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Dark Horse Tavern Greenlit To Open

The Dark Horse tavern, a popular bar in the Village of Rockville Centre, plans to open its second location at 273 Main Street in Farmingdale, but not everyone is in favor of location. 


The property, which has been left vacant since February when Blimpie’s Sandwich franchise shuttered its doors in the village, lies in the heart of the downtown business district.  


William Brennan, co-owner of the Dark Horse Tavern, said that he chose Farmingdale for its recent efforts to stimulate business in the community. 


“We are most excited, pending that beer garden outside,” said Brennan, 35, known to his friends as ‘Jamie’. “I had heard of the efforts to rejuvenate the [downtown] area and wanted to be a part of it.”


The new venue will include occupancy for 41 bar-goers as well as an outdoor beer garden that will provide additional seating for patrons. Similar to the one behind the existing establishment in Rockville Centre, the proposed beer garden enclosure will also extend into the abutting parking lot, taking up approximately three of 15 privately owned parking spaces.


However, village residents and neighboring business owners have voiced concerns with the proposal, citing the potential for trash and vandalism as a result of opening the tavern, as well as safety issues stemming from extending the property into the parking lot. 


“In the past, my front glass was broken into,” said Richard Dallow, a real estate broker with Century 21, just across the street. “My problem with the idea is that this type of behavior will be exacerbated.” 


For Dallow, his biggest concerns surround who will be responsible for the upkeep of the parking lot and where the dumpsters.


Brennan and Dark Horse co-owner Brian McDermott point out it is in their interest to be active and attentive to community concerns. 


“Who is going to come to a business filled with debris and rubbish?” McDermott asked. 


Apart from the garbage, which both bar owners attested they would handle once the establishment was up and running, Dallow and other members of the community also discussed the potential danger of drivers who use the privately owned parking lot as a cut-through to Conklin Street. 


“Cars come both in and out of the lot,” Dallow added. “What if we made it a one-way parking lot?”


Apart from Dallow, other residents spoke out about the frequent use of the parking lot as a thoroughfare, suggesting the village look to close off the entrance to the lot entirely. However, since it is a private lot, the village is not authorized to do so with out the approval of the tenants. 


After an hour of public commentary, members of the Farmingdale Board of Trustees agreed to approve both—the proposed site plan of the tavern and special use permit for seasonal outdoor dining—on the condition that once the construction is completed, village officials will meet with the tenants to address safety concerns and the dumpster relocation. 


“We need to find a way to close that down to the public as a cut through, but not close it down to the people going to the restaurants,” said Mayor Ralph Ekstrand. “This is something that may take a week or two to figure out, but we can do it, and its not going to hold up your construction.”


Village Clerk Brian Harty added that for the time being, the Dark Horse Tavern proprietors will begin working on the interior of the tavern, since the outside issues are still under review.  


Given the green light to begin construction inside, the owners of the Dark Horse Tavern say, they plan to get to work as soon as possible and anticipate the bar will be open for business in four to six months’ time.