See, be seen, and drink up in some of the hottest spots on the Eastern Seaboard.
Each town on Long Island's tip has its own character, personality, and nightlife style. Montauk has a beachy vibe full of salty coifs and surfer bros in flip-flops that nest at waterfront bars. East Hampton is tony, where the jet-set flocks to well-heeled lounges. Southampton is an amalgam of the two with a preppy twist and backyard cocktails. And Amagansett boasts the thronged Indian Wells Beach and rock music taverns. Regardless the scene, from vogue openings to bulwark honky-tonks, there’s nothing quite like summer gallivanting—and imbibing—on the Gold Coast.
Cyril's Fish House
The after-beach crowd spills out of this sun-dappled bar situated on a long stretch of road in Amagansett with the Long Island Railroad running through its backyard. Reggae music blares as a legion of blenders grind eternally, mixing their legendary BBC’s (banana, Bailey’s, and cream) topped with rum floaters.
Drink to Get: BBC.
Byron at the Surf Lodge
New owner Jayma Cardoso has dialed back the Bacchanalian revelry and returned the Surf Lodge to its more mellow origins. In addition to a complete redesign of all the rooms, Aussie chef Chris Rendell debuted a new seafood restaurant, Byron, themed after the famous bohemian bay town in New South Whales. What hasn't changed? The surf movies on rotation 24/7 in the lobby, the sand-side daybeds, and waterfront fire pit, where Sunday holdovers catch live bands at the outdoor patio's summer concert series.
Drink to Get: Ginger-Mint Lemonade (vodka, lemon, mint, homemade ginger beer).
Everyone from local blues bands to Jimmy Buffett plays live music at this Amagansett mainstay, which first opened its doors in 1987. The low-key venue can quickly transform from intimate to suffocating during high season weekends with a sprawling line down the block so get there before 9 p.m. to ensure a spot next to the stage.
Drink to Get: Bud Lights at this jam hall.
A summer camp for adults. Straight across the water from Surf Lodge, Ruschmeyer’s is a relative newcomer to the scene having opened in 2011. A teepee on the back lawn sits under glowing globes hanging from treetops where everyone congregates for cocktails and daytime activities including Ping-Pong, bingo, and paddle-boarding on the lake.
Drink to Get: Spicy Watermelon (vodka, fresh watermelon juice, jalapenos, lemon).
Saunter right off the sand at this beachfront surf shack and cool off at the bar, shoes and shirt optional. The provocative name is befitting of the jolly scantily-clad crowd, replete with an occasional Charlie Sheen sighting.
Drink to Get: Deadliest Catch, a Caribbean-style rum punch.
The rollicking East Village biergarten brings Munich to Montauk with the opening of its waterside outpost. Bavarian bratwursts and soft pretzels with grainy mustards stay true to the original location’s menu, while communal wooden tables with backless benches host soccer fans slurping massive steins brimming with Deutsch brews.
Drink to Get: Schneider Weisse, a classic German wheat beer.
The Meatpacking District staple moved east and brought its globally notorious Beau Brunch with it. White tablecloths grace the outdoor brick patio while thumping house music pours out the doors and party patrons tuck into Nutella pancakes and smoked salmon eggs benedict. Not hungry? Perch at the long copper bar inside.
Drink to Get: La Plage (rye whiskey, lemon juice, honey, citrus zest).
Hamptons Players Club
The equestrian-themed bar launched with Triple Crown viewing parties in a space decked with polo memorabilia and custom furniture from the Pennsylvania Amish. A trio of options—beer garden, lounge, or restaurant—serve sangria and Northeastern micro beers.
Drink to Get: White Stallion Sangria (cucumber purée, vodka, white wine).
2011’s buzziest opening is reaching even bigger heights. An impressive lineup of International DJ stars (Sebastian Ingrosso; Wolfgang Gartner) draws a flashy late-night crowd that hangs in cabanas on the outdoor veranda.
Drink to Get: Champagne!
Southampton Social Club
Garden cocktails in a faux Ralph Lauren ad, this place is quintessential Hamptons. A handsome mahogany bar sits inside a seafood-centric restaurant helmed by Scott Kampf, but it’s the tree-fringed lawn that steals the show. An energetic crowd mingles near fire pits in the backyard while a DJ spinning vinyl serenades them deep into the night.
Drink to Get: The Roaring Twenties (vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, and fresh lime).