Surprise -- some of the hottest parties are frequented not by 20-somethings, but by men and women who have been a part of the late-night scene for decades. As far as they're concerned, clubs and bars remain necessary destinations. Here are five places where the over-30 set plays:
UPSCALE AND DRESSY
RARE650 650 Jericho Tpke., Syosset
INFO 516-496-8000, rare650.com
BEST NIGHT Thursdays after 9 p.m.
SCENE AND STYLE Trendy restaurant meets clubby lounge. Dress up.
On Thursday nights, DJ Sal spins and the dance area gets active as others hang outside on the cigar-friendly, sheltered patio. The bar is filled with patrons ages 40-60 in for cocktails or late-night bites. To look the part, think relaxed suits and fashionable button-ups for guys (there's nary a sneaker in sight here) and business wear or slinky dressy looks for women. "I like to get dressed up . . . that's my crowd," Tessa Van Riper, 44, a salon coordinator from East Northport, says on a recent night out with her friends.
BABYLON CARRIAGE HOUSE 21 Fire Island Ave., Babylon
INFO 631-422-5161, babyloncarriagehouse.com
BEST NIGHT Fridays starting at 10 p.m.
SCENE AND STYLE Casual restaurant turns into a pub with club panache.
DJs TJ and Claudio D have been delivering beats to Long Island dance floors for a long time, and the duo is a draw for people like Frankie Martinez of Setauket.
"You come here if you like to dance," says Martinez, 57, a retiree. His companion, Melissa Hayes, 48, also of Setauket agrees. "We're really picky when it comes to where we go to dance, so if we like it, you can bet it's good."
While half of the restaurant's barroom evolves into a packed dance floor, the bar itself is busy with guests -- mostly ages 30-60 in casual dress -- who come for drinks.
HONU KITCHEN & COCKTAILS 363 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO 631-421-6900, honukitchen.com
BEST NIGHT Weekends after 10 p.m.
SCENE AND STYLE Upscale stop for drinks
Honu is a drinks-at-the-bar situation. Or more likely, drinks near the bar, as hordes of people over 30 flock here to drink cocktails, hang and chat. Although it's not clubby, well-dressed is the right fit (think more Banana Republic, less Barney's).
MARIO'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT 212 Main St., East Setauket
INFO 631-751-8840, mariositalianrestaurantny.com
BEST NIGHT Fridays after 10 p.m.
SCENE AND STYLE North Shore hangout with a dedicated crowd.
The stretch of Route 25A between Port Jefferson and Huntington is mostly nightlife-free, but this Italian restaurant helps fill that gap with a bar that has drawn consistently for decades. "I've been coming here for 20 years," says Amy Donnelly, 47, of Setauket. "We always nightcap here . . . the staff is great." Friday nights get very packed -- if that's too daunting, head to the semiseparate room beyond the bar for some more breathing space to sip wine and chill out.
NEW PARTY ON THE BLOCK
FLANAGAN'S PUB 451 Hawkins Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma
INFO 631-588-9843, flanaganspub.net
BEST NIGHT Thursdays at 8 p.m.
SCENE AND STYLE Dance beats, minus the attitude
Both this location and its sibling in Babylon (Lily Flanagan's Pub) draw a mature crowd of regulars. In Lake Ronkonkoma, the bar recently added a dedicated weekly Thursday over-30 ladies night that already has devotees. "The staff is friendly, the music is great," says Michelle Lopez, 47, a haircutter from Holbrook. "I always have fun here."
Resident DJ Boogie gets good reviews, too. "We come here because we want to dance," says Maria Deesy, a 52- year-old holistic health care worker from Brookhaven who can't stop bobbing to the beat.