Log In   ·   Become A Member

A Sad Goodbye To Cyril's Fish House

T.J. Clemente

  |   4 Comments · Print Article

The BBC (Baily's Banana Colada) was a favorite of many. (Photo: Joseph Kazickas)

There was no better way to socialize after a wonderful Hamptons weekend day at the beach then to drive out to Cyril's Fish House on the Napeague stretch on Route 27E, between Montauk and Amagansett. On weekend afternoons it was a single's paradise, a meeting ground where you might run into a friend or lover from years back or in some cases last weekend. Three hundred or more people might just show up to snooze with booze, usually with a Cyril's BBC (Baily's Banana Colada).

The author at Cyril's. (Photo: T.J. Clemente)

That has all ended due to the zealous action of the East Hampton Supervisor and his East Hampton Town Board. It seems that after 30 years of non-action, they found it necessary to finally enforce town safety and building codes on a place that's open but five months a year. Some feel closing Cyril's is another part of the East Hampton Board's war on young single people. Others say it's about time the laws and town codes were enforced.

Why was Cyril's such a magical meeting place when, in fact, its so out of the way location was always breezy chilly and dusty? It was because of the BBC, the Bailey's Banana Colada that was blended right in front of you with a real banana, ice and Baily's and a floater. The drink was heaven on a hot summer's day. It was like a banana milkshake after work. It was the perfect after beaching drink. Others all over the Hamptons have attempted to copy it, but no one has. People in huge numbers went out of their way to get there because the BBC was that good. The food served at Cyril's was edible when hungry; the view of dusty Route 27 was not scenic, but the BBC was a home run. I went to Cyril's 4 to 5 times a season, usually during the week, just for a cold BBC and a stuffed lobster or lobster roll. People voted with their actions, the tourist loved going there. They wanted to be there. A part of the reason they visit East Hampton was to go to places like Cyril's. Should safety laws be enforced? Absolutely. But now the Town Board has killed off the BBC!

Cyril supported several local causes. (Photo: T.J. Clemente)

Closing Cyril's, in my opinion, was a political three-year effort of the reigning in a sense of loss of control of all things east of Amagansett by the Town Board. The board went after Cyril's, The Sloppy Tuna, and the famous Surf Lodge, issuing over $100,000, plus worth of fines for over occupancy and after hours noise issues. With Cyril's, the death pill was the additions of an outside bar and service area that was not properly installed under town code and permit. The actual building and land where Cyril's was operated is owned by the Dioguardi family, who after a few lost court battles on the state and town level agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and make Cyril's adhere to the courts findings; uninstalling all illegal additions, such as the famous outdoor bar.

Photos lined the walls inside. (Photo: Joseph Kazickas)

The final blow was when due to East Hampton Town petitioning, the New York State Liquor Authority revoked Cyril's Fish House liquor license because the owner lied when he swore under oath that "the premises were properly zoned." The sad truth is I have personally seen three previous East Hampton Town supervisors, one now a Southampton Supervisor, enjoying the quaintness of Cyril's. Did they know of the improper additions and choose not to attack Cyril's? Or was Cyril's collateral damage due to local Montauk's war on The Surf Lodge? Did the previous East Hampton board members who stopped by Cyril's think there was a huge safety situation at Cyril's these last 30 years? Only they know. One thing is for sure though, the present town supervisor and board took actions that closed Cyril's Fish House.

Lastly, let me say a few things about Mr. Cyril Fitzsimons. He was larger than life. An immigrant from Ireland, Cyril is a Jimmy Buffet looking character who watched over his place like a parrot in a pirate movie watches over the ship. In the summers past, he wore colorful sarong wraps and unique straws hats. He worried about the weekend weather all the time. He is a patriot having donated to all the causes. The hardcore blue-collar working people of East Hampton and Long Island respect him. Yes, he did battle an alcohol problem, but humbly admitted so. He could and would be arrogant when provoked. Perhaps this was his undoing.

Deceased former East Hampton Town Building Inspector Don Sharkey was a loyal Cyril's patron. Once, years back in an interview for an article on Randy Lerner's Amagansett development there, Mr. Sharkey said the following, "The truth is there are many old local farms and homes that are not up to code, I do the best I can to keep things safe, but I can't go house to house." Yet, he never closed Cyril's.

Related Articles:

Guest (Joseph Walsh) from castleisland co kerry Ireland says::
Apr 25, 2020 5:52 pm


hamptonsguy from Amagansett says::
What's next? The Talkhouse?
May 24, 2016 8:33 pm

Guest (Charles Vilk) from Spingfeld,NJ says::
Having grown up on LI. & having vacationed in MTK. for over 30 yrs. Cyril's was a "historic landmark" & it is a shame it has been shutdown. Perhaps bumper stickers could be circulated among the faithful; "SAVE CYRIL'S" as what had been circulated for yrs. to save the former OAK BEACH INN (OBI) another LI. landmark that suffered a similar fate as CYRIL'S !!!
May 20, 2016 6:28 pm

Guest (Old easterner) from Westhampton says::
I've lived on Long Island for 70 years I'm so sick at some changes not all just some yes safety first but God help us simplicity is going to
May 20, 2016 9:35 am


Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
Please type the word 'water'
(For spam prevention, thanks)
East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

New York Title Abstract Services, Inc.
We are a title insurance services company dedicated to promptly delivering fully compliant and accurate reports, and title insurance, for residential and commercial real estate throughout New York State. Headquartered in the Hamptons, our professional team has extensive real estate experience and understands the business from all sides including title insurance, legal, sales, governmental, banking, and lending regulations.

Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Considered a West of the Shinnecock Canal expert with a 5-star Zillow ranking, Aimee specializes in the luxury and waterfront markets in Quogue, Westhampton Beach, Remsenburg, East Quogue and Hampton Bays. With exceptional communication skills and a buttoned-up approach to every deal, she is highly skilled in the art of the negotiation process. Understanding the nuances of buying and selling waterfront homes, especially on Dune Road, is a specialty.

Hamilton Hoge
As the owner’s representative our practice encompasses all aspects of a project from pre-purchase property due diligence, program development iterations, advisement on systems, analyze contracts/vendors, critical path analysis, feasibility and schedule. The strength of our approach is in facilitating organized communication. We strongly analyze all representations and warranties for the protection and benefit of our client.

The Citarella Standard. We’re passionate about sourcing and selling the world’s best seafood. When you order our fresh seafood online, what you receive always reflects the unrivaled standard of our markets. It’s hand-prepared, never frozen, and shipped overnight. 631-283-6600.