Great South Bay Brewery unveils plans for long-vacant Lindenhurst bank


The owners of Great South Bay Brewery are banking on downtown Lindenhurst to help kickstart a Long Island-wide expansion.

And they’re doing it in a big way.

The Davis family, majority owners in the Bay Shore brewery, announced Thursday a $5 million plan to renovate a vacant and prominent bank building in the heart of the downtown, which was originally called The First National Bank of Lindenhurst, built in 1930.

Village officials said the building has sat vacant for some 17 years.

“[Lindenhurst] has become a real hot spot and we fell in love with the building,” said Brian Davis, who co-owns GSB with his brothers, Chris and Bill, and their father Doug. “It’s a beautiful space.”

The announcement comes on the heels of news that Great South Bay is opening a casual restaurant and tasting room at the Station Yards development in Ronkonkoma. The Lindenhurst location at 147 S. Wellwood Ave. will be more geared toward elevated, sit-down dining.

Both locations will take up about 8,500 feet of commercial space. And both are expected to open next year. The family also has its ears to the ground about other possible Long Island locations.

GSB in Lindenhurst

Village officials say the bank building at 147 S. Wellwood Ave. has sat vacant for some 17 years. Now the doors are open. (Michael White)

Lindenhurst Mayor Michael Lavorata and the village’s deputy mayor, RJ Renna, noted Thursday that it was outside this same bank building about six or seven years ago that the village announced its longterm plans to revitalize downtown Lindenhurst.

Many of the area’s vacancies have since been filled. The Wel project went up to the east. And the vacated CVS building directly across the street became home to Sand City Brewery.

But filling the historic bank building remained elusive.

That was until the Davis family came along.

“This is the capstone to a lot of years of hard work, and thank you to these fine folks here” for their investment in the community, said Mayor Lavorata. “It’s a historic building and a great place for a brewery and restaurant. It’s going to be wonderful.”

GSB’s vision for the Lindenhurst space includes transforming it into a brewpub that’s “a little bit more elevated,” the owners said, offering a mix of traditional seating and lounge seating, and a 30-seat, horseshoe-shape bar that will feature local spirits and a 12-beer tap system.

The beer will be sourced locally with an emphasis on Great South Bay, but there will be guest taps as well.

One of the reasons the Davis family loved the area was due to its fast-growing brew community, with the recent openings of Sand City Brewing, 27A Brewing Company, Meadworks and Breslau Brewing Company, all in the downtown.

“It’s really become a hot bed for brewing,” Chris Davis said.

While ideas are still flying, the owners are also planning on a second-floor dining space in a mezzanine that features an outdoor patio that could be used for dining and private parties.

As far as the looks go, they want to keep with the history of the building. That means they’re kicking around ways to incorporate the main vault, which is a focal point of the building’s interior. Perhaps a spot for private dining, or a beer cellar, they’re thinking.

Some recent history

The Davis family teamed with Great South Bay Brewery founder Rick Sobotka, a practicing anesthesiologist, in 2016.

Before that, in 2012, the family had sold its aerospace company in Bay Shore. That company’s headquarters, a 40,000-square-foot industrial building at 25 Drexel Drive, would later become home to Great South Bay Brewery.

Since becoming majority owners (it was originally a 50-50 deal) the family members knew they wanted to grow the brand. Now it’s finally time.

“It took a little while to get there, but we feel super comfortable now and are really excited,” said Chris Davis. “We’re not done after these two. We’re looking to continue to expand the Great South Brewery name, and bring as much beer and smiles to people as we can.”

— with Michael White

Top: Deputy Mayor RJ Renna and other village and town officials welcome Great South Bay Brewery and the Davis family (left) to downtown Lindenhurst. (Michael White)

An exterior drawing of the Great South Bay Brewery restaurant set to open next year in Lindenhurst, along with some craft beer and malt liquor drinks on display Thursday. (Michael White)