to try and be open for Memorial Day,” Schneider said) should head online to zumschneider.com for more details.