Top Long Island nightlife trends of 2011
2011 was a unique year for nightlife on the Island.
Rewind back to 2010, and the main stories were all about Hamptons bashes and DJs spinning solely dance and hip-hop beats for young crowds inside bars, clubs and lounges. The Hamptons were the top destination of the East End. Local bars sold simple, popular beer to neighborhood patrons. At the same time, most of the long-running clubs were doing solid business -- without any sign they would be disappearing in only a few short months...
Fast-forward to the last month of 2011, and "what was" is now matched by "what is": nightclubs throwing rooftop parties, Montauk set in place as a popular stop as hot as all the fabulous South Fork neighborhoods, club-goers in their 40s seen everywhere, "hip" bars serving rare beers and putting on art exhibits. Plus, major veteran venues have shuttered or been completely reborn. And all this happened within the past 12 months.
Can you imagine four different clubs featuring country music nights? On Long Island? Only in 2011. --Ian J. Stark
11. The mature scene
The lighting is dark but the mood is bright at Sugar, "a dining den and social club" that opened in 2010 in Carle Place. In 2011, it remained a premiere place to go on the Island -- but it caters to a 30 year-old-and-over crowd first. With the success of Sugar, as well as Four Food Studio in Melville and Honu in Huntington -- all top destinations that feature a "mature" scene -- the days of club nights being dominated by 20-somethings are no more.
10. Under-21 spots
Customers attend the opening night of Silk in Hauppauge. In 2011, the club became one of Long Island's largest venues to regularly allow guests between 18 and 20 years old, and the response remains strong as clubgoers form long lines to get into Silk every night it's open.
9. Art shows at local bars
“Black,“ pictured, is a watercolor by Bellmore artist Lisa Joaquina, one of many Long Island artists to feature work in the “Art Is Hard” monthly art show at The Leaky Lifeboat in Seaford. The Cortland in Bay Shore also holds a monthly presentation (called “Art on Tap"), and both draw sizable crowds, giving local talents a chance to sell their efforts while keeping 100 percent of the profits.
Read more: Where the newest art show venue is a bar
8. Rooftop lounges
Jack's, pictured, is an outdoor and indoor lounge on the roof of the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach with views on one side of the ocean. Other rooftop lounges on the Island are found at Mint in East Garden City and RoofTop 32 in Rockville Centre — all being born in 2011 (total number of rooftop bars in 2010: none).
Visit Mint and RoofTop21
7. Summer in the Hamptons
The Hamptons saw a large turnout for summer 2011, ranging from bustling, expensive charity tent parties to celebrity sightings at such venues as Georgica in Wainscott and 75 Main in Southampton. On the other hand, clubs like Lily Pond in East Hampton and RdV in Southampton moved on after their 2010 seasons, giving new ownerships a chance to reopen the spaces, respectively, as SL East and South Pointe.
The ExploreLI Street Team joined the crowd at Sole East in Montauk to see Dirty Vegas, pictured, give a free acoustic performance. Although connected to the Hamptons by geography and township, Montauk's personality is famously independent — laid-back, casual and more often (but not always) inexpensive. Venues like Sole East, The Surf Lodge, Navy Beach and Ruschmeyers frequently host free parties, performances and events all summer — yet happen to draw many of the same trendy, wealthy socialites and celebrities who make the Hamptons a luxurious destination. Often called “the Un-Hampton,” Montauk cemented itself in 2011 as a target for local, Manhattan and international crowds.
Browse Montauk nightlife
5. Celebrity DJs
DJ Theo is getting the party started at the Neptune Beach Club in Quogue. Theo (aka Theo Pisani) is a native Long Islander who has received international recognition with his “Nervous Nitelife: Summer Clubbing” releases – yet he keeps many of his live mixing sessions in Nassau and Suffolk counties (he is the resident DJ of Neptune). Many other celebrity DJs came to the Island in 2011, such as Tiesto, Danny Krivit and Paul Oakenfold -- to name a few. (May 28, 2011)
Read about DJ Theo
4. Underground music
Another phenomenon -- formerly rare on Long Island -- are parties that feature DJs who play electronic and independent music while eschewing the hip-hop, pop and dance found in most other nightspots. Niche genres like dub, drum 'n bass, breakbeat and techno are the norm heard at these smaller affairs, as well as indie rock and other alternative sounds. The parties tend to change location frequently, making word-of-mouth, Facebook and Twitter important in finding the next events. (Note the key social-media search words: Subrox, Frank Clementi, Mixology)
Search for dance clubs on Long Island
3. Hipster bars
The Cortland in Bay Shore serves locally produced craft beers and locally produced food, as well as house-made liquor infusions. Once only found in such urban outposts as Brooklyn, “hipster” bars like The Cortland, as well as The Tap Room in Patchogue and The Leaky Lifeboat in Seaford are flourishing on Long Island -- especially due to the modern music, unusual events and all-around “hip” personality that define these places.
Visit The Cortland, The Tap Room and The Leaky Lifeboat
Before 2011, only Matty T's Roadhouse in Deer Park held regular line-dancing events, but by December 2011, it had been joined by Nutty Irishman in Bay Shore, as well as Bullitts Saloon in Bellmore and Mulcahy's of Centereach in presenting nights geared toward country music fans.
Line dancing on Long Island
1. Out with the old, in with the new
The crowd and lights at Aura Sound & Light Suite in East Meadow – a club that was formerly home to The Savannah, gone after seven busy years (2004-2011). Another major venue that disappeared was The Crazy Donkey of Farmingdale, closing down after almost 10 years (2002-2011). Live band fans were concerned with The Donkey's departure in September – as it was one of Long Island’s top spaces for live music. But just as it checked out, the Paramount concert hall opened in Huntington the same month. Huntington also saw the arrival of Huntington Social (in the second-story space that once held Chesterfields), while the large, upscale eatery and lounge Insignia opened in Smithtown at the end of November 2011. And remember the Malibu nightclub in Lido Beach? The Maliblue Oyster Bar opened behind the long-dormant Malibu building in Lido Beach during the summer – and as for Malibu itself? There are rumors the monstrous club will reopen after a 15-year slumber, but Long Island will just have to wait until sometime in 2012 to see …
Read the latest bars and clubs news from Long Island