Talk about a face lift!
Coney Island mainstay Peggy O’Neill’s will reopen in May as a beer garden called Steeplechase Beer Garden that will feature memorabilia from the now-gone amusement mecca — including the creepy “funny face” that park owner George C. Tilyou cooked up and which is still a Coney icon. And that won’t be the only local flavor — they’ll be brewing beer made with hops grown right in the beer garden, the owner said.
“We’ll have multiple varieties of hops — 36 plants in all — growing on trellises outside, and come October each year, we’ll harvest them, make some beer out of them, and serve it at the bar,” said James Quigley, who is no stranger to beer-making. “I grew some on my roof last year and made beer, and it was great.”
Until then, Quigley will serve a dozen other, mostly-local brews, including suds from Coney Island Brewery — which has a brewery right next door — and Brooklyn Brewery.St
Quigley is working with artists to tweak Tilyou’s unmistakable “funny face” logo for the bar, and he plans to sell Steeplechase-themed memorabilia including T-shirts, beer coozies, and beer glasses, he said.
The entrepreneur and pour-man is drawing inspiration from the People’s Playground’s biggest business man, he said.
“We’re focused on channeling the life of George C. Tilyou,” Quigley said. “He was the greatest entrepreneur of Coney Island, and he was all about the experience — the Coney Island experience,” according to Quigley, who said he will channel that experience with live entertainment, an arcade, and outdoor bar games such as bar game cornhole.
The beer will not be the only local fare either — Quigley will source local ingredients for a new, significantly upgraded menu, he said. New grub will include bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches with lobster, house-made bacon on a stick, hot dogs, and bratwurst, he said.
The news was first reported by the Coney Island Blog.Quigley said he has wanted to open a beer garden since he visited some during a trip to Germany shortly after opening Peggy O’Neill’s in 2002. But now that Coney is experiencing a renaissance — major landmarks are under renovation, the city is expanding the amusement district, and local pols have been holding more festivals there — Quigley is anticipating more tourists with a more discerning palette, he said.
“As Coney Island is getting a new face, its time for our business as well,” he said. “Customer tastes have changed and bottles of Budweiser and Coors Light doesn’t cut it anymore.”April 30 is the last day to say goodbye to dear old Peggy O’Neills.