Nightlife options tend to dwindle when the weather is particularly freezing, but things are looking up. These three new venues heat up the scene and make braving the elements worth the effort.
NYC FEEL, HUNTINGTON ZIP CODE: ACACIA
WHEN | WHERE After 11 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays at 371 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO 631-923-2299, acaciali.com
THE SCENE Low lights, dressy/casual crowd
This upscale restaurant attracts a healthy stream of patrons (mostly ranging from mid-20s to mid-50s). Some come for the happy hour (half-priced drinks on Fridays, 5-7 p.m.), others for the late-night DJs or acoustic music acts that are booked Thursdays through Saturdays. Anthony Garguilo, an automotive service manager from Copiague, regularly gets a taste of both. "The atmosphere is just right for coming here with friends after work and just staying put," says Garguilo, 29, while sitting with his group in a windowed lounge area that yields a wide view of bustling New York Avenue.
Acacia owner Mike Cassano says that while the venue is first and foremost a restaurant, there was a move to create a Manhattan-style nightlife experience stretching into the wee hours.
NEIGHBORHOOD BAR: RINGSIDE
WHEN | WHERE Nightly at 247 S. Broadway, Hicksville
INFO 516-931-9239, facebook.com/ringsidebarhicksville
THE SCENE Very relaxed, but active
The boxing-themed bar bears touches of the sport everywhere -- from the neon glow of its sign shaped like boxing gloves outside, to a roped-off stage area that looks like a boxing ring. There's even a specialty cocktail menu featuring prizefighting-
inspired potions such as the "Ringside Punch" and "Sting Like a Bee." Still, it's not really a sports bar. Wednesday is karaoke night, and live bands play on weekends -- each drawing a mature, over-30 crowd. But here's the wrinkle: occasional EDM (electronic dance music) nights for the younger club-going, glowstick-waving set. "There's nowhere for these people to go for this," co-owner Lauri Maletta says.
POST-DINNER DRINKS: THAT MEETBALL PLACE
WHEN | WHERE After 9 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays at 54 W. Main St., Patchogue
INFO 631-569-5888, thatmeetballplaceli.com
THE SCENE Lots of people, spanning all age groups
The misspelled name -- well, that's on purpose. A gourmet meatball stop by day, the space evolves into a crowded pub at night. The dimly lit room has lots of exposed brick and wood floors that create a rustic, upscale roadhouse feel. Expect live music on weekends, which tends to draw a crowd of casually dressed patrons who range from college age to 50-plus. There's a chalkboard list of craft brews, a selection of wines and a cocktail menu with powerful concoctions (Rocket Fuel, anyone?) plus a potent margarita.
COMING SOON: PARLAY GASTROPUB
WHEN | WHERE Scheduled to open in mid-March at 210 Merrick Rd., Rockville Centre
INFO 516-442-2600, parlayrvc.com
Three cheers for strong potential. In the space of the old and often-rowdy McFadden's in Rockville Centre, a far mellower dining and drinking hub is coming. "This is not going to be like McFadden's, but it's definitely going to be a place people will want to be at night," promises marketing director Toni Ann Di Re. Plans include a weekend brunch, a beer garden-style section and 40 taps pouring nothing but craft beers. Meanwhile, 15 large-screen televisions will roll major sporting events.