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First, Painters’ in Brookhaven rose from the ashes of a 2012 fire that had threatened to close it permanently —thanks to two former Bellport football buddies-turned owners.
Nearly a decade later, Painters’ has since survived the early onslaughts of COVID-19 and is now fully back — with a packed live music and DJ lineup for the fall of 2021.
Painters’ owners Craig Bazarewski and Mike Omelchuk kicked things off with a sneak-preview live music night with the über popular 80s love ballad cover band O El Amor (more photos below).
The place was jumping that Saturday night, Aug. 14, filled with people who’ve been starved for such an act after two years of staying home or dining on Long Island between plastic partitions.
Bazarewski and Omelchuk managed well during the state’s COVID containment restrictions, first with takeout, then by spacing tables out across every inch of the massive building off South Country Road, just east of Bellport Village.
The sheer size of the place helped, along with local support, they say.
“But we definitely missed the live music,” Bazarewski said. “Music is kind of what we’ve became known for over the years, so we had to switch up our identity a bit as all-restaurant, all the time.”
Now Painters’ is back to its old self: a place so many know and love for top-notch food followed by late-night parties.
“It’s great to have everybody coming back,” said Omelchuk.
The owners also took the time during the lockdowns to upgrade Painters’ interiors from top to bottom — with new paint, flooring and by replacing coolers and other appliances.
The live music space on the northern side of the building got the most attention.
They upgraded all the stage lighting and added 12 new moving heads, and undertook other audio and visual work. Painters’ is now up to 30 lights on the inside, putting it in line, or better, than most major music venues on the island (and it’s not even a venue).
They give the credit to PCR Audio Visual Solutions of East Northport for all the new lights and sound.
The DJ booth also got rebuilt, and the side room near the stage, on the building’s eastern side, has been opened for clear views of the bands and the dance floor from the side bar.
“Even if you’re outside on the patio you can see the full stage now,” Omelchuk said.
“We really took advantage of the opportunity during the lockdowns to do things we would have never been able to accomplish on a regular year open every day,” he added. “People were hoping we would get open as soon as possible, and get the music back as soon as opposable. It’s been a long road but we’re finally here.”
“We’re coming back,” added Bazarewski, as he looked around at the stage space, “better than ever before.”
if you go
Painters’ is located at 416 South Country Road, just south of Montauk Highway in Brookhaven. Look for the lighted-up, white Painters’ sign facing the road and get there early for dinner.
Bands typically go on at 10 p.m., with DJ’s spinning before and after. Closing time ranges, but is typically around 2 a.m., depending on the crowd. There are never tickets for the bands; it’s always $10 cash at the door.
If you eat, the $10 cover goes toward the food bill.
photos by Kenny Janosick