The patty melt at People's Pub in Bayport.

The patty melt at People's Pub in Bayport. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

Patty melts are making a comeback and the new People's Pub in Bayport is a handsome setting for a ground beef patty on rye. The bustling barroom looks fresh for being more than 150 years old, with a slick copper bar top and dark wood panels that resemble an English pub.

On a Friday night, a local jazz band played on the stage underneath a wood carving of Bob Marley. Proprietor Linda Ringhouse, tall and stylishly dressed, stood near the door. If she looks familiar it's because she presided over the bar here from 2007 until 2019, when it was the Grey Horse Tavern. Ringhouse later sold the space to Peter Cotter, a founder of Blue Point Brewing Co., and it went through short stints as JT's Farmhouse and then the Bayport Tavern before recently reopening through a partnership with Ringhouse and Cotter. 

The People's Pub is a charming multi-room space in Bayport.

The People's Pub is a charming multi-room space in Bayport. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

The People's Pub is a rare experience on Long Island: The vibe is stylish and contemporary, and yet, it has an Old World charm. A complex of small rooms are brimming with bohemian wallpaper and vintage picture frames. Also, the beer list is great. 

Sixteen rotating taps are well-curated, recently featuring the super-crisp Florence Saison ($12) from Hill Farmstead in Greensboro Bend, Vermont, served in a stemmed beer glass that showcased the lemon tartness and soft wheat flavors. There was a sour from Root + Branch in Copiague, and IPAs from the Catskills and Foam Brewers in Vermont. 

The menu skirts between regional New England fare and British pub classics like stout stew and cottage pie. Pub wings ($18 for 8) can be ordered Rhode Island style, which means they're tossed in garlic butter and topped with vinegary banana peppers and grated Parmesan cheese. Although they could have been hotter when they came out, the unique flavor combination is a light bulb moment: tangy, creamy and crisp all in one bite. 

And then there's the patty melt ($18), one of four burgers on the menu. Even in an age of plant-based eating, interest in historical-style burgers has led some chefs to restore the American diner classic.

People's Pub does not stray from the expected ingredients that make the sandwich so beloved: an all-beef patty, caramelized onions and muenster cheese on grilled rye, speared with a toothpick holding two cornichons. And while the patty could have been juicier, the bread was fabulous (more complex and bitter than a hamburger bun) and those housemade potato chips on the side, even better. 

People's Pub, 291 Bayport Ave., Bayport, 631-205-6401, Open 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2-8 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. 

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