It’s May. Countdown to Memorial Day weekend has begun and the unofficial start of summer is not far off. But whether or not Donovan’s Reef will make its comeback with summer is not yet clear.
The lot of the iconic Sea Bright spot has been cleared. The Hurricane Sandy-ravaged bungalow is gone. That all happened, after a static period, in December of last year.
Last word, according to Donovan’s Facebook page, was in February of this year. In answer to a patron’s query of whether or not the bar would be back and exactly when, ownership said, “Yes. Things are moving forward, just don’t have specifics yet!”
Since then, not a word. Only speculation. After Sandy, there was a time when a sale was pending. Then that changed. And in the summer of 2013, owners were saying that it would be back in 2014.
Plans for a larger Donovan’s, replete with on-beach Tiki bars and tree houses, were approved, after some delay, in 2014. And there was a plan to at least partially open with Tiki bars on the beach that year, as a teaser.
A Tiki bar and thatch umbrella have remained on the beach since.
The cleared lot and sea wall are fenced in. Small remnants of the original Donovan’s remain. And there’s a relatively new staircase over the sea wall to the beach, where Donovan’s deck and staircase to the beach was before Sandy. Another staircase is a few feet away for beach access.
One of the owners, Dr. Robert Carducci, died in February of 2014. The other is Bob Phillips.
Phillips was not reachable for comment.
There have been rumors of sales bandied back and forth for years.
But, as of now, the above gallery offers a glimpse into its present state — looking far from ready for an end of May, or even summer, opening.
Could that change?
Rumson-Fair Haven Restrospect will keep you updated.
— Elaine Van Develde