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The Dolphin – The Early Years


Dawn Cole remembers: My father, Kenneth Collier acquired the Joe’s Place property after the fire, totally rebuilt and opened as the Dolphin in 1949. Operated until he was killed in auto accident in Florida in Spring, 1955. My Mother sold within months. So these following pictures are post my Father’s ownership. Totally different venue and concept from early days. Opened with formal white tablecloth dining, waiters wore white shirts, black pants, music on weekends. Popular spot for family celebrations, including the wedding reception of my sister, Jeanne Collier Oakes. Yes, Pat Van Koevering, I believe your Dad was the bartender there. Many guests arrived by boat, tied up at Dolphin dock. Following its sale in 1955, the Dolphin morphed into the rock and legend it later became.


How did the Dolphin get its name?



K Cole remembers:  It was called the Dolphin because Kenneth was an avid fisherman and had caught one in Florida the previous winter.  He was very proud of his catch and had it mounted and hung in the bar where it remained for many years… I’m pretty sure it was still on a wall somewhere in the late 70’s.  Both the Colliers and the Coles had cottages on the loop at Sand Point.


Thanks to Jim and Gemma Iannone, we take you back to 1958 inside the Dolphin. Jim’s Aunt and Uncle owned Joe’s Place which after the fire would be rebuilt as The Dolphin.


Sheldon Furber receives a massive glass of beer inside The Dolphin in 1958.


Can I really drink the whole thing?

I’m gonna give it my best shot!



The Dolphin – The Later Years


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Henry Viniski and the Dolphin sign  Photo courtesy Mick Viniski


Intro by Bruce Farrington, Village Historian: For many years, the Dolphin was an icon of Sodus Point and in many ways defined our village during that era. In my discussions with long time residents it was obvious that the Dolphin was not only a very fond memory but also something that could not be described without having experienced it. This is why I was so pleased when Mick Viniski (as the former owner of the Dolphin) offered to write the story of this place that had such an effect on our village. Here is his story:

Dolphin History as remembered by Michael “Mick” Viniski

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Mick as a young man! Photo courtesy Mick Viniski

The Dolphin, Sodus Point, New York, Earth, built in the 1920’s and named Joe’s Place on Greig Street, downtown Sodus Point.

Owned by Dominic Decola and operated as a bar/dancehall in the Sixties and Seventies. Named the Dolphin and well known for having some of the best bands from the surrounding counties such as The Brass Buttons and Wilmer Alexander and the Dukes. Origin of why “The Dolphin”, and located in NY on Lake Ontario is unknown.
Purchased by Herb Crockford around 1973 who kept the name and operated in a similar fashion as before.
I bought the Dolphin in May of 1978. The first band was Eclipse and the flyer said the music starts at 9:00, 1st drink is on the house, free Hors D’oeuvres, Champagne at Midnight, Door Prizes and Surprises. I sold the Dolphin in 1983 to Laura Poyzer, an attorney from Marion and the name was changed to Captain Kelly’s. She had the place remodeled to include several rental rooms along the street front and the bar relocated to the back of the building. It became more of a bar/restaurant and ceased having the reputation of holding large crowds and great music.

After Captain Kelly’s, the building changed hands often and the name changed several times. The ones I can remember are Dolphin Out-Back, Mississippi Queen, Long Tall Cool One, Breakers and Club 37. Currently {2014) Tom Frank owns the building and attached it to Captain Jack’s next door and uses the building for additional space for his restaurant and a banquet room with the old bar in the back overlooking Sodus Bay.

When I ran the Dolphin we had two separate bars, one along the East wall about 70 ft. long and a second bar near the back North West corner about 40 ft. long. We had 60 feet of sliding glass doors across the Northside of the building opening up to a huge patio on the bay with 4 docks for boats. We held several large Rock and Roll parties with the attendance exceeding 900 people, not counting the people who sat in their boats anchored just off the back docks and listened for free. On the street side of the Dolphin we had windows that opened up to reveal a 40 ft. food counter for sidewalk food service that was busiest from midnight to three in the morning on weekends when the bands played.


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Crowd waiting outside to get in to the Joe Cocker Concert at the Dolphin  Photo courtesy Mick Viniski

Numerous local bands played over the five years we were open. A huge favorite was a band called Hot Face. Eric Will, a member of the band, even wrote a song about us, “the Dolphin Chew”. The best draw from Syracuse was the Todd Hobin Band, Rochester’s was Duke Jupiter and from Buffalo we packed them in for Cock Robin.
From 1979 thru 1982 we had several National Acts and music legends. To name a few; Foghat, Steve Marriott’s Humble Pie, Pablo Cruise, Kim Simmonds’ Savoy Brown, Mick Ronson, Meat Loaf, Eric Burdon Band (originally from Eric Burdon and the Animals), John Lee Hocker and Joe Cocker. Rick Derringer and Edger Winter played a rare performance together after their band broke up several years before.

Special Events:

In addition to weekend and holiday bands we put on numerous theme parties and events to draw people to quaint little Sodus Point.

We put on Monday Night Dinners in the summer months which attracted 80 to 120 people weekly for a dinner priced at our cost and a dozen clams for a dollar.

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Mick Viniski & Geoffrey Tierson dressed for Xmas Party

We created Christmas in July because we couldn’t draw a huge crowd in December. Advertised as Christmas 1978.5 We decorated the entire building including a Christmas Tree and Elf costumes for the employees. Santa Clause (Jim Chittenden) arrived at the dock on water skies with a huge sack of small Peppermint Schnapps bottles as gifts. The party was so successful that the following week we did New Year’s Eve 1978.5 complete with decorations, hats and noise makers and Champagne at Midnight. For Christmas 1980.5 Jim surprised everyone arriving by Kite towed behind a ski boat. We have pictures.

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Jim Chittenden “Santa Claus” arriving by Kite.  Photo courtesy Mick Viniski

We had Carmen Basilio one Sunday evening to show movies of his classic title fights. One Sunday afternoon in February we had a Cabin Fever Party. I hired two strippers from the Barrel of Fun in Rochester to perform on our stage. Over 200 people showed up for the show, a sellout for the space we used as the winter room. Included in the crowd was an undercover policeman who testified in front of a Judge that they performed a sex dance. Subsequently we were all able to take two weeks off in March as the Judge had us closed down for 14 days as the penalty for the stripper performing the same show she did every week in bars in Wayne and Monroe Counties.

The biggest show we ever did was a Magic 92 radio promotion party on a Sunday afternoon in July. We had three bands, 92 cents to get in the door and half priced draft beers as long as the draft beer lasted. The door count was over 3,300 people and at any one time we could hold 1,000 people max.

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Radio station’s Magic 92 Moose arriving aboard the Dolphin boat for Magic 92 Party


Last Event: Thirty-year Dolphin Reunion

Billed as the 30-year Dolphin Reunion, my friend Jamie Abel, owner of Abe’s Waterfront, asked me to help him put together a fitting Dolphin Reunion party at his bar which was right up the street where the original Dolphin bar was located. On Saturday, August 1, 2009 we threw a party and over 1500 people attended the event. A tent was put up covering his parking lot that could hold 900 people. A local band started the live music at 2:00 PM and a Pig Roast and Clambake was served for lunch.
The Shameless Henry Band with my brother Thomas Henry Viniski playing guitar performed next in the tent to a packed crowd. Todd Hobin got his band back together to play for the occasion and Greg Walker, lead guitarist for Duke Jupiter made a special appearance to play for the crowd.

Thank You:

There are no words to express the gratitude and heartfelt thanks to all the people that helped make the Dolphin the bar that is was. My brother Henry and I know it took all of the Dolphin Family to create the memories we all share. A special Shout Out to Geoffrey “Ziggy” Tierson who managed to work for me the entire time we had the Dolphin. He maintains a Facebook account devoted to the Dolphin.


The Infamous White Powder Incident


Article courtesy of Art Putnam


Click here for a larger view (use the + and – buttons to zoom in and out):

White Powder PDF


Jack Steinkamp expanded on the part of the story about the 2 burned police cars:


I remember when the cop cars were set on fire. They were parked outside of the village clerks office which was also the police department on  Featherly Drive two doors down from my house. The police knocked on my door late that night and were holding a gas can that I left in the yard next to my lawn mower. They were mad as hell and I was able to convince them of my innocence. Turns out local Butch Dickinson took the fall for the crime. I do remember we had a LOT of police officers back then.




05/19/78  Grand Opening Party

First band – Eclipse

06/02/78  1st appearance for Duke Jupiter

06/30/78  1st appearance for Todd Hobin

07/22/78  1st appearance for Cock Robin


04/09/79  Rick Derringer

08/01/79  Black Oak Arkansas

11/14/79  1st appearance of The Good Rats

12/22/79  Savoy Brown w/ Kim Simmons

??  1979   1st appearance for Dr. Dirty


09/20/80  Wayne County Sheriff’s Drug Raid

3 lbs. suspected Cocaine recovered

09/22/80  Sodus Point cop cars burned ?retaliation for drug raid?

Oct. 1980 Cocaine turned out to be Robin Hood Flour


01/27/81  Suspect sentenced for burning cop cars

04/04/81  Humble Pie w/Steve Marriott

07/07/81  Foghat

08/29/81  Pablo Cruise

09/19/81  Edger Winter w/ Rick Derringer

11/14/81  Meat Loaf w/ Davie Johnson, Elton John’s guitarist

And Ted Nealy, Jesus Christ Superstar

12/26/81  Badfinger


04/23/82  Tommy Tutone

05/16/82  The Eric Burdon Band

??  1982  John Lee Hooker

??  1982  Kim Simmonds

07/30/82  Joe Cocker


08/01/09  30 year Dolphin Reunion at Abes Waterfront

Shameless Henry Band warmed up for a reunited Todd Hobin Band

Greg Walker guitarist for Duke Jupiter made a special guest appearance



Dolphin Memorabilia:

Grand Opening Cover:


Dolphin Tickets:


Today in Rock History article (9/19/1981 edition) about the Dolphin  


9-19-1981 Today in Rock history-September 19 edition: Rick Derringer opens for The Edgar Winter Group at The Dolphin, Sodus Point, NY, Earth—S. O. L. R. T. S. P.  This was the first time these two had played together in almost a decade.

Rick Derringer’s band opened the show.  It was no small feat to have two bands, on the same night, take the same stage in a club that was packed with so many bodies.  Part of the magic of The Dolphin was that the whole back wall (or front wall if you are a water dweller) was sliding glass doors which gave a forty foot exit to Sodus Bay, the docks, and boats.  While we collected admission from those docked it would be impossible to put a number on the attendance for any of the large shows as many boats moored passed the reach of docks. At any rate I believe that the attendance for the Winter/Derringer show was in the neighborhood of 1500-1600.

Rick Derringer took the stage about 10:45 and the crowd went crazy. Derringer played for one hour and four minutes. He created a high energy atmosphere with several get-you-up high tempo songs, as well as, hits and other favorites from his catalogue. A stunning six and a half minute rendition of the anthemic teen blues “Jump” set the pace for the guitar hero worshippers in the crowd with his blistering and tasteful solos.  “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” had all hopping; he brought the radio hit to a nearly ten minute, in the making, crescendo—both tunes coming from his first solo album ‘All American Boy’.

Regarding ‘All American Boy’ Cub Coda writes: “Fresh from stints in the McCoys and Johnny Winter Band, All American Boy was supposed to be Rick Derringer‘s breakthrough solo album. For years, it was argued that the frightfully touched-up cover photo of Derringer sank the album before anyone heard it. If that’s true, it’s a shame, because this is simply Rick Derringer‘s most focused and cohesive album, a marvelous blend of rockers, ballads, and atmospheric instrumentals. Joe Walsh helps out on a couple of tracks, but mostly it’s Derringer‘s show — multi-instrumental virtuosity in a number of styles. Consider this one of the great albums of the ’70s that fell between the cracks.” (Cub Coda-Brownsville Station for

It was after midnight when Derringer’s band cleared the stage. His crew started to tear down while Edgar’s started to set the stage.  Shortly before one o’clock: “Good evening everyone and welcome to The Dolphin” and The Edgar Winter Group had taken the stage. Edgar started with a devotion to his wife (also present) and a lingering series of tunes from the first side of his first album ‘Entrance’. The nearly eleven minutes of his hit “Frankenstein” (topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for a week starting in May 1973, and sold over one million copies) eventually brought the set near it’s end when Edgar welcomed long-time friend and past bandmate Rick Derringer to the stage.

It is worth noting the history that these two (actually three when we include Johnny Winter) icons of 1960s and70s music share. In the mid-sixties Rick was in The McCoys and became known as their guitarists on the hit “Hang On Sloopy”.  “Derringer recorded and played with a version of Johnny Winter‘s band called “Johnny Winter And …” and both Edgar Winter‘s White Trash and The Edgar Winter Group.” (Wikipedia)  On the ‘Roadwork’ LP, by the aforementioned Edgar Winter’s White Trash’s live album, Rick was the guitarist and Johnny has a guest appearance during the song “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” written by Rick Derringer. On the Edgar Winter Group’s album ‘They Only Come Out At Night’, which contains the hit “Frankenstein”, Rick Derringer performed as producer, bass, guitar, pedal steel, vocals, claves. All three of these performers (Derringer, Winter, and Winter) have recorded “Still Alive And Well” also written by Rick.  There are many other ways that these three crossed paths and have since the 1960s but back to the show.

Rick, to the stage by way of invitation from Edgar, Derringer was featured for last few songs, and encore. Again, it is important to note, that this is the first time the two had played together in nearly a decade.  They performed “Free Ride” another Derringer penned song from the ‘They Only Come Out At Night’ album—Derringer produced and so on. Next was a jam of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode. which brought the hose down as the band said good night. Encore . . . encore! The band returned, with Derringer, closing with “Under Cover Man” (also writer by Derringer) a song from The Edgar Winter Group’s ‘Shock Treatment’ album.  This was another LP where Rick Derringer acted as – producer, bass, guitar, electric sitar, vocals.

By the time the Edgar and Rick had returned for the encore the bar had closed as it was past two thirty.  I believe this was the largest crowd still in the bar at that time. What a show! (1981)


This link is audio of Rick Derringer joining The Edgar Winter Band’s encore from this show.

Geoffrey “Ziggy” Tierson