The best of the Hamptons 2018: Parties, restaurant trends, events, more

By Ian J. Stark

Star-studded parties, trendy restaurants, haute shopping — summer in the Hamptons brings all that and more. Whether you’re daytripping to the South Fork or staying for a long weekend, here’s a rundown of things to do....

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Star-studded parties, trendy restaurants, haute shopping — summer in the Hamptons brings all that and more. Whether you’re daytripping to the South Fork or staying for a long weekend, here’s a rundown of things to do.

Hampton Classic Horse Show, Bridgehampton

The Hampton Classic Horse Show returns Aug. 26-Sept. 2 to the show grounds in Bridgehampton. One of the largest annual equestrian events held in the United States, guests can take in a variety of riding, jumping and other skill contests or shop in a garden section of boutique vendors. General admission is $10 a person or $20 per carload; kids under 6 are free (240 Snake Hollow Rd., 631-537-3177,

Indoor cornhole, bowling, video games at The Clubhouse

The Clubhouse is not like any other fun spot in the Hamptons -- it features a pub, 10 indoor bowling lanes,18 holes of mini-golf (outdoors) and two bars (one inside, one out). It also offers a video game arcade and pool tables, not to mention three indoor cornhole games in a space that is also used for bocce. Evenings feature DJ nights and live music (174 Daniels Hole Rd., East Hampton; 631-537-2695,

Cruise around Sag Harbor on the 'American Beauty'

American Beauty Cruises and Charters runs 90-minute cruises (11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. daily) that supply guests with great views and historical information about Sag Harbor. You'll pass by the Mashomack Nature Preserve on Shelter Island plus sights such as the Cedar Point Lighthouse and Barcelona Point. Advance tickets are available for groups of eight or more; $30 ($20 ages 5-12), departs from Long Wharf in Sag Harbor (631-375-5211,


Dance weekend nights at Calissa, Water Mill

Calissa in Water Mill is first and foremost a restaurant with Greek fare and flair, but watch for a steady calendar of DJs to spin Saturdays throughout the summer season. The schedule is still evolving, but you can expect live music on Fridays night as well; a cover charge will be in effect and will change with each event. Bottle service will also be available. (1020 Montauk Hwy.; 631-500-9292,

Cocktail and chill at Salt Drift Farm, Bridgehampton

Things may be just getting started for the summer at Salt Drift Farm, but it's already a relaxed break from the action in Bridgehampton. A brick-and-mortar operation run by the catering company Hamptons Aristocrat, this restaurant has a dimly lighted dining room with a working fireplace inside, while outside guests can eat under soft lighting and the starry sky in the venue's patio patch. There's a small cocktail bar as well, and signature drinks served in two-cocktails-worth carafes, including "The Salty Mutt" (vodka, grapefruit, pinch of salt), "The Drifter" (Corona beer, tequila, lime, Tabasco, salt) and a margarita made with honey. (203 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., 631-488-0581,

Maison Vivienne, Southampton

Maison Vivienne opened its doors Memorial Day weekend, taking over the space that was home to the now-defunct Kozu last season. Once again, it will be a restaurant and brunch spot. With designs on staying open year-round, its event space and menu is still under construction, but Saturday nights already feature a DJ and weekly live music. No cover (631-500-9276,

Work out, hang out at the Barn, SoulCycle

A good mile or so from Main Street in Bridgehampton lies the Barn, a space at SoulCycle Bridgehampton. Already a popular spot to work out and shop for high-end exercise gear, the Barn features a pair of outdoor lounge areas where people tend to hang, sip healthy beverages and take selfies. (264 Butter Lane; 631-537-3630,

Freehold x Ruschmeyer’s

Representatives of The Freehold, a Williamsburg hospitality group, are leading a fun brunch at Ruschmeyer's in Montauk. Saturdays and Sundays will see a relaxed affair where cocktails and food is served, DJs will spin and guests can play board games, giant Jenga, shuffleboard and other lawn games. No cover to enter, but RSVP first at (631-668-2877,

Urban Zen (by DK)

Urban Zen is a high-end shop with fashion mogul Donna Karan at the wheel (she's in and out, but definitely there at times). Selling be-seen-in clothes and home accessories, it also happens to share a space with an extension of the  Tutto Il Giorno restaurant brand (631-919-5353, Together, they host "Aperitivo" 4-10 p.m. daily, marked by a menu of Mediterranean styled foods crafted from local sources. No cover (16 Main St.; 631-725-6176,

Specialty infusions at Lynn's

The very off-the-beaten-path Lynn's Hula Hut is an oasis in the parking lot of a marina (Montauk Marine Basin; 426 West Lake Dr.), a sandy patch that wraps guests in palm trees, thatched umbrellas and a Polynesian shack vibe. Live music has already started rolling out at 5 p.m. weekends, and starting mid-June it goes daily. The stars of the show, however, are its infusion mixes, such as "Hot Pink" (vodka, cucumbers, jalapeño) and "Hula Juice" (four rums, pineapples), which go into a variety of cocktails. The space also has a hidden yard called the "Zen Den," pictured, which is available to reserve for parties of 30 or fewer. No cover to enter (303-482-5047,  

Social scene at Jue Lan

Jue Lan Southampton (268 Elm St.) is back for another season, and it's going to add onto its "modern Chinese" dining focus with a social scene punctuated by Saturday night sessions from DJ Twilo, pictured, at 9 p.m. and a DJ-powered "Daydream Brunch" every Sunday from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. In addition, Jue Lan is hosting a Hamptons pop-up of the Sushi By Bou 30- and 60-minute omakase sushi tastings prepared by chef David Bouhadana (631-408-8339, Call for prices; RSVPs to enter not necessary but bottle service is available. 631-353-3610,

DJ Thomas Jack at AM Southampton

AM Southampton was open all winter and drew more of a local crowd, but it's now returning to its summer business, meaning celebrity DJs spinning for a weekend crowd. The Sunday star for the summer season launch weekend is DJ Thomas Jack, pictured, an Aussie musician and producer widely recognized for his work in the "tropical house" subgenre, a style driven by beachy beats. He'll be in the spot Sunday, May 27, after 10 p.m.; admission prices range from $23-$45; bottle service runs from $535-$7,900 minimums (the best bet to secure entrance). Tickets are available in advance at, text 516-492-0346 or email to RSVP.

E.M.P. Summer House returns

The much-buzzed  E.M.P. Summer House restaurant is returning for a second season in East Hampton. It's primarily a fine-dining restaurant from the people who run the lauded Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan. Getting a reservation requires advance jockeying -- and an American Express credit card. On June 1 you can start booking seats through July 31; on July 1 reservations open up till the end of the season in mid-September. Good to know: Like last year, service on the patio and backyard is open to walk-in customers who can pay in cash. (212-889-0905,

Train at A-Rod's fitness pop-up in Southampton

TruFusion fitness brand -- former baseball star Alex Rodriguez is its ambassador -- is setting up an outpost in Southampton starting Friday, May 25. Workouts can include barre, Pilates, yoga or more intensive cycling, boxing and boot camp. Will Rodriguez drop in when he's in the Hamptons this summer? Classes are $30 and must be pre-booked online (702-982-2930,

Hang NEXT to the lighthouse, at George's

Talk about good times, Montauk style: George's Lighthouse Cafe in Montauk is located adjacent to the iconic lighthouse, so you can get a great view (and perhaps the best sunset angle around town) at this brand-new spot. Aside from a menu of summery comfort foods, the space is hosting a live-music calendar, with local artists such as  Nancy Atlas, Jettykoon and The Sturdy Souls, pictured (631-663- 2076,

Surf Lodge, Montauk

One of the more famous Hamptons hangs, Surf Lodge in Montauk is once again planning a season that features live music from some of the music world's buzz-worthy bands and performers, playing the venue's Fort Pond-side deck as the sun sets. The announced schedule already includes dates from talked-about artists including  Jaden Smith, Lupe Fiasco, pictured, Bob Moses, White Denim, James Murphy and St. Lucia. It's free to get in, but far better to make a dinner reservation to beat the hordes of well-dressed revelers waiting to get in via a doorman (631-483-5037,

Take a flight from Gurney's to Gurney's

With its ocean views and beloved fire-pit deck, Gurney's Montauk will once again be a destination. But the brand has also expanded across town with its purchase of the Montauk Yacht Club, now Gurney's Montauk Yacht Club & Resort (32 Star Island Rd.; 631-668-3100). There's also a Gurney's in Newport, Rhode Island, which is far . . . or is it? The resort is now running a seaplane shuttle between the properties if you want to hop. There are three seats per flight, $200 each, and the airfare needs to be booked before you begin your stay at either property (631-668-2345,

Party at Parrish

Perhaps not where you'd expect to find a social scene, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill hosts outdoor dance parties featuring live music ranging from jazz to bluegrass to Latin sounds. And don't forget, there's always lots of art to see, with fresh exhibitions slated for throughout the summer ($12; 631-283-2118,