This great shot from the Montauk Library’s Al Holden Collection was taken in 1988. The fish tank over the bar has been replaced by a boxing print, and the name has changed to The Dock Bar and Grill, but other than that the Dock Rest doesn’t look that different from the way it appeared 32 years ago. George Watson, who has helmed the iconic watering hole and restaurant since 1973, agrees.
George and his son Chris Watson, who works alongside his father at The Dock, tentatively identified the gentleman with the beard in the center of this photograph as Jack O’Day, a fisherman who could also be found at Gosman’s Fish Market. Still unsure of his identity, George and Chris mentioned the Fagans, as well, believing the unidentified man might be a member of that family.
Although it has the immediacy of a snapshot, this photograph’s composition points to a trained, professional eye. A beautiful balance exists between light and dark, movement and stasis. Chris mentioned that his father has two brothers, Tom and Paul, who are passionate about photography. One, Tom Watson, is a professional fashion photographer. Unfortunately, we don’t know the creator of this image. But it has a heartbeat, a rhythm of life that hasn’t stopped in 32 years. We are waiting to be seated, and in a few minutes, we can sit at a table. When the corona virus has totally dissipated, we will.