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The inside of Vines & Hops. (Credit: Randee Daddona file photo)
The inside of Vines & Hops. (Credit: Randee Daddona file photo)

Vines & Hops, the downtown Riverhead café and tavern known for its respectable beer and wine list and cozy interior, will expand its beverage offerings to include cocktails and a rotating martini menu.

The East Main Street business secured a liquor license last week and began serving mixed drinks last weekend, according to Jeff McKay, a strength and conditioning coach who owns the establishment with his wife, Christine. McKay said the new items will be on par quality-wise with the bar’s local wine and craft beer offerings.

“It takes us to the next level as far as being a full-service bar,” McKay said. “It’s catering to a demographic that is looking for this from us. We’re keeping it at the same high-shelf level as our wines and craft beer.”

McKay has not yet worked out a cocktail list but plans to feature a monthly martini menu and local spirits.

Vines & Hops, the only bar in downtown Riverhead that is not also a full-service restaurant, opened its doors in fall 2013. In past interviews, McKay has said he has struggled to establish a local customer base, with most of his patrons coming from out-of-town.

The menu changes come at a particularly hopeful time for downtown business owners. Patchogue’s popular PeraBell Food Bar will open a Riverhead location soon; so will the restaurateurs who own Holtsville’s Sonoma Grill.

“It’s going to give people more of a reason to come downtown,” McKay said.

Vines & Hops will host a fundraiser this Saturday, April 18, to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the entry fee is $10. Kerry Kearney and Friends will perform at 9 p.m.

McKay hopes to host several fundraisers per year at the establishment.

“It’s to help gerenate public awareness of downtown and it’s our way of giving back to the community,” he said.

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