A trip to Hawaii would be wonderful, but if you're looking for a more local version of a Polynesian night out, a smattering of tiki bars look the part. Frozen cocktails, open-air seating and tropical music are only the beginning. Some of these Pacific-themed venues go all out with beach volleyball and dancing, no grass skirt necessary.
FOR TRUE TIKI ATMOSPHERE
31 Baker Place, Patchogue, 631-475-1723
Talk about tiki overload - this riverside escape is well, paradise, with a white sand beach, palm trees, an outdoor dining area and stage for live music. The scene is mature (men must be over 30), with patrons coming for 3-6 p.m. happy hour most weekdays, if not for a full island-themed dinner menu. Thursdays-Sundays, there's live music and dancing in the sand after 6 p.m. ($10 cover), although everything quiets down by midnight.
GOOD FOR DINING OR DRINKS
10 Bayville Ave., Bayville, 516-628-2628
The outdoor deck at this nautically themed (and family friendly) restaurant is done up big with carved totem poles, masks and palm trees. Diners can take their meals outside with clear views of the Long Island Sound.
FOR THE BAR CROWD
325 River Ave., Patchogue, 631-207-0370
Thursday through Sunday nights, this bi-level bar and grill draws hoards of casually dressed 21- to 30-year-olds to its outdoor bars, which have thatched roofs supported by plastic bamboo. "This is an amazing place," says Matt Goldapper, 23, of Holbrook. "You never know who's going to show up." Spotted so far this summer: "Entourage" star Kevin Connolly and Angelo "Teary Tool" Giannakos from VH1's "Tool Academy 3."
43 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport, 516-223-5100
Come summer, the string of restaurants and bars along Freeport's Nautical Mile can be one continuous festive party. Landshark is among the smaller venues, but plenty of patrons pull up a stool to the long, open-air bar Wednesday-Sunday for $3 drafts and $4 margaritas until 7 p.m. Live bands and DJs often entertain the crowd, which ranges from patrons in their mid 20s to 40s.
INDOOR TIKI BARS
832 W. Beech St., 516-608-0018
The hang-10 culture in Long Beach is a fitting accompaniment to this laid-back local favorite, decked out with flowery paint and surfboards affixed to the walls. There's a big crowd for $1 tacos on Tuesdays.
140 Merrick Rd., Amityville, 631-264-7712
This intends to attract the post-college crowd with its raucous beer pong and Jell-O wrestling events. Still, the motif is a mix of tiki and surfer. DJs and bands play nightly, with the indoor bar serving up tropical cocktails such as the Shark Attack Punch ($12) (Stoli vodka, Blue Curacao, blueberry schnapps, lemonade and Sprite.