Retro Sea Bright Corner of Melody, Sail & Cheers

It’s Sunday fun day. Do you know where your imbibing fun-seekers are? No, it isn’t Cheers. It’s a younger, hipper ’70s or ’80s Sea Bright version of it, though. The gathering spot was the iconic Melody Corner/Sail Inn.

At the time it was owned by Ron Heinzman, who, for more than 30 years after he left the place, owned, operated and charmed many of the same patrons at his place in Long Branch, Ron’s West End Pub until his passing in 2010.

When Heinzman first bought the place in 1972, it was dubbed (Ronnie’s new) Melody Corner. Before that, it was Hennessy’s Gold Coast. And after Melody Corner, the name was changed to Sail Inn, Heinzman still the owner. All the same place at 10 E. Ocean Ave., Sea Bright — different names and owners. It’s been the spot of the much-debated and fated Mad Hatter.

No matter. This snapshot back in time to the 1970s captures a moment of a few very ’70s looking folks (note the mustache and the perm on the guys) bellying up to the iconic bar, whatever its incarnation at the time. It was definitely either Melody’s or Sail Inn, as the photo, taken by an unknown photographer, was uncovered in Heinzman’s keepsakes years later.

So, “Whoopie!” the iconic bar owner, known for his charisma, would say to it all.

The spot was always iconic, especially in the ’70s and ’80s. Heinzman owned it for about 10 years, from ’72 to ’82, according to title transfers published in The Daily Register. And the joint was always jumping, as Ron would have said. He was known to mingle among patrons and employees, like a bar dad to all, offering a “That’s right!” a little anecdote or even a song.

Ron Heinzman was not forgotten easily by those whose lives he touched — and there have been many over the years. In fact, throughout the years after he sold Sail Inn, many who made the place their first bar as teens (yes, the drinking age was 18 back then), made their way to Ron’s to say, “Hello” and thank him for the good times had in the spot as young adults.

Many of those young adults were RFH grads who spent a lot of their recreational time along the Sea Bright strip that is Ocean Avenue.

In this case, particularly, we’re not sure what’s going on, but the mustached man holding cash doesn’t look like your typical RFHer and he looks like he’s got a bar issue to pick with the seated, beer-drinking dude (who more fits the RFH stereotype of those days). Maybe he wants him to pass those beer nuts that are under the bar?

Everyone else looks happily clueless and imbibing. So, what was the most popular drink of the early ’70s? ’80s? And which bands played at Melody Corner or Sail Inn regularly? Remember?

Hold my beer …

Cheers to good times in iconic Sea Bright spots!

Thanks to Ron’s family for providing this classic look back from his photo collection!