Dining & Nightlife | Features
Hamptons Restaurant and Nightlife Guide
Select East End hot spots for dining and dancing
Author: Danielle Fassman | Published: Sunday, June 24, 2012
The term summer has become synonymous with the Hamptons, even to tourists. With tons of restaurants and sites to explore, you’re definitely bound for both relaxation and a fun time wherever you go.
Chill under an umbrella in an open, wooden booth outside at Saltwater Grill, located at the Dune Deck Beach Resort in Westhampton Beach. Sample fresh seafood offerings and stop by Thursday night for the Saltwater’s Famous Lobster Bake, set to a live soundtrack.
Canal Café in Hampton Bays is accessible by boat and offers fresh local seafood and boutique tequilas and bourbons amid waterfront views.
For traditional American cuisine head to Squiretown Restaurant and Bar in Hampton Bays open everyday for lunch and dinner.
The former Indian Cove restaurant has reopened as Cowfish, a restaurant offering simple and affordable steak and seafood dishes. This new waterside eatery is owned by David Hersh and his wife Rachel, who also own Rumba, a Caribbean restaurant in Hampton Bays. Cowfish has an equally relaxed vibe with an interior resembling a Manhattan loft with fresh décor and a modern feel.
Break out of the seafood/new American Hamptons mold with a hibachi dinner at Tony’s Asian Fusion in East Quogue. Offering Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine, the large lounge-like space is uniquely adorned with a tropical fish tank. Be prepared though; Tony’s only accepts cash or American Express.
A real Greek restaurant finally comes to Southampton. At Nammos Estiatorio, smoking seafood appetizers, traditional Greek spreads and Mediterranean-spiced salads and entrees take dinner from meek to not-so-shabby Greek. Picture a trendy Soho loft with rotating modern art, a chef and resident lounge/bar. Local favorites mix new aromas, tastes and textures, making your dinner something to explore.
The name Nobu is synonymous worldwide with the best sushi, and Long Islanders are lucky enough to have one in their own backyard. A renowned hotspot at the Capri Hotel in Southampton, this bare-boned pristine dining room lets the fresh Japanese fare speak for itself.
Patrons are welcomed like part of the famiglia at La Parmigiana, a family-owned restaurant in Southampton that has been glowing with old-world Italian charm for more than 40 years. You’ll want to steal the house-made dressing off your table but there’s no need—you can buy a bottle at the attached deli.
Gabby Karan De Felice (you might know her mother, Donna) opened Tutto Il Giorno in Southampton last year, a second installation of her Sag Harbor restaurant by the same name. European antiques decorate the pristine white space inside and wooden tables with white umbrellas dot the outdoor dining area. Breezy, traditional and authentic Italia.
Bridgehampton’s Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, for the most elegant meat-and-potatoheads.
Why travel to Europe when Bridgehampton has it all at your fingertips? At Osteria Salina, plates boast sizzling in authentic Salinian/Sicilian cuisine created by Cinzia Gaglio, whose dishes reflect a century of his Italian culinary heritage.
Enjoy a fish taco and other fresh seafood dishes as twilight reflects off the water at The Beacon, a local Sag Harbor favorite.
The newest brainchild of restaurant veterans David Lowenberg and The Beacon’s Sam McCleland, The Bell & Anchor in Sag Harbor adds fresh flavor to seafood. With a waterfront view of Mill Creek Marina and foam-white curtains draped like canopies around the tables, the tranquility of the bay seeps into every meal. An extensive raw bar complements appetizers accented with pine nuts, coconut milk and spicy hoisin jam, while seafood soups and salads compete against entrées for your appetite. The bayside layout provides a dramatic backdrop for a romantic sunset dinner or relaxing family brunch.
Renowned culinary authority Matthew Guiffrida brings his Water Mill staple to Sag Harbor with Muse In the Harbor. Featuring its signature oversized fish tank, the colorful yet placid scene sets the tone for a meal full of flavor, variety and ease. Silk pillows surround elegantly dressed tables in enclaves of blue—semi-circular booths adding privacy to the dining experience. Creative starters and suppertime specialties combine international fare from Morocco, Italy, Japan and home while the dessert menu ensures a sweet finish to every meal.
They don’t accept reservations at Suki Zuki, a tiny, tucked away spot in Water Mill, but their sushi is worth the wait. The restaurant is small and dimly lit but it’s the food, not the atmosphere that draws crowds.
Outfitted in a sailor uniform suited for its coastal Mediterranean cuisine, East Hampton’s new addition, Andrra has both a modern dining hall and lounge. Eat in style with wide-open views of Three Mile Harbor, a bar with gas fireplace and high ceilings above naval walls and wood floors. Executive Chef Sami Krasniqi celebrates flavor by blending seaside staples with unique spices and sauces. Weekday promotions include a two-course pre-sunset menu and happy hour. Sundays feature brunch and live music in the lounge before DJ Negro Cabrera takes over.
East meets west at East Hampton’s Blue Parrot, a low-key Tex-Mex bar/restaurant. Surfers, visitors and VIPs unite on the recently enlarged outdoor garden patio, or inside the bar and restaurant. The recipes aren’t local, but Blue Parrot relies on East End markets for meat, produce and wine. Popular specialties include Tex-Mex staples, signature cocktails and sangria.
Situated in the heart of the Hamptons and overlooking monster yachts at Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, upbeat seafood restaurant B. Smith’s is a household name for its high-class ambiance with black and white décor. But the food is what keeps this restaurant buzzing. Southern pit-style barbecue ribs with B’s “Sweet Moppin Sauce” is too good a marriage to deny.
Found in a dollhouse of a building, East Hampton’s Café Max serves up eclectic American food (most notably their meat and seafood dishes) that is locally farmed and simply prepared. The restaurant prides itself on being “Un-Hampton” despite its location on the East End amongst a bevy of seafood restaurants. Renowned for its reasonably priced, ?award-winning wine list and comfortable atmosphere, Café Max should not be overlooked.
Cool off from a day of sun at The Hamptons Players Club beer garden in East Hampton. With a sunset backdrop, casually recoup before heading to the restaurant where you’ll savor the tastes of three continents—America, Italy and the Far East. After dinner, text that trophy babe or beau you picked up earlier at Main Beach and show him/her off at The Trophy Room, a NYC-style lounge just a room away.
Get some Texas-style takeout at The Millers’ Real BBQ in East Hampton.
An extensive selection of richly marinated and slow-smoked meats served with homestyle sides and desserts mix simple cuisine with easy-in-easy-out dining.
Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton provides flavorful lessons in elegance.
A cool, laid back American restaurant in the Village of East Hampton where casual atmosphere meets elegant food, Race Lane offers alfresco dining options as well as homey indoor seating complete with a crackling hearth. This place satisfies the wide-ranging pallet of foodies with everything from spring pea risotto to beer braised short rib. For those desiring an enchanting dinner in a garden or a vibrant bar scene, Race Lane is a neighborhood gift.
Pub fare doesn’t usually include crispy duck confit, escargot and moules frites, unless the pub is Rowdy Hall in East Hampton. Despite its name, the pub offers a relaxed feel inside and a small outdoor patio for easy summer nights.
With its airy dining room painted in warm orange and adorned with local art, eating at East Hampton’s Rugosa feels like you’re dining at the home of chef/owner Bill Mammes and his wife Yvette. Inviting and consistently excellent, Rugosa promises a satisfying meal.
Hold-the-fries-and-rice burger and sushi joint Banzai Burger in Amagansett has new sides, an updated look and a double-decker menu with extra large cocktail program.
Unassuming and authentic, La Fondita in Amagansett serves real traditional Mexican street fare in a casual outdoor setting. There’s no Tex in this Mex, and the pico de gallo and fish tacos are better for it.
Don’t judge The Clam Bar in Napeague (between Amagansett and Montauk) by its cover. This side-of-the-road shack makes no pretense but boasts fresh, mouthwatering seafood and cold brew. Kick back under the yellow striped umbrellas, sing along with the golden oldies playing in the background and enjoy a lobster roll—utensils optional—after a day at the beach.
Situated on Fort Pond in Montauk, East by Northeast serves up Pan Asian cuisine family style with distinct Long Island flair in its steaks, seafood and raw bar entrées. The spot is classy and sophisticated, like Montauk kicked off its flip-flops to don heels for the evening.
No trip out east is complete without stopping at Gosman’s Dock in Montauk. Move over Maine, the local lobster is the freshest by far. With four restaurants surrounded by quaint stores, the hardest decision is choosing where to go. Beside the main restaurant, the Inlet Cafe has an acclaimed sushi bar (lower deck). Or, relax outside at Topside’s bar (upper deck) where you can grab a few drinks while watching the sun set into the blue horizon below.
At Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina’s Gulf Coast Kitchen, scenic waterfront views surround an attentive staff waiting to serve you a lush cuisine cultivated by local seasonal produce.
Montauk’s Harvest on Fort Pond blends the best of the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome with family-sized Mediterranean and Italian plates served in a garden overlooking Montauk’s Fort Pond.
You haven’t set foot in the Boardy Barn in years because you’re—sigh—a mature, responsible adult now, right? If you’re still searching for a socially acceptable shit-show, look no further than John Scott’s Surf Shack on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach. It’s a guaranteed good time—so don’t be ashamed to show your face there. We won’t judge.
Nothing says summer like sipping cocktails outdoors, but if you’re ready to break out of your own backyard, hit the after party at Southampton Social Club for drinks, DJs and possibly a celebrity sighting on their expansive terrace.
Known for having the hottest house DJs, Southampton’s South Pointe is a melting pot of variety, especially on steamy summer nights. Brightly colored pop art lines the walls, providing that quintessential pop of color necessary to keep pace with the fashion-forward crowd. Having booked artists like David Berrie and Jus Ske, South Pointe is heating up. Cool off outside on spacious open-air cabanas or light a flame (ignite that spark) with a romantic lantern-lit walk along the St. Tropez-inspired dock.
From an old Southampton dugout Polish Hall, all-star club promoting team Rocco Ancarola (Lavo), Mark Baker (Double Seven), Dave Sherman and Derek and Daniel Koch hit a homerun with 230 Elm. Fist-pumping beats, live performances and Day and Night champagne brunches give partygoers another place to mingle with the beautiful people. The downstairs is a true man-cave, allowing guests to grab a drink while getting their game on. A swanky lounge is linked to a room with pool tables, video games and a bowling alley. Upstairs, high-heeled hotties and hair-gelled jetsetters dance or light up their love life around illuminated box tables surrounded by cozy cushions. With 9,000-square feet of playground, there’s plenty of fun to go around.
Don’t be fooled by its quaint appearance or pristine Wainscott location. Monday and Friday nights should be reserved for the Georgica lounge, a haven for celebs, socialites and supermodels. More than just your run-of-the-mill LA-meets-Miami Northeast spot, Georgica’s restaurant serves dinner before you get down and dirty on the dance floor in the wee hours.
Phao Restaurant in Sag Harbor boasts bold Thai dishes with Asian flourishes for dinner and an even bolder after-dinner scene. A DJ turns the dining room into a dance floor Saturday nights, Sunday nights are set to reggae and Mondays are salsa nights—so grab a pomegranate martini with Cointreau “pearls” (think alcohol-infused caviar that bounces around in your drink) and tear it up.
The owners of Beaumarchais brought Parisian sophistication to NYC’s trendy Meatpacking district, and now they’ve brought that French-infused feel to their East Hampton installment, which opened Memorial Day weekend. Late night DJs make Beaumarchais a hotspot for the party scene, but don’t stay out so late that you sleep through their famous Beau Brunches at noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
At the site of the once epic Lily Pond stands one of the hottest nightclubs in East Hampton, SL-East. Recently remodeled, this Hamptons counterpart of NYC’s popular Simyone Lounge (SL) runs bar tabs as high as the 13-foot ceiling. No designated drivers or sultry hotel rooms necessary. At SL-East, private cabanas cater to the high-rolling bottle-service crowd. Relax and unwind or get up and grind in the arched-roof, subway tunnel-style dance hall, which gets as packed as a downtown B or C line come the midnight rush hour.
Get your sloppy on at The Tuna Can, The Sloppy Tuna’s DJ-ed party hub in Montauk, while slurping down a fruity Malibu-laden Chum Bucket or a jalapeño tequila Stingray margarita. Saturday nights at this Montauk spot surge with live outdoor music, but Wednesday nights steal the show with Sloppy Derby Goldfish Races, drink specials and a late night Tacos & Tequila menu.
In typical Montauk fashion, The Surf Lodge’s outdoor surfer’s lounge is in sharp contrast to the neighboring NYC-style clubs to the west. Instead of impressive ceilings fancy design and over-the-top architecture, this venue has low-lying lounge chairs, upside down wicker-ware, paddleboards and pastel-painted kerosene lantern centerpieces providing a casual atmosphere for a sexy crowd. The outdoor deck is the place to be on warm summer nights. Don’t worry about getting home—there are rooms for a reason.
Sole East is a hybrid of a Southampton lounge and The Surf Lodge. When renting a house with five of your besties, the only reason you’re coming here is the party, but this conglomeration of zen-minded Montauk and swanky city life offers swimming, organic fare and an all-day outdoor bar and lounge—where you want to be. Manhattan-style U-shaped seating and NYC-imported DJs may make you wonder why you spent the last four hours in a car, but you’ll be glad you came.
Strategically placed blues, whites and rich wood accents help create the maritime-inspired décor of Montauk’s Navy Beach. The restaurant’s focal point may be wall-to-wall panoramic waterfront views, but after sunset the bars and sand take center-stage. Saturday night features live reggae, ska and blues with tree stumps serving as makeshift tables. Drinks are plentiful and parties are loud. A casual but high-energy beach house party, Navy Beach is your alternative to the typical lounge scene.
Consistent with its Montauk locale, Ruschmeyer’s far removed from the beaten trail. Unlike its contemporaries, this triple-threat hotel/restaurant/bar mixes childhood idealism with modern commercialism. Good food, ping-pong, stand-up paddle boarding and live entertainment make Ruschmeyer’s great for families and first dates. White paper moons dangle from trees, turning the Magic Garden outside into an elementary classroom. The childlike appeal of the mock night sky/planetarium returns patrons to a simpler time en route to the natural peace of Fort Pond and a few stiff drinks. Come for the food or a return to childhood wonder, Rushmeyer’s welcomes everyone.
Just getting in from the city? Stretch your legs at Westhampton’s Cupsogue Beach Hut with nightly outdoor music, drinks, wraps and raw bar. What is the one thing missing from the Hamptons? Karaoke! Weekends at East Hampton Bowl feature live music, karaoke nights, a full bar and finger food along with game room and bowling. Famous for its fine cuisine and elite guest list, Dockers in East Quogue has live music Tuesday nights and Friday-Sunday. At Southampton Publick House you can grab some grub in the restaurant before hitting the taproom, where drink specials and local DJs keep the night flowing as long as you can (9:30pm Wednesday and Saturday and 10pm Friday). Twilight Thursdays and Sunset Fridays at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack include free live sunset performances accompanied by wine and cheese starting at 5pm. Jazz things up at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton, this little French bistro offers live jazz Tuesday and Sunday night. Amagansett’s The Stephen Talkhouse is the church of the East End music scene. Bring a snack and enjoy good company, good cocktails and… do I even have to say it? Head up the road Monday nights for a little variety at Montauk’s Concerts on the Green. Enjoy a picnic dinner, cocktails and free music starting at 6pm.
July 6: Celebrate the gift of independence at the 25th Annual American Picnic Benefit Firework Show with games, food and family activities at Shinneock Bay. Proceeds will benefit Southampton Fresh Air Home, a residential camp for the physically challenged.
July 4: The July 4th Fireworks Display at Umbrella Beach in Montauk is one of the season’s annual highlights. Arrive early—fireworks start at 9pm.
July 6-8: Celebrate Independence Day weekend with independent artists from all over the US and Canada at the free three-day Amagansett Fine Arts Festival.
July 13-15: More than 75 national and international galleries, 400 renowned artists and 3,000 artistic creations will converge at Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark for ArtHamptons, a three-day contemporary art exhibit. Preview on Thursday, July 12 supports Bridgehampton’s LongHouse Reserve.
July 20-22: Starting with a Thursday night opening preview at the Bridgehampton Historical Society (to benefit the Parrish Art Museum), the three-day contemporary art festival artMRKT Hamptons is expected to draw large crowds and heavy hitters.
July 26-30: Three weeks of East End contemporary art fairs culminate in the new and much-anticipated Art Southampton at Southampton Elks Lodge. Artists, dealers and collectors should prepare for cheers and jeers at this first-year event.
July 21: Spend Saturday night with the stars while you Rock the Dock at Long Wharf, Sag Harbor for the annual Bay Street Theatre’s Summer Gala Benefit. Silent and live fantasy auctions will help raise funds for the East End treasure.
July 21: 32nd Annual Great Bonac Fireworks Show by Grucci is a three-decade old community tradition off Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton that celebrates and promotes local businesses. Proceeds benefit several charities.
July 28: For a Super Saturday, head to Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill where Donna Karan will head a star-studded fashion frenzy, featuring high-end bargains while raising money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
August 4: Sand and sun makes for a day of family fun at the 21st Annual East Hampton Sandcastle Contest on Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett.
August 4-5: Attracting some 10,000 visitors, the 40th Annual Mary O. Fritchie Outdoor Juried Art Show at Westhampton Beach Village Green and Gazebo is a free outdoor art festival featuring more than 140 fine artists from near and far.
August 4: The 66th Annual Clothesline Art Sale at Guild Hall in East Hampton attracts about 400 artists each year, selling work between $50 and $2,000 to benefit the venerable institution’s arts programming.
August 26-September 2: Bridgehampton Polo Club will host its annual Hampton Classic, a serious and star-studded equine event at the Grand Prix Ring in Bridgehampton.
August 31-September 3: This Labor Day weekend, return to America’s roots while celebrating one of Long Island’s oldest and richest legacies at the 66th Annual Shinnecock Indian Powwow.
Contributing writers: Danielle Fassman, Sheila Kelly, Brittany Smith