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On the beach eats in Connecticut

You’ll know you are there when your tires hit the sand. “Lenny’s on the Beach,” is not an exaggeration of a name: the restaurant is literally on the beach in Old Lyme. A narrow structure with a century’s history of keeping people fed and watered, Lenny’s opens up its patio and outdoor bar onto the sand for an unobstructed view of Long Island Sound spilling out before it. Nautical ropes circle the entire patio and signal precisely where the beach begins.

Situated at the end of Hartford Ave. well-east of Hawk’s Nest, Lenny’s is surrounded by about 2,000 cottages. It’s a beach neighborhood which Lenny’s proprietor of 11 years, Lenny Corto, serves coastal residents, renters, and day trippers visiting the beach, bar, and restaurant during the swelled summer seasons. All You Can Eat Lobster nights at Lenny’s have gotten so popular he suggests you make a reservation because you, “can’t get in without one!”

Since taking on Lenny’s, Corto has sucessfully created a restaurant on the beach destination in Connecticut. “Geared more towards quality seafood and dinners,” he began the All You Can Eat Lobster Night about five years ago. It takes place once or twice a week during the shoulder and summer seasons. But it’s not the only themed evening customers can find at Lenny’s. Fridays are often dedicated to “Taps and Apps,” where the craft beer is flowing and appetizers are on the deck. Steaks nights are reserved for Saturday nights. And if you’re looking for some activity with your fare, there’s live music, comedy beer dinners, as well as events like paint night, and a unique sea glass window night.  Imagine creating a nauitical piece of decor with sand, shells and sea glass, or even their upcoming “Hoops and Hops” a family fun hula-hooping evening planned for June.

A night out deserves a drink to celebrate, and Lenny’s is the kind of place you can imagine yourself in the highly coveted patio seating with a brew in hand and the ocean at your back. It has the just the right level of tiki with island-inspired decor on the outdoor bar and pina coladas served straight out of the pineapples. And this summer they’re adding something for the whole family to enjoy: table-side s’mores on the patio with your own personal toasting station.

If fresh seafood, pineapple pina coladas, and table-side s’mores are not enough of a draw, Lenny’s on the Beach is also the home of the Soundview Brewing Co. Though local ordinances have so far kept Lenny’s from becoming a genuine brewery, offsite brewing has allowed it to be a great tap room for their featured drafts. Named for the street it lies at the end of is Hartford Ave., a grapefruit IPA. Flatrock Amber Ale is a classic style amber. Its name is a nod to to the rock formation down the beach that visitors like to walk out to. And their newest release borrows its label from the nearby well-known beach community, Hawk’s Nest Wheat Ale.  Bring a growler to fill or just your thirst, Lenny’s on the Beach has brews and views for everyone as this bar and restaurant has quietly turned into a must-visit destination.

And bring your walk off the sand hunger, too. When Corto himself is asked what he orders off the menu, he does not even hesitate when he answers, lobster rolls. Hot or cold, he makes sure to specify, “it’s always better on the beach.”

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