Oh happy hour, how you taunt us so, with your half-price drink specials and tasty hors d'oeuvres.
You'll find some incarnation of this after-work diversion at nearly every neighborhood bar and pub - but suppose you're in the mood for something more posh? Long Island restaurants are hosting high-class happy hours, when you can sip cocktails, socialize and nibble on savory snacks in beautifully designed spaces. Here are but a few suggestions of spots to relax and unwind.
WAVE Lounge : Danfords Hotel & Marina, 25 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson, 631-928-5200, danfords.com
Crowd: Mostly early 30s and older Specialty: The WAVEtini, a beachy mix of Malibu rum, Stoli Vanilla vodka and Blue Curacao.
Happy hour at WAVE, tucked inside Danfords, is quickly becoming an after-work hot spot in Port Jefferson. Located right on the marina, the restaurant's lounge has a tapas menu (think shrimp boats, bruschetta) and half-priced drinks every weeknight from 4 to 7.
Sweetwaters : 470 Wheeler Rd., Hauppauge, 631-348-0808, sweetwaters.net
Crowd: Mid-30s to early 40s Specialty: Bellini-tini - vodka, peach nectar and champagne
The Friday happy hour crowd here is decidedly corporate, flowing in from the many industrial offices in the surrounding area. Among the perks: Free hors d'oeuvres, half-price drinks and an outdoor front patio in the summer. Don't leave without trying the fondue, be it the cheese-blend appetizers or the chocolate dessert fondues.
FOUR : 515 Broadhollow Rd. (Route 110), Melville, 631-577-4444, fourfoodstudio.com
Crowd: Late 20s to early 30s Specialty: Pitchers of white peach sangria
In terms of décor, few places rival Four Food Studio (having a 1,000-gallon tropical fish tank helps). The two-year-old happy hour scene is still absolutely raging with hordes of metrosexuals who dress the part. Prices are steep, but the blow is lessened by summertime outdoor seating and unusual nibbles, such as "grilled chilled" seafood plates.
Rein Bar & Bistro : 45 Seventh St., Garden City, 516-877-9385, gardencityhotel.com
Crowd: Late 20s to early 40s Specialties: Chimay Blue Grand Reserve, Trappist Ale
You won't find any happy hour gimmicks here, where the focus is elegant sophistication. Expensive cocktails are served atop an onyx bar - plush leather and impressive artwork abound. Live music Thursday-Saturday makes a visit even more worthwhile.
B.K. Sweeney's Parkside Tavern : 356 Broadway, Bethpage, 516-935-9597, bksweeneys.com
Crowd: Early 30s to 40s Specialty: Beer -- imported and domestic -- is the main draw.
Far more relaxed and comfortable, Sweeney's is certainly still upscale and the atmosphere extremely convivial. Largely considered the "Cheers" bar of Long Island, there's a free buffet served beneath a giant television. Accented by oak and dark green accents, Sweeney's is one of the friendliest and jovial happy hours in the area.
Roslyn Chalet Bar and Lounge : 5 Railroad Ave., Roslyn, 516-621-7975, roslynchalet.com
Crowd: Mid 30s to late 40s Specialty: Apple martini
With the exterior appeal of a Swiss lodge, the lounge's interior has a Manhattan flair with candlelit rooms, gold mirrors and satin draperies. Famous for its martinis, the lounge has a healthy wine list and wide selection of cordials.
Babylon Carriage House : 21 Fire Island Ave., Babylon, 631-422-5161, babyloncarriagehouse.com
Crowd: Late 20s to 40s Specialties: Mint martini, lavender Cosmo
Housed in an actual post-Civil War carriage house, this classy restaurant's happy hour crowd is at its strongest Friday evenings. Complimentary buffet offerings typically include salads, pastas and desserts. Bring a buddy -- drinks are two-for-one.
Blackwells Restaurant : 141 Fairway Drive, Wading River, 631-929-1800, blackwellsrestaurant.com
Crowd: Mid-to-late 30s Specialties: Single malt scotch, bourbons
Tucked inside Great Rock Golf Club just minutes away from the wineries, Blackwells offers gleaming mahogany, candlelit tables and outdoor seating. The drinks menu features icy premium vodka among single malt scotches and single barrel bourbons. With happy hour (4-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday) comes two-for-one drink specials and live music.
Honu : 363 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-421-6900, honukitchen.com
Crowd: Early 30s Specialties: Peach mojito, coconut martini, "Besito" margarita
Well known for its seasonal tapas-style dishes, Honu's cocktails are just as chic. Fair warning: It can get noisy and overcrowded. Still, the atmosphere is electric. In the winter months, the cozy and comfortable fireplace area is the most coveted seat in the house.