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Hamptons hot spots in the off-season

Three friends talk over drinks at the bar

Three friends talk over drinks at the bar at Phao in Sag Harbor. (Feb. 13, 2010) Photo Credit: David Pokress

The droves of celebrities, moguls and other seasonal visitors to the Hamptons might keep their distance in the winter months, but true East Enders know the off-season brings its own atmosphere - and it's not all quiet.

Cozy indoor lounges replace beach bars. Film series and more intimate live music concerts diversify the area's nightlife options. Here's a look at some winter-season hotspots.

LIVE TUNES

The Stephen Talkhouse: Fridays and Saturdays, 161 Main St., Amagansett, 631-267-3117, stephentalkhouse.com. Admission: Usually $5-$10.

The Hamptons mainstay is a year-round destination for live music on the East End. The difference - the winter schedule brings in acts that vary from bar bands to big acts. The East End venue's spirited "Battle of the Bands" competition. Local bands face off over several nights of competition that culminates in finals April 23-24.

Long Island Winterfest: Various East End wineries, through March 31, liwinterfest.com

If jazz is more your thing, Long Island Winterfest is bringing live acts in to play free concerts at various East End wineries - including Wölffer Estates Vineyard in Sagaponack.

UPSCALE COCKTAILS

Copa Wine & Tapas95 School St., Bridgehampton, 631-613-6469, copawineandtapas.com

This rustic but bustling European wine bar has almost unheard-of winter season hours in the Hamptons - it's open until 3 a.m. all week. There are plenty of wines by the class, plus a menu of small plates. Besides weekday happy hour, there's live lounge music after 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Exile: 231 Main St., Amagansett, 631-267-6399

The bar and lounge area at this newly opened restaurant is already drawing a crowd on the weekends. The sleek room has tealight candles and big oil paintings.

NIGHTLIFE

Phao: 29 Main St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-0101, senrestaurant.com

Sister to Sen Restaurant just down the block, Phao is a Thai eatery that morphs into a nightspot after dinnertime. You'll find a crowd for karaoke on Thursdays around 10 p.m. and jazz after 9:30 p.m. on Fridays. DJ-style music spins after 11 p.m. every Saturday.

Blue Sky Mediterranean Lounge: 63 Main St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-1810, blueskysagharbor.com

The Blue Sky Mediterranean Lounge hosts international dance music after 9 p.m. on Fridays.

BARS

Southampton Publick House52 N. Sea Rd., Southampton, 631-283-2800, publick.com

The brewhouse offers a more casual setting that often includes live acts and DJ music in its taproom, along with its menu of microbrewed ales and lagers. The crowd is reliably steady - and sociable.

Buckleys Inn Between: 139 W. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays, 631-728-7197

Craving a rowdier scene? Buckleys Inn Between has the rolicking sort of summer bar crowd so often associated with the Hamptons - a blasting jukebox, wall-to-wall people and a jammed parking lot. It makes it hard to imagine how anyone could suggest the Hamptons shut down in the wintertime.

MORE: Complete Hamptons coverage

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