Watermark Asbury Park Owner Wants Donovan’s Reef Shut Down

Russell Lewis, the owner of Watermark Asbury Park, responded to a NJ.com report of a bar fight, a maskless crowd and little if any social distancing at Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright on Saturday night by calling upon State Senator Vin Gopal to get the popular Sea Bright venue shut down.

Gopal responded on facebook:

Vin Gopal Russell Lewis – I have a feeling the ABC will be getting aggressive on folks liquor licenses. That’s the only thing that those who are irresponsible will understand.

ABC is the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control, the State agency to regulates businesses with liquor licenses.

Lewis responded, saying he messaged Governor Murphy personally to get Donovan’s license pulled:

Russell Lewis I’ve messaged Gov Murphy asking him to pull their license. I hope others will do the same.

“I’m calling on my local, regional and state legislators to instantly revoke any bar/restaurant that is blatantly disrespectful and disregarding the law around social distancing, Lewis said in a statement to MMM. “This is my livelihood they’re messing with if we are all to be punished because of a behavior of a few. I’d expect the same treatment if I were running my business so incorrectly. “

Lewis provided photos of how he is operating Watermark Asbury Park with COVID-19 appropriate social distancing policies.

” I typically gross around $50k on a summer Saturday. I grossed $3600 yesterday,” Lewis said. “If there is a spike because bar owners and not managing appropriately, Murphy will shut us down. That would be devastating.”

Lewis said that the COVID-19 spikes in Austin, TX and elsewhere are being traced back to bars. He noted that California Governor Gavin Newsome order bars and restaurants in seven counties, including Los Angeles, shutdown due to the coronavirus spread, and recommended that eight additional counties due so voluntarily. “Shits hitting the fan,” Lewis said.

“Murphy is looking at these numbers. It will be devasting if NJ has to go through another shutdown.”

Lewis said he has not heard back from Governor Murphy.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon, who represents Sea Bright, the location of Donovan’s, said he has been in touch with local authorities and ABC. “Donovan’s is making adjustments,” O’Scanlon said. “We need to handle these situations with education and appropriate enforcement. Taking away someone’s license, their livlihood and the jobs of their employes is extreme. At the same time, we can’t let establishments thumb their noses at safety. It all has to be a balance.

Tune into Murphy’s daily knucklehead briefing on Monday, which is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., according to the Governor’s communications office.

Posted: June 28th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: COVID-19, Monmouth County News, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

18 Comments on “Watermark Asbury Park Owner Wants Donovan’s Reef Shut Down”

  1. James Vogt said at 11:59 pm on June 28th, 2020:

    I have been to Donovan’s several times over the past weeks. The surrounding beaches are more packed during the day with more people drinking drinks to go from local bars so what’s the difference? Shut All the beaches down then. Donovan’s has their stuff together multiple sinks to wash your hands at, must wear a mask to use bathrooms remember people masks aren’t mandatory outside! don’t believe the one sided news story by local hacks just trying to make a name for themselves.

  2. Gary said at 11:37 am on June 29th, 2020:

    What an ass. Like he couldn’t call a fellow bar owner himself he has to attack through the press. What a lowlife. I’ll never go to Watermark again. It makes no difference what Donovans is doing it’s the way Watermark is attacking Donovan. Just a low blow. Total jerk!

  3. JD said at 11:51 am on June 29th, 2020:

    The Watermark guy should be careful about asking a tyrant for help.

  4. Duchess Of ASBURY said at 12:17 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    I Don’t Care For “SNITCHES” WaterMarks Owner Must Not Be From JERSEY.

  5. Anonymous said at 12:44 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    I agree with all the comments above. Russell should be ashamed of himself for using his “power” based on a difference of belief of how things are beings handled. I like how people are standing up to support Donovans here. It’s a shame that politicians (Murphy & O’Scanlon) have to put up with people like himself who have a “my way or the highway” approach to the world. 

    This is not about protecting his establishment from being shut down from people not following directions, this is about politics! Also, if Russell wants to make the virus political, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I think the topic of liquor licenses, in general, should be brought into the conversation. Do you want to talk about corruption? Let’s revoke all liquor licenses, get rid of the ABC, and let anyone be allowed to serve alcohol in the state of New Jersey so we don’t have people like Russell abusing his “power of voice” on the political stage. Sorry Murphy & O’Scanlon that you have to deal with people like this, I really do feel bad for the both of you. #ShameonRussellLewis

  6. VN said at 2:56 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    Pretty lame picking on a competitor and trying to get their license revoked. I would mind my business if I were you. Just curious, did you have any issue with Murphy and others NOT social distancing when they were protesting?

  7. Diana said at 5:06 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    Wow,he is an awful man to ruin someone’s business why didn’t he call them?

  8. JF said at 6:18 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    Spite must taste like shit!

    Peanut butter and jealous of liquidity! During the “protests” why didn’t u call for the shut down of AP?

    Get ready, a storm is coming.

    Watermark auction coming soon!

  9. JF said at 6:29 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    Nothing can stop what coming.

    Watermark “Bankruptcy” auction coming soon.

  10. The pint sized said at 6:32 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    State Senator knows who butters his bread. I mean seriously, who goes to The Watermark? Great job at getting those clicks Art!

  11. FS said at 6:34 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    What d*•k move. Just reach out to the other business owner. Typical douche canoe.

  12. Frank said at 6:41 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    Why don’t you worry about cracking down on all the underage kids drinking in your place. Man up and call the owner of Donovan’s ya jerk!

  13. Ern Mignoli said at 11:33 pm on June 29th, 2020:

    ABC raided Watermark 15 armed agents, on endless public reports complaints documentation overserving overcrowding underage drugsand sale of drugs and more. Owner serves on AP Zoning Board, and gives everybody a rough time, especially his competition bars.
    Conflict with Senator Gopal exists, as Watermark hosts a lot of fundraising and political support for Gopal and his political ticket, and for Asbury Together the Mayor and Council AP and conflicts with Master Redevelopers especially Boardwalk Ocean Avenue.
    All the alcohol to go bars/bar restaurants outdoor dining on AP boardwalk, beach, CBD Cookman Avenue, especially Main Street accross from Asbury Park Police Department, have been in serious ABC violation, city code ordinance violation, law violation, major COVID19 MANDATES VIOLATIONS….

    Asbury Park Inc is the 2nd most DANGEROUS VIOLENT place in NJ of 565 municipalities NJ FBI AG confirmed 12/10/19 Town Hall Asbury Park.

    Asbury Park Inc the Mayor Council and some Asbury Park Police are the ABC for Trenton ABC. and many Asbury Park Police get Bars Clubs Bar/Restaurants paid uniform overtime…and allow crime corruption and nepotism, and Asbury Park Police themselves are AUD and heavy alcohol drinkers and drivers DWI….
    Illegal use of drugs and alcohol abuse, is an attraction in AP, and criminals invade AP, making the City unsafe for children and families residents.
    Asbury Park Inc has built and developed a “SIN ECONOMY” crime pays $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    ps…Freeholder Thomas Arnone encourages AP Mayor and Council and Government to VIOLATE GOVERNOR MURPHY COVID-19 MANDATES…. causing an AG INJUNCTION AND LAWSUIT against ASBURY PARK INC…sadly AP taxpayers residents will suffer the costs of lawyers lawsuits…6/29/2020

  14. Anonymous said at 7:44 am on June 30th, 2020:

    Great comment Erin Mignoli…up until the “ps” part. I think you might be missing the point on what Arnone was trying to do. But let’s not hold that against you, you had the courage to point out what many people are silent on.

    Anyways, if I were a restaurant owner in Monmouth County, the first thing I would be doing this morning is picking up the phone to inquire Whether Russell had any influence into Murphy’s indoor dining decision yesterday (6/29/20) via Russell —> Gopal —> Murphy.

    Further, someone needs to speak up and look into Gopals connection with Watermark and lay out all conflict of interests as Erin’s comment I think is only the tip of he iceberg. Let alone the fundraising events connection, Russell’s involvement with the zoning board, I know for a fact of what Erin says with the corruption, drugs, sex parties, and filth that Watermark (and AP) attracts to this beautiful area. Have kids? Hope they don’t find themselves in Watermark as it’s a slippery slope from there. It’s a shame and if there wasn’t a better opportunity to make a statement locally with what’s going on with the “leftist” style hijacking that’s going on in this country, I am not sure what will. Monmouth GOP, if this doesn’t get you to take action I am not sure what will. Erin said it best: “ASBURY PARK IS UN AMERICAN”!

    Lastly, local restaurant owners and business owners need to start coming together to support our local politicians who are putting up the fight daily; Arnone, Golden, Smith, the list goes on. This story is a great fire starter to start getting the choice / free will back into individuals vs. the politicians on what risks we decide to take in life. If you think this virus story is going to slow down with November coming around think twice, you haven’t seen anything yet! Chris Wood? Tommy Bonfiglio? Come on fellas, our local politicians need help here. Make an example out of Russell, make an example out of Gopal, make an example out of Murphy, that enough is enough and the leftist filth that’s infiltrated Monmouth County will not be tolerated….if it’s not to late to do so. Interesting times we live in, will you be silent or will you defend what’s right?

  15. All valid concerns, said at 9:14 am on June 30th, 2020:

    but Monmouth has been “ invaded” for years, this situation is precursor for what the county will be like, in just a few years. Sadly, a lot of voters either think it’s fine, or don’t care at all. (It would help, especially, if several of the “ good, reliable,” GOP- leaning towns would quit the dangerous, ego-driven infighting that’s been happening, over the last few years! Wake up, or we’ll wind up like Paterson/ Passaic!)

  16. Bob English said at 10:28 am on June 30th, 2020:

    Hopefully the idiots that don’t wear masks where needed and do not maintain social distancing don’t ruin it for everyone else. https://www.foxnews.com/us/coronavirus-outbreak-at-michigan-college-bar-infects-85-people

  17. Big Ern said at 11:04 am on June 30th, 2020:

    finally found this site! I cannot wait to see what develops…

  18. Tony said at 1:10 pm on June 30th, 2020:

    Wow watermark makes 50,000 on a Saturday ????
    Hopefully IRS is reading the same article as i am . Make sure his taxes from 2019 state 50,000 on Saturday sounds shady mr Lewis .
    You are giving Donavans great publicity!!!
    Thank you