Weather the Winter Months Without Kubel’s

Closing for Renovations Jan. 7

File photo by Marjorie Amon.

Fans and neighbors of Kubel’s in Barnegat Light have through Sunday, Jan. 6 to eat, drink and be merry until the tavern and restaurant temporarily closes for renovations.

The north end establishment at the bayview end of West Seventh Street has been an institution since 1927, say the regulars at the nautical bar. This fact was noted by Anthony Bourdain, when the late CNN “Parts Unknown” host featured it as he feasted on clams and drawn butter.

Owner Ken Egan said it is time for repairs. The building is “almost a hundred years old.

“There is some work we have to do here and we can’t do it when we’re open everyday,” he said.

“We’re not sure exactly how long it will take,” he said on Dec. 19, adding that they will know more when they begin getting into the renovation.

The website at kubelsbarnegatlight.com posts this announcement: “Kubel’s will be closing this winter for a couple of months for renovations starting January 7th. Pictures will be periodically posted for customers to see progress, and announcements for re-opening will be posted as well. Feel free to contact us via e-mail for any questions.”

Egan was willing to quell fears that the character of the maritime bar would change drastically. “No,” he said, “it’s fine just the way it is … why change it?”

On the restaurant side, Kubel’s is a family gathering place to find seafood fresh from the nearby docks, and it has been a beacon all winter to warm up with a range of offerings.

Adjust your eyes in the inviting, dimly-lit bar and blend into the scene where commercial fishermen sit elbow-to-elbow with out-of-towners, often finding common ground in loving the water.

Specific details of the renovation weren’t available; word had it that decisions on some of the current installations would be made as the project advanced.

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So, until the doors open on the updates, the history can be read on the website:

“In the 1920’s Paul Kaetzel owned a daily row boat rental business at the foot of 7th street and wanted to find a way to keep his customers around for an extra day or two. His solution was providing food and lodging. So, Paul built an inn across the street where tired and hungry fishermen could get a hot meal and a cold beer and rest up for another day’s fishing.

“Thus, the bar that was to become Kubel’s was born and named Paul’s. In 1946, the time was right for Paul to let the bar go to a gentleman named Rudolph Hanson; who appropriate enough, called it Rudy’s.

“Rudy’s was only around for a couple of years when in 1948 along came the Kubelczicas family from South Philly. They were experienced tavern owners who wanted to stay in the bar business and move to Barnegat Light. The bar was renamed Kubel’s and run by Adam and Helen, affectionately known as Mom and Pop Kubel.

“It remained a community fixture serving locals, vacationers, and Coast Guard Station Barnegat personnel – the most notorious of which was Sinbad. Sinbad was a mixed breed, seafaring dog with a taste for bars, beers, and brawls as his highly decorated but spotty service records attest to (pictures on wall). Appropriately, Chief Dog Sinbad K9C (his official rank) ended his days in Barnegat Light in 1951 at the ripe old age of 91 (dog years) and is buried under the flag pole at the Coast Guard station just a few steps from his favorite watering hole.

“As Father Time began catching up to Mom and Pop Kubel, the business was turned over to their daughter Helen and her husband, Harold Russell in 1967. By 1973 the Russell’s decided to hand things off to the Stavish family headed by father Frank and mother Kay.

“Sons Jimmy and Paul were natural innkeepers and successfully ran the establishment till 1986 when the family decided to sell the bar to their long time trusted bartender Jim, “Moose” Morrison and his long time trusted customers Ken Egan and Tom McCabe.

“Thus began the transformation of Kubel’s from a neighborhood watering hole to a full-service tavern. Throughout these many years, Kubel’s has always been a family run business and a mainstay of the Barnegat Light community; and, continues to be so to this day.

“Sadly, Moose and Tom are both gone, but Egan and his family are committed to carrying on the venerable traditions started all those years ago: good food, good drink, good times.”

— Maria Scandale

Reposted from The Sandpaper