A recent photo of historic Roe Tavern in East Setauket, which...

A recent photo of historic Roe Tavern in East Setauket, which will be moving in 2023 before turning into a museum where drinks could be served. Credit: Courtesy of Arthur Billadello

Happy hours could be making a comeback at East Setauket's historic Roe Tavern.

The 18th-century structure — which has ties to George Washington and the legendary Culper spy ring — will be disassembled and moved next year to a spot close to its original location near Route 25A, Brookhaven Town officials and the tavern's current owner told Newsday.

They said that once it's relocated, the structure will be reassembled and turned into a museum.

Brookhaven Councilman Jonathan Kornreich told Newsday the former pub, which has been a private home for about a century, should be reopened to diners and drinkers.

"I would personally like to see the Roe Tavern return back to that site and serve as an actual tavern and concession where people can get a bite to eat,” said Kornreich, who represents East Setauket.

Brookhaven officials have agreed to buy the tavern from its owner, local historian and Revolutionary War re-enactor Arthur Billadello, for its appraised value of $800,000. The town board voted 7-0 on Dec. 15 to commit that amount in bonds to complete the purchase. Town officials expect that a state grant will reimburse the local funding.

Billadello, who has owned the house for about 25 years, will rent a home at another town-owned property while the tavern is being moved. Afterward, he will move back and serve as curator and caretaker. Moving, reassembling and restoring the tavern is expected to start next spring and take two or three years, he said.

The historian said he will be able to share the tavern's history with visitors and show off his collection of historical artifacts, including muskets, swords, pistols, bottles and a coffee pot that Paul Revere Jr. created.

“I’ve got tons of stuff,” Billadello told Newsday. “My kids think it’s junk, but I know it’s not junk.”

Kornreich said Brookhaven officials hope to make the tavern the centerpiece of a park highlighting East Setauket history, including its role in the American Revolution. Parking would be added to the existing Setauket Pond Park, which might be renamed, he said.

“It’s such a beautiful place and it’s really the center of our community,” the councilman added. “Let’s get that vibrant again and make it a fun place to go.”

The tavern, built in 1703, was moved in 1936 to a residential neighborhood by a previous owner, who feared Route 25A would be widened — though it never was.

Washington stayed overnight at Roe Tavern on April 22, 1790, during his tour of Long Island. Billadello believes Washington used the occasion to thank members of the Setauket-based spy ring for helping to defeat the British. 

"I wish I was a fly on the wall to history," Billadello said of back then.

Happy hours could be making a comeback at East Setauket's historic Roe Tavern.

The 18th-century structure — which has ties to George Washington and the legendary Culper spy ring — will be disassembled and moved next year to a spot close to its original location near Route 25A, Brookhaven Town officials and the tavern's current owner told Newsday.

They said that once it's relocated, the structure will be reassembled and turned into a museum.

Brookhaven Councilman Jonathan Kornreich told Newsday the former pub, which has been a private home for about a century, should be reopened to diners and drinkers.

"I would personally like to see the Roe Tavern return back to that site and serve as an actual tavern and concession where people can get a bite to eat,” said Kornreich, who represents East Setauket.

Brookhaven officials have agreed to buy the tavern from its owner, local historian and Revolutionary War re-enactor Arthur Billadello, for its appraised value of $800,000. The town board voted 7-0 on Dec. 15 to commit that amount in bonds to complete the purchase. Town officials expect that a state grant will reimburse the local funding.

Billadello, who has owned the house for about 25 years, will rent a home at another town-owned property while the tavern is being moved. Afterward, he will move back and serve as curator and caretaker. Moving, reassembling and restoring the tavern is expected to start next spring and take two or three years, he said.

The historian said he will be able to share the tavern's history with visitors and show off his collection of historical artifacts, including muskets, swords, pistols, bottles and a coffee pot that Paul Revere Jr. created.

“I’ve got tons of stuff,” Billadello told Newsday. “My kids think it’s junk, but I know it’s not junk.”

Kornreich said Brookhaven officials hope to make the tavern the centerpiece of a park highlighting East Setauket history, including its role in the American Revolution. Parking would be added to the existing Setauket Pond Park, which might be renamed, he said.

“It’s such a beautiful place and it’s really the center of our community,” the councilman added. “Let’s get that vibrant again and make it a fun place to go.”

The tavern, built in 1703, was moved in 1936 to a residential neighborhood by a previous owner, who feared Route 25A would be widened — though it never was.

Washington stayed overnight at Roe Tavern on April 22, 1790, during his tour of Long Island. Billadello believes Washington used the occasion to thank members of the Setauket-based spy ring for helping to defeat the British. 

"I wish I was a fly on the wall to history," Billadello said of back then.

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