It's Saturday night, and Patchogue's Main Street bustles with Elvis fans, coffee drinkers, bachelorettes and visitors from near and far. That's a change for the South Shore village that for years has hosted a concert series aimed at proving that it stays "alive after five." Nowadays, the thriving Patchogue nightlife scene thrives well into the night on weekends.
PLAZA CINEMA & MEDIA ARTS CENTER
Located in the Artspace complex, this 65-seater screens classic, foreign and independent films and also runs a singer-songwriter series (admission from $10). Among 30 film fans at this night's 7:30 showing of "The Imposter" are Noreen Howland, 46, of West Sayville, and her sister who is visiting from Pittsburgh. "We're learning about directors," says Howland, who comes every week.
Cinema president and City University of New York film professor Campbell Dalglish sets the mood with a brief intro he calls "dramaturgy." "Let's talk a little bit about tonight's film," says Dalglish.
PATCHOGUE THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Fans are waiting inside and outside the theater for the Elvis tribute show to start. "I'm a big Elvis fan, ever since I saw the Viva Elvis show in Vegas," says Keith Matovich, 43, of Copiague, as he waits with his wife, Laura, 45, in the crowded lobby.
At the lobby bar, Kerry Dalena, 41, and Gina Stefanidis, 44, both of Manorville, are drinking white wine. They also saw "9 to 5" here, and Stefanidis brought her kids to see "The Little Mermaid." Says Dalena: "I love Patchogue for the food and entertainment."
ROAST COFFEE & TEA TRADING COMPANY
Hank Stone is playing his acoustic guitar and singing "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," when Luke Meyer, 25, a custodian, and Melissa Meyer, 33, a massage therapist, of Patchogue, walk in. Melissa tells the barista that she wants a small chai tea latte -- Luke is "just a regular coffee guy."
As other customers chat at tables and a woman knits on one of the big leather couches, Melissa says this is another sign that the village they moved into is "doing a little better." Roast hosts open-mic nights at 7 Tuesdays and Fridays, and a poetry event that starts at 7 on the first Saturday of the month.
QUEEN CITY CUPCAKES
Confections with tempting names like Apple Maple Crisp and S'Mores beckon from behind glass cases. Imported from Robicelli's in Brooklyn, they're topped with creamy icing. The store also sells Robicelli's Whoopie Pies and Blue Duck Pies from Southampton. "Queen City was the name of Patchogue in the late 18th century," shop owner Carol Butler explains. Another unusual detail: you can buy the white-painted furniture you're sitting on -- the space doubles as an antique shop.
Bride-to-be Tricia Clark, 28, of Ronkonkoma is just kicking off her bachelorette party with four gin-and-tonic sipping, light-up flower ring-wearing pals. They chose the new nightclub/restaurant/bowling alley/performance venue for Clark's farewell to the single life, Clark says, "for the bowling and the dancing." The room is full of quirky touches, such as the four-lane bowling alley with neon bowling balls, a dining area that converts into a VIP lounge at 10:45 p.m. -- and the two black-tip reef sharks swimming in a 700-gallon aquarium behind one of the three bars.
"I try to come down every weekend," says Nicholas Gonzalez, 28, of Coram. The reason, he says before disappearing into the crowd: "A lot of girls hang out here."
A packed house is here to quaff Hurricane Kitty and hear Kirk Douglas, aka Captain Kirk of The Roots, the house band for "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." Douglas, 40, of Brooklyn, grew up in Holbrook and is a longtime fan of the Patchogue music scene. "I've seen a lot of mind-blowing music here," he says before picking up his electric guitar and blowing the room away with an original tune, "My Baby Girl."
First in an occasional series exploring destinations where you'll find a range of entertainment, arts and culture on a typical weekend night.