Coney Island’s vitality has been on the wane for decades, but a few remaining vestiges of its heyday, like Ruby’s Bar, gave modern visitors a flavor of the good old days. Even those who’ve never been to Coney Island can probably conjure up an image of the boardwalk, hot summer days, and carefree revelry that mixed casually with the seamier side of life. Ruby’s personified all of those things. With the news this week that Ruby’s and several other old-school Coney institutions will be closing, it looks like the boardwalk will be turning even further away from its gloried past.
That doesn’t mean all is lost. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has a lot of ideas about a new era for the iconic destination, and happily, those ideas involve a lot of good artisanal Brooklyn food. Marty says he’d like to see a “mix of ‘old school and hip,” and specifically mentions that he’d like to see the new generation of local food luminaries like Blue Marble Ice Cream and Brooklyn Flea’s food vendors inject some life into the Coney scene.
Initial reports this week that The Brooklyn Brewery would be opening a beer hall to replace some of the classic spots were quickly debunked, but rumors do indicate that at least one Brooklyn-based brewery will be bringing hoppy goodness to the boardwalk. While details are hazy, it appears that Schmaltz Brewery, creators of Coney Island Lager and Mermaid Pilsner, may be working on opening a beer hall.