Maybe it was the economy, the ongoing Sandy recovery or plain coincidence, but 2013 has been a sleepy year for new nightspots -- until now. Suddenly, there are several new venues, each with its own twist on giving people a night out.
BIG CLUB ACTION
WHEN | WHERE After 10 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays, 246 Voice Rd., Carle Place
INFO 516-248-7600, lovenightclubli.com
THE SCENE Loud beats, dressy crowd, table service
The space formerly known as Sugar Dining Den and Social Club is back -- skipping the dining aspect, but doubling down on the social. There's a legit Manhattan dance club atmosphere here, courtesy of VIP areas, a dedicated dance floor, a large DJ booth with a top-of-the-line sound system and bottle service (as in, patrons purchase liquor by the bottle to mix drinks at their own pace).
Thursdays are shaping up to be a big deal, with celeb DJs like Chus+Ceballos (Thursday) and Danny Avila on Thanksgiving night. Saturday nights involve music that spans the gamut of freestyle, hip-hop and house music. Cover charges vary, but expect to spend $20-$25 at the door on Thursdays and $10-$15 on Saturdays.
CRAFT BEER, WINE, COFFEE
WHEN | WHERE 4-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 2 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays; noon-1 a.m. Saturdays; noon-10 p.m. Sundays, 127 E. Main St., Riverhead
THE SCENE Relaxed vibe, light entertainment, beverages galore
Consider it a "meeting of the minds" for folks who like libations as much as caffeine. Vines & Hops is a rare venue that pours highly rated wines, locally sourced craft beer and brewed coffee drinks. The space has comfy couch-like seating for lounging and tall tables built on wine casks near the long wooden bar. Patrons might turn up on a night when there's live acoustic music -- or merely a big sports game on the flat-screen TVs. Either way, it's an easy place to grab a drink and have a conversation -- and a seriously convenient pit stop if you happen to be hitting downtown biggies like the Long Island Aquarium or a show at the Suffolk Theater. Bites can be had in the form of small plates and desserts.
INDIE MUSIC HALL
WHEN | WHERE Grand opening Friday night at 10:30, 198 Broadway, Amityville
INFO 631-827-6537, Facebook.com
THE SCENE Creative, indie, hipster
From the same group that owns the quirky Leaky Lifeboat Inn bar in Seaford comes a cozy Suffolk space bent on giving alternative bands a place to showcase their work. Gone is the total dive-bar feel of the place -- a refurbishment delivered clean wooden floors, colorful walls and an upgraded stage with a beefed-up sound system. There are craft beers on tap from Blue Point and Great South Bay breweries, plus Angry Orchard hard cider. For now, the music hall is open only when there's a live gig scheduled. The bar marks its grand opening tonight with an after-10:30 party ($5 cover) by DJs Dorian Gray and Fotsbeats.
THE SPORTS BAR SEQUEL
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-4 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon- 4 a.m. Sundays, 451 Hawkins Ave., Ronkonkoma
INFO 631-588-9843, flanaganspub.net
ATMOSPHERE Pub with grub, sometimes club
An offshoot of the long-lived original Lily Flanagan's Pub in Babylon village, the Ronkonkoma outpost is a sparkling new spot for friendly conversation and Irish fare by evening, followed by late-night DJ dancing on weekends and -- of course -- a big crowd for football on Sundays.