Birdies Ale House on County Road 39. DANA SHAW
Birdies Ale House on County Road 39. DANA SHAW
Emma Beudert behind the bar at Birdies Ale House. DANA SHAW
As football season kicks off, East End locals now have a new place to relax, watch sports and better yet — gain strategy to win in online sports betting.
Birdies Ale House, a bar aimed to “fuel the passion of the sports betting app enthusiast” opened in July, in the location of the old Blue Collar Bar on County Road 39 in Southampton.
The new establishment’s name clearly pays homage to golf — and the local golfers, sports fans and golf course employees the bar is trying to cater to — but owner Emma Beudert, an East Hampton native, was inspired to launch a casino-style hangout when New York State officially legalized operations for four sports betting apps in January. The State Supreme Court upheld online sports betting in March.
“There’s this huge opportunity,” Beudert said in a recent interview.
Birdies allows customers to watch games in the bar and provides them with “sports tickers” which are similar to stock ticking screens on the floors of Wall Street, only for sports, enabling customers to make better bets.
“They go around the bar, giving live updates, and then two of our screens have betting up,” Beudert said. “Someone who’s betting on a game is using their phones.”
Eventually, if the law allows, Beudert wants to place a kiosk in the bar for patrons to place direct sports bets. The bar currently has the Quick Draw New York lottery and is in the process of acquiring horse betting options within the next two months.
Aside from the tips for winning some cash, Birdies is a classic sports bar, equipped with 13 TVs, a draft beer system, darts and a jukebox. The ale house can seat about 30 people and also serves bar bites like nachos, guacamole, chips and salsa, hot dogs, soft pretzel bites, egg rolls and corn fritters. The most expensive food item on the menu is just $8.
“I was born in East Hampton, and I feel like there aren’t many places to go now where it’s reasonably priced,” Beudert said. “We’re trying to make sure that kids still trying to make their way out here have a place to go where they don’t feel like they’re spending their entire paycheck.”
On top of the affordable pricing, the bar has a customer loyalty program, a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., and events and drink specials almost every day which revolve around the home team of whatever sport is playing that day.
Each night also has a theme, such as industry night, ladies’ night, and an all-you-can-eat buffet for football on certain Sundays, Beudert said.
Several cocktails on the menu, including The Eagle, The Albatross and The Hole In One, are golf-themed. Birdies Ale House’s best-selling cocktail is The Transfusion, made with vodka, ginger ale, grape and lime. The John Daly, made with vodka, lemonade and iced tea, and The Eagle, which is tequila, grapefruit, cranberry, lime, lemon and simple syrup, aim to provide customers a light, tasty drink. The Mulligan, the bar’s main mocktail, has pineapple, lime and ginger beer.
“People appreciate that whether it’s a long day out and they’re just shot but they want to come in and relax and have a nonalcoholic beverage,” Beudert said. “Of course, you can have a vodka soda but we also have these cocktails that are simple, but fun, and definitely help take the edge off.”
In addition to Birdies, Beudert is also the owner of The Lobster Limo, a small catering company that specializes in offering casual clambakes on the beach and backyard BBQs.
“I’ve worked in restaurants and catering since I was a kid,” said Beudert, who eventually became a bookkeeper by trade, working as a controller at the East Hampton Golf Club, among other businesses.
In 2021, she purchased Fierro’s Pizza in East Hampton Village, selling it after 10 months. She took that money and bought the bar.
“I was looking at other people’s numbers all day long, and I was like, ‘I know that I can manage this,” she said. “I can take this and parlay it into my own business.’”
Beudert was a patron of the shuttered Blue Collar Bar, where Birdies Ale House is now located, and she fell in love with the space, wanting to claim it as her own. The Blue Collar Bar closed during the pandemic, and the space had sat vacant for two years when Beudert made room for Birdies.
“I knew it was a great bar and had a fantastic following,” she said. “I’m a sports fanatic and enjoy betting every once in a while. I have a love for hospitality, I started researching the new rules and regulations of sports betting in New York and I soon realized that it’s moving quickly into being a more friendly environment, especially in bars. I was like, ‘This is a home run.’”
The property was owned by the late Ben Krupinski’s construction company, which Beudert worked for on and off for 15 years.
“I knew a lot of people in their office and they were fantastic with helping me get a spot and get going,” she said.
It took four months to renovate the space, yet some customers still couldn’t shake the feeling of the old Blue Collar Bar at first.
“It seems like it’s too clean, it’s too bright — those seem to be the common complaints of our regulars that were patrons of the Blue Collar,” Beudert said.
For Beudert, the launch process for Birdies was long and arduous, with what she said was short staff in the town building department causing a delay in getting permits. Even now, she has to renew her liquor license at the state level every three months until she has a permanent one in place, each time incurring the expense of hiring an attorney. Her mother, an English professor, helped her with all of the licenses and permits.
“I can’t imagine not having somebody read over this, especially if English was a second language,” she said. “I don’t know how anybody would do it. They need to do a better job of helping small business owners … It’s definitely doing a disservice to people who maybe aren’t as fortunate as I and [don’t] have the resources because I can assure you there are people who are much more capable of running bars.”
Another challenge in getting off the ground was the cost of materials. Beudert said the price of plywood and chicken, in particular, were draining, but alcohol costs have stayed largely consistent.
The biggest challenge is fuel costs,” Beudert said. “Every vendor, every purveyor is adding astronomical surcharges because of food costs and because of fuel costs.”
She said she has managed to avoid staff shortages because it’s a new place, and they try not to stay open too late.
“People are really excited to be part of something new,” said Beudert. “They’re positive … and a lot of these people are obviously much more experienced than I am with running a bar and bartending. I’ve had to learn that side. I’ve become a bartender overnight, and I actually really like it.”
For Beudert, running two businesses with opposing seasons is the perfect combination. With The Lobster Limo, her clambakes run primarily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Now that fall is here, college football and NFL games have kicked off Birdies’ season and the bar has gotten much busier.
“It’s been manageable,” she said.
Birdies Ale House is located at 801 County Road 39, Unit 1, in Southampton and is open daily from noon to 11 p.m. For more information, visit birdiesalehouse.com.
One fine body…