sb donovan's 040214The site of Donovan’s Reef in April. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


An ambitious plan to reopen a prominent Sea Bright bar by July 4 won’t meet its goal, the Star-Ledger’s website reports.

Bob Phillips, an owner of Donovan’s Reef, tells that the effort has been frustrated by his inability to obtain a loan from the federal government.

Still, the business, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012, will reopen in scaled-down form this summer, with completion of a permanent new structure as early as November, Phillips tells the news organization.

In February, the borough planning board unanimously approved a plan that would enable Phillips and his partners to open a tent version of the tiki bar by May 15. That didn’t happen, however.


Donovan’s is not going to reopen July Fourth, Phillips said, adding that it would take at least another month to welcome revelers — and even then there will be bars but no stage.

“There’s so much to be done,” he said. “It’s not one of these things where we just open up the door and everything’s back. We’re going to have a limited menu and a limited amount of alcoholic beverages. I don’t think we’re going to have beach access. … If we have music, it’s going to be deejays.”

Despite the headaches and holdups, Phillips expects the main building will be completed in November.

“If you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it right,” he said. “The club is going to be a third larger than the previous building. It’s going to be elevated. You’re going to be able to sit at the bar and look down at the beach.”