The buzz about the Hamptons being an exclusive and luxurious experience come summer is nothing new, but for those who travel past Amagansett on the long drive to "The End" -- Montauk, the last town before the ocean, the experience is markedly different.
There are still many expensive and upscale places to stay there, too, but the attitude in this surfer-favorite, laid-back, seafood-powered hamlet is ... well ... there really isn't "attitude" at all.
In fact, there's so little attitude that for those accustomed to venues having all sorts of rules on what it takes to enter, it can be downright confusing. Many of Montauk's flashiest establishments and hangs are so incredibly inviting.
For example, to visit the bar and restaurant at Surf Lodge (183 Edgemere St., 631-238-5216, thesurflodge.com), just show up -- which is wonderful, since this space has a lovely deck, a lounge featuring an endless loop of surfer movies and a view of Fort Pond Bay bar none (the only time it gets tricky is when there is a special event, for the crowds can be immense).
Another choice visit is the Solé East Resort (90 Second House Rd., Montauk, 631-668-2105, soleeast.com). There is a courtyard equipped with summer furniture and a backyard restaurant and bar that is open to guests and nonguests alike.
As it turns out, an owner of Solé East has helped organize a massive concert. The MTK: Music To Know Festival, will feature a roster of popular indie bands. The two-day event takes place Aug. 13-14 in East Hampton -- but warm-up shows have already begun at Solé. These are called the "MTK Acoustic Sun Sets," with bands coming to play the large-yet-intimate square behind the hotel every Saturday at about 7 p.m. (or sometime near 7 p.m., for as mentioned earlier, this is the "Montauk way.")
For the Saturday, July 9 session, the Grammy-winning dance band Dirty Vegas will take a turn. These performances are absolutely free to attend (there are beds for six people in the VIP area for $600), and to do so, one must only RSVP.
For those not used to how relaxed things are out here, this is how it's done:
Go to musictoknow.com/join-us-dirty-vegas-this-saturday-july-9. There you will be prompted to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "MTK Acoustic Sun Sets" in the subject heading and your name plus the date you want to attend in the body.
In case you're worried about getting lost in an inbox or feeling like the email isn't working, there's another way: Post a comment on the page, then watch for an eventual response from the MTK webmaster. If there is still space, you'll see a return comment online that will tell you things like "done," "we got you covered" and "come enjoy the evening." (In fact, one response to a question on how many people could come together is "Bring all of them, it's fine. Enjoy it!")
As I said earlier: So incredibly inviting.