A familiar neon sign just lit back up on Front Street.
The Whiskey Wind Tavern, a beloved Greenport bar that changed hands late last year from longtime owner James Kuhlman to local business partners Paul Monahan and Mike Rose, had a surprise soft relaunch last Friday after a breezy approval from the State Liquor Authority.
Monahan and Rose got the go ahead on their liquor license and, within hours, the doors were open for the weekend. “It was terrific,” Monahan says, “and we were, luckily, all ready to go leading up to whenever we were going to receive it. So we decided to open up the door. Around 7:30, we ripped the paper off the [windows] to see if anyone would come in.”
That question was answered with a resounding yes in the form of a packed bar.
Friday night was thick with patrons, as was the rest of the weekend, Monahan says, with old Whiskey Wind regulars relieved to see that not much had changed, except for a new coat of paint and a refreshed food menu. Even the staff has stayed the same.
“It felt like the old Whiskey Wind,” says Kaitlyn Burke, a long-time fan of the staple spot who stopped by Friday night. “It was great to see a lot of familiar faces.”
“Myself, Mike, all our friends, family, work colleagues … that was always our go-to place when we had people coming into town,” Monahan says. “We really wanted to show what the North Fork had to offer. It was the aesthetic, this old, iconic watering hole that was open 364 days a year.”
The biggest update is a bar food menu developed by Grace & Grit owner and chef Adam Kaufer that will be available until midnight seven nights a week.
“We definitely don’t have a lot of kitchen experience from a standpoint of R&D and inventory and all those things,” Monahan says. “Our goal was to focus on maintaining the Whiskey Wind charm.” They enlisted Kaufer to help them develop an efficient kitchen, with a menu of classic staples like french fries and burgers. But the bar’s famous fried chicken recipe? That will stay the same, the new owners promise.
“It’s our full intention to have that full menu [available] until midnight, seven nights a week,” says Monahan, who noted that there’s not much in the way of late-night food options in Greenport.
More diverse booze offerings are on the docket, too, with a few select Matchbook Distilling spirits having a top-shelf star turn. But Monahan wants to make one thing crystal clear.
“It’s the same old Whiskey Wind, with beers and a lot of alcohol going over the bar.”
The Whiskey Wind (30 Front St., Greenport) is open every day, with food served until midnight. Visit @whiskeywindgreenport on Instagram for more info.