Oak Beach Inn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Oak Beach Inn, commonly referred to by the abbreviation OBI, was a Long Island nightclub located in Oak Beach, on Jones Beach Island near Captree State Park in the Town of Babylon, Suffolk County, New York.

History and controversy[edit]

In 1969, Robert Matherson bought what was then a waterfront barrier island restaurant and converted it into an enormously popular (and controversial) nightclub: the "Oak Beach Inn", located in Oak Beach on Jones Beach Island, NY, was the original, and later just referred to as "The OBI". He later opened three more OBI nightclubs and named them according to their geographic location. The OBI North was in Smithtown, New York, the 'OBI East' near the Shinnecock Canal en route to The Hamptons, and the OBI West locations in Island Park, New York (which has 2 locations over time; first at 3999 Long Beach Road, and later, briefly, at 50 Broadway). All four clubs were located on Long Island and were wildly successful for many years, bringing people in from all over Long Island, New York City, Westchester, southern Connecticut and New Jersey and hosting acts such as Twisted Sister and The Good Rats.[1][self-published source] In 1979, Matherson sued the town to lease him more land for additional parking which the town granted. However two years later, new officials disagreed which caused Matherson to sue again and when the court favored with Matherson, the town granted him $3 million and the nine acres.[2] In 1993, an unhappy Matherson actually started a "Move Out of New York Before It's Too Late" campaign complete with a hearse, banners and TV ads.[3] A 1993 New York Times article provided more details about his campaign including that the New York State Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control raided the club one year earlier in 1992.[4] One of the OBI West locations burned down after only a couple of years of packing in thousands on the weekends. Arson involving organized crime figures referred to in the movie Goodfellas was alleged but never substantiated.

Over the years, the OBI was involved in many disputes with the local community over issues such as noise, parking and traffic.[5] Finally, in 1999, Matherson sold the property to developer Ross Cassata, who planned to build condominiums, and moved to Key West, Florida to open a new club of the same name.[6] When it closed, the inn's two-ton statues of whales and dolphins, which were commonly touched by clubgoers, were moved to Danfords on the Sound in Long Island.[7] However, Cassata then sold the nine acres to Suffolk County for $7.95 million and the original property was torn down in 2003 and was replaced with a town-operated park, with later added plans of adding a bed and breakfast, upscale restaurant, boardwalk, water-sport area and boat ramp.[3] The park now hosts activities such as car racing and has caused controversy in itself.[8] At the time of demolition, the Suffolk County Legislator commented that the park agreement avoided "an enormous tax increase in Babylon, which would have had to pay a court judgment of as much as $20 million or watch its coastline be forever scarred by high-rise development" and the money came from the county's greenway program.[2]

Robert "Rosebud" Butt is credited with inventing the Long Island Iced Tea while working as a bartender at the original OBI in the 1970s.

The various "OBI" locations -

the "OBI" (original): 1 Oak Beach Road, Oak Beach, NY [516-587-0067] - 40°38'22.08"N 73°17'14.08"W (building sold in 1999, torn down in 2003, land turned into a park with a small beach simply called "Oak Beach")

the "OBI East": 239 E Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, NY [516-728-4121] - 40°53'06.51"N 72°30'11.76"W (building in ruins, but still standing)

the "OBI North": State Road 25A, near Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, NY [516-724-5461] - 40°51'47.20"N 73°12'59.77"W (building burned down in 1980, land now part of "Willow Ridge at Smithtown" HOA)

the "OBI West": 3999 Long Beach Road, Island Park, NY* [516-431-8448] - 40°36'48.09"N 73°38'49.79"W (building torn down between 1994 and 2004, land is now a school bus parking lot)

* Later was briefly located at 50 Broadway (sometimes listed as 50 Austin Blvd.), Island Park, NY as one of a series of famous nightclubs such as the "Shell House", "The Action House", "The Rock Pile", "OBI West", and "Speaks".

Robert Matherson later went on to open "Oak Beach Inn" at 227 Duval Street, Key West, Florida. That establishment was only operating for a few years. Robert Matherson died in 2007.

In popular culture[edit]

In 2010 the Babylon-based rock band "Two Cent Sam" released the "OBI Song" and a DIY video celebrating the Oak Beach Inn's history and impact on Long Islanders and the void in Long Island night life after the "OBI's" destruction [9]


  1. ^ Polizzi Sr., Anthony F. (2008). Deer Park 11729: The Tony Polizzi Story. Xlibris. p. 43. ISBN 1462816886. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "IN BRIEF; A Nightclub Closes And a Park Is Born". nytimes.com. October 28, 2001. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "From the archives: Oak Beach Inn bites the dust". newsday.com. September 30, 2003. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "A Man Fights Red Tape With His Own Banners". nytimes.com. August 7, 1993. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Battle of the Oak Beach Inn". June 14, 1983. New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  6. ^ "BABYLON BACKING PLAN FOR BEACHFRONT PARK Move would doom a 114-unit condo project". nydailynews.com. January 28, 2001. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Long Island Marketing Briefs April 16, 2004". Long Island Business News. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  8. ^ "Some want Oak Beach engines muzzled". newsday.com. July 21, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  9. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIPKEJgHlns You tube video about the club


  • Matherson, Robert (October 1998). Scandal at the Oak Beach Inn: Political Corruption Vs. Long Island's Hottest Nightclub. Barricade Books. ISBN 1569801339.

Coordinates: 40°38′22.08″N 73°17′14.08″W / 40.6394667°N 73.2872444°W / 40.6394667; -73.2872444 (Oak Beach Inn)