The recently announced changes to possibly make the Alive After Five summer festivals in Patchogue a more family-oriented affair have brought out a divided opinion among some Patchogue business owners.
John Peragine, owner of Perabell Food Bar, said that the move to Thursdays coupled with the possibility of not being able to set up beer gardens in the same fashion as in the past makes involvement fiscally unappealing.
“It’s financially not worth it for me to put 10 more tables outside,” Peragine told Patch. “The money we used for the bands and space was generated from the beer garden; without the beer garden there goes a lot of money for the restaurants.”
As previously reported, modifications to the beer gardens are being discussed amongst the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, Patchogue Village and the Suffolk County Police Fifth Precinct, which include possibilities such as ordering drinks inside of a restaurant and then walking with them in a defined area or requiring drinks with table dining or service.
Peragine said that his restaurant has been involved with Alive After Five, sponsoring one of its stages, since 2006. After moving to their Patchogue Theatre-adjacent location, the restaurant has continued to share a stage sponsorship spot with Public House 49.
Peragine said that he has not noticed any major safety incidents from Alive After Five that caused a negative impact on his restaurant.
“The only time it gets a little hairy is that hour after we shut down until the actual road gets up,” Peragine said. During that time he said people are looking for a place to go until they find one.
Paul DeSimone, owner of Main Street Italian Bistro, had the opposite sentiment from Peragine about the possible changes.
“It’s not going to affect me, it will actually be better for me,” DeSimone said. “It won’t take away from my Friday business, and I’ll make more money on Thursday.”
DeSimone also said that a fight involving two revelers broke out in front of his restaurant during last summer’s festival, discouraging his customers.
“The problem is not the Alive After Five, the problem is people staggering at 9 p.m.,” DeSimone said.
Tom Keegan, co-owner of Brick House Brewery and a member of the Chamber, said that no matter what shakes out regarding beer gardens, his business will not be affected negatively.
"If they want wait staff only, we can adjust to that," Keegan said.
He said the restaurant has both the kitchen to do wait service and their own hops garden in the back.
Mindy Skura, owner of Remember Yesteryears and the former coordinator of Alive After Five for the past eight years, wrote a letter posted on Patch with her concerns and discussed how the Chamber financially benefits from the festival.
"While the Chamber's Committees all have their own fund raising events, they are minimal in profit, and that money is used for that Committee to function for that year," Skura wrote. "The Chamber was able to utilize the monies raised from AA5 to grow (ie: help purchase patchogue.com and new computers) and supplement some of their yearly base expenses such as the Executive Director's salary."
Skura writes that there were 35 security guards stationed at the event, and that there were rules already installed at the beer gardens to keep it age appropriate and for drinks to not leave the beer gardens. She also wrote that while she understands both the Village and SCPD's reasons for changing the night, she said that in her opinion the new board is not managing the Chamber as a business.
"But if this event is not in the black, or ceases to exist, the Chamber will once again be scrambling to stay at the break even line. I am not sure if they understand this reality. Every space available needs to be maximized for profitability- this is how the bills get paid," wrote Skura.
What are your thoughts on the possible Alive After Five changes? Add them in the comments.