Beat the Heat at Boathouse Lakeside Tavern with Beach, Band

Full Deck at Boathouse Lakeside Tavern in Big BearUncharacteristically cool weather each weekend in Big Bear Lake kept putting the kibash on the weekend summer deck part at Boathouse Lakeside Tavern.

The weather didn’t look particularly promising for Memorial Day weekend either, with thunderstorms in the forecast. But the rain stayed away from the lakeside lounge which meant the people came out in droves, getting summer off to a roaring start…finally.

“It was as busy as the Fourth of July,” noted Ron Bertorello, whose band Full Deck plays to a full deck at water’s edge Saturdays and Sundays now that summer is in full swimg on Big Bear Lake. Indeed when summer arrives, the Boathouse is the place to be and while there’s lots of beach to enjoy and outdoor dog park, people gravitate to the deck.

Longtime fixtures on the deck, the band knows how to keep the party going for guests who arrive by car or boat, taking advantage of the lounge’s dock, playing a mix of music that ranges from Tom Petty to Jimmy Buffet to The Eagles. Bertorello himself has played for 31 years on the lakeside deck, going back several owners of the iconic lounge to the old “Tail of the Whale” and “Poop Deck” days.

He’s joined by bass player Mark Bell and drummer Bill Gray, comprising the same trio that’s played on the deck for over five years, an eternity in local music terms. The music is the kind of stuff people dance to, ranging from “Margaritaville” to “Mustang Sally” and “Tulsa Time,” and with boaters playing on the lake it’s the perfect spot to soak up some rays and suds. The band plays till sunset’s spectacular show over the water with fitting finale. It’s not uncommon for musicians to join in, like harmonica player Steve or the hot guitar player that joined in over the holiday.

Away from the deck Boathouse has plenty to offer too. The outdoor Tiki Bar next to the volleyball court is a popular hangout, sometimes with its own entertainment, as is the beach, and with lower lake levels there’s more shoreline  to enjoy. Boathouse is dog- and boater-friendly too. Inside the lunge there’s sports on big screen TVs, pool, and karaoke with Crystal Fridays through Sundays.

Boathouse Lakeside Tavern has full cocktail service and selection of beers on tap. Expanded menu offerings range from appetizers like hot wings and onion rings to pulled pork sliders and pastrami sandwiches. Clams or mussels steamed in juice and white wine are perfect lakeside delights, as is rare seared ahi tuna and coconut shrimp.

Third-pound burgers start at just $9 and can be customized with bacon, bleu cheese, grilled onions, pastrami or more. Shrimp tacos are another favorite, served with cabbage and cilantro aioli, along with turkey wraps. Traditional thick crust pizza  is also available with all the variations, including veggie and the favorite barbecue chicken.

And the Boathouse is the prime spot for Rotary’s July 4 fireworks show with music and party by day, prime pyrotechnics viewing by night. Reserve your private table before they all sell out.

Boathouse Lakeside Tavern is on the water at 330 Alden Rd. Call (909) 866-2949.

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