Former theater debuts in new life as Alternate Ending Beer Co.

ABERDEEN – The building that was home to the Strathmore Cinema for almost six decades has found new life as the home of the Alternate Ending Beer Co. at 1057 Route 34, Aberdeen Township.

Owner Scott Novick, a native of Marlboro who now resides in Colts Neck, and his team transformed the former theater into a location that offers signature craft beers made on-site in Alternate Ending’s brewhouse.

There will also be specialty beers, cocktails and pub grub from Asbury Park eatery Talula’s.

The contemporary interior includes pieces from the former theater, including original seats and lightboxes. The theater was built during the 1960s with the nearby Strathmore residential development was constructed, Aberdeen Township officials said.

In an interview, Novick said, “This was the right time, the right place. My wife Jen and I were out to dinner at Heirloom Kitchen and the owner, who I went to elementary school with, told me her dad owned the building (that the movie theater operator) was currently leasing, but they were not renewing their lease. I always wanted a farmhouse brewery, but this was too good to be true.”

The brewery is keeping the spirit of the former movie house alive with a theater room where patrons will be able to enjoy a movie, food and drink when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

In the meantime, in accordance with state restrictions, 25% of the pub’s main indoor dining area is open to the public, with reservations suggested. Outdoor dining will remain available as long as weather conditions allow.

Novick said demolition at the former theater started in October 2019 and construction began in late February. The business is now open and ready to greet customers.

” … It was scarier leading up to the opening, but now that we are open all I can do is hope our staff and customers are safe and ride out this pandemic knowing we are taking the proper safety precautions. While I’m not one for happy endings in a movie, I hope this story has a happy ending for us all,” he said.

To mark its grand opening event in late October, Alternate Ending earmarked a share of the profits from the grand opening period to a local nonprofit organization designated by Mayor Fred Tagliarini.

Officials said $828 was donated to the Hazlet-Holmdel-Aberdeen-Matawan Therapeutic Recreation Program, which serves individuals from those communities who have developmental disabilities.

Tagliarini said, “On behalf of the Township Council and the Economic Business Council, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the Alternate Ending Beer Co. family to the Aberdeen business family.

“The fruits of your labor have paid off with this exciting grand opening. The way you have incorporated the movie theater’s history of the past with your recipe for the future will certainly earn you an Oscar for best new brewery of the year.

“This is truly a great reuse of a cherished theater that was unable to survive the changes in how people view movies,” the mayor said.

In addition to Tagliarini, Aberdeen Township was represented at a ribbon cutting ceremony by Deputy Mayor Joseph Martucci, Councilwoman Connie Kelley, Councilwoman Margaret Montone, Councilman Artie Hirsch, Economic Business Council Chairman Carmine Visone and Police Chief Rick Derechailo.

Alternate Ending Beer Co. is open Wednesday and Thursday, 3-10 p.m.; Friday, 3-11 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 11 pm; and Sunday, noon to 10 pm.