By PATRICK HEIJ
July 31, 2013
The Rockaways are already home to a colony of raffish surfers, young artists piled into bungalows and Bushwick-types who have made it their urban beach resort. Now it has a designer motel with a hopping bar scene populated by the sort of young, well-coiffed life-forms that might otherwise go to Montauk. Opened last month, the Playland Motel is run by the owners of the Output dance club and Rosarito Fish Shack in Williamsburg. “It feels like Berlin or Ibiza,” David Terranova, a music video producer from Brooklyn, said last weekend at a crowded dance party.
Playland took over a corner in a roughneck section of the Rockaways that once housed the Tap and Grill clam bar, a block inland from the beach. Inside, filament bulbs and artfully weathered wood assure patrons that they are in the right place, while a stuffed marlin and plastic palm trees conjure Beachtown, U.S.A. The real draw is the huge backyard, where sandy gravel, colorful beach umbrellas and campy deck chairs surround a large wooden deck that doubles as a dance floor. Out of sight are the 12 snug motel rooms ($150 to $225 a night, depending on demand), individually designed by artists.
Blithe, fashionable and flirty, the cool crowd seems to be rapidly approaching or reluctantly departing the age of 30. Last Saturday night, guys in cuffed Hawaiian shirts and mesh snapbacks got friendly with girls in denim jumpers and Zubaz-like pants in tropical prints. Representing the local contingent, a woman in a sleeveless soccer jersey bounced around the dance floor on an invisible jackhammer.
No cover. Anything goes for attire, but “bikinis are encouraged,” said Jamie Wiseman, an owner, half-joking.
With Olivier Spencer of DFA Records as music director, expect a curated mix of classic house, jubilant disco and high-profile D.J.’s.
Summery cocktails like Pimm’s Cups and caipirinhas are humanely priced at $10. Pair a Narragansett tall boy ($5) with a fluke ceviche ($12) or a lobster roll ($18).