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From the archives: A look back at Boardy Barn as the Hampton Bays party spot turns 50

Talk about a classic: Boardy Barn has been

Talk about a classic: Boardy Barn has been serving the Hamptons party faithful since Richard Nixon was POTUS (1970!), yet their basic formula of 1) Come in 2) Be casual 3) Get wild is as popular as ever. Credit: Ian J. Stark

The Boardy Barn opened on April 16, 1970, making it a half-century old this year. The following article was originally published on June 16, 1994, with the headline "A Barn Out East for Weekend Revelers." It has not been updated.

We have a confession to make: Until last weekend, we'd never been to the Boardy Barn (270 W. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays, 728-5760). Of course, we'd heard of it: Opened in 1970, the white clapboard building on Montauk Highway has evolved over the decades into a must stop for young weekenders. So last Saturday, we dropped in to remedy once and for all this egregious gap in our recreational resume.

This past weekend's overcast skies were hardly a minus for the tented, weather-impervious Boardy Barn, which dominates that slice of afternoon between beach tanning and club hopping. (Hence its compact hours: Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m.) On a paved outdoor area that resembled a schoolyard, under blue-and-white-striped tenting, young men in flip-flops and their female counterparts in Daisy Duke cut-off shorts danced to infectious, retro party tunes like "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

The Boardy Barn does have an indoor bar, accented with a raggedy moose-head mount and a garland of sunglasses left behind by patrons over the last four weekends; by season's end, observed one staffer, the designer-eyewear chain will reach across the room. But most of the action at the Boardy Barn is outside, where patrons take part in one of its time-honored pastimes: beer tossing.

Now, don't get us wrong: The beefy bouncers who fan out among the crowd in bright-orange "Boardy Barn Staff" T-shirts are evidence enough that dousing one's neighbor is not exactly encouraged. But some patrons would agree that the mediocrity of the tap beer (the Boardy Barn does not sell bottled brews) is a powerful inducement.

"You have to eat a lot of bread before you get here, because this tap beer does weird things to your stomach," explained A.L., a 26-year-old from Elmont.

Her friend, 29-year-old Joan Mullins of Queens, added this was her eighth season as a Boardy Barn regular. Her one concession to age has been a refusal to stop here on Sundays, which is, hands down, the bar's busiest day. "If this was Sunday, it would be so crowded you wouldn't be able to walk," she observed.

But if you're a collegian, Saturdays have their advantage: Every week the Boardy Barn highlights an institute of higher learning, offering its students free admission after 6 p.m. and freebies to the first 150 partiers. Skipped this weekend because of Father's Day, the policy resumes next weekend with Manhattan College.

And because Saturdays are more laid-back, agreed 24-year-old Scott Hunzinger of Forest Hills, revelers have a little more leeway with beer-dousing - provided they learn a few techniques to evade the bouncers. "You flick the beer," he explained, dipping a few fingers into his plastic cup. "Or you shoot it through your teeth until a bouncer tells you to stop."

The brew-spewing lesson over, Hunzinger turned his attention to his friends, who had gathered to celebrate the impending marriage of 25-year-old Mike Missakian of Cleveland, originally of Deer Park. They were busy lining up for a makeshift game of limbo, using someone's woven-leather belt in place of a pole. Meanwhile, searching for a way to get his name in this story, best man Mike Vigliotti, 24, of Deer Park, displayed the one skill he had learned at the Boardy Barn: how to drink two beers at once, using a sort of cascading-fountain effect.

That reminded Hunzinger about the biggest Boardy Barn caveat: never dress to impress. "Don't wear your nicest shoes," he warned, gesturing to the sticky floor. "The Boardy Barn makes its own gravy." Admission to the Boardy Barn is $5 on Saturday and Sunday; $10 on holiday weekends.

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