The dance-floor-driven nightclub is all but extinct on Long Island. Enter smaller nightspots that pride themselves on the food they serve to the late-night bar crowd. Other new venues create a hipster social scene centered around an activity like painting or ice skating.
FOR CRAFT BEER, COCKTAILS — AND FOOD:
Vauxhall, 26 Clinton Ave., Huntington, 631-425-0222, vauxhallhuntington.com
Alas, even hipsters aren’t immune to aging out.
“This is a place for people who still want to get out, hear good music, eat good food and have great drinks — but not feel old,” says Eric Finneran, co-owner of the newly opened Vauxhall in Huntington. He and business partner Sal Mignano also own The Leaky Lifeboat in Seaford, a spot that regularly draws a young, hip crowd — but Finneran, 38, says, “I’m getting older, and people my age need a spot, too.”
Vauxhall is drawing a crowd of musicians, artists and people looking for an atmosphere with zero attitude and a wide selection of beers and cocktails.
“It’s the only place in town like this,” says musician Brian Byrne, 30 of Huntington, “I like that the vibe is relaxed, and heck, they play music from The Smiths.” The spot takes its name from the album “Vauxhall and I” from Morrissey, former lead singer of The Smiths — so expect a wide selection of alternative and indie music. “I would go as far as calling it ‘homey,’ ” says photographer Lauren Knaffo, 29, also of Huntington. “I’ve never met a person I don’t like in here.”
Good to know: Finneran is a vegan, and, as such, Vauxhall serves some meatless options as late as 2 a.m. “Our Black Bean Sweet Potato Burger is a major seller,” he says.
South Shore Dive, 65 Main St., West Sayville, 631-218-6500, southshoredive.com
From the owners of supercool hipster bar The Cortland in Bay Shore, the South Shore Dive puts much more emphasis on food (think oysters, veggie banh mi). Expect a laid-back, big-beard-friendly room where complicated cocktails and local beers pour inside, while black-and-white films are projected on the wall outside in the Dive’s semi-hidden courtyard. This month’s quirk: a make-your-own spiked hot chocolate bar on Sunday nights.
Good to know: The Dive serves its menu until 1 a.m., seven nights a week.
FOR BOOGIE SKATING:
Gurney’s Montauk, 290 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk Beach, 631-668-2345, gurneysmontauk.com
Forget the notion that the Hamptons are summer-only, as Gurney’s Montauk has launched an open-air ice rink on the roof of its Seawater Spa. The scene: You’re skating — the Atlantic crashing in the background — but you’re grooving to the party soundtrack spun by DJ Nicole Leone (2-6 p.m.). Is it cold? You betcha — this is Montauk in the winter — but there’s also a bar under a tent that serves adult beverages, including hot toddies and hot chocolate.
Good to know: Hours are noon-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Admission is $15, skate rental is $4.
Muse Paintbar, 837 Franklin Ave. in Garden City and 34 Middle Neck Rd. in Great Neck, musepaintbar.com
Paint nights are still big business — but Muse Garden City is dedicated to the marriage of art and night life. Here you’ll find what could be the best-lit bar you’ve ever seen serving craft beers, cocktails and wine to patrons who come to create their own canvas, painting with tips from an instructor.
“It’s my first time here, and I love it,” says Noliesa Miller, 35, a lawyer from East Northport who caved in to persuasion from friends to try painting a landscape. “My trees look terrible,” she admits, “but I’m having a really good time.”
Good to know: Another location is opening soon in Port Jefferson. Painting sessions generally cost $30-$40 and reservations are suggested. Open sessions are listed on the venue’s website and Facebook page.
FOR LIVE MUSIC:
The Tap Room, 1010 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park, 631-590-7030, taproommp.com
An offshoot of the bar in Patchogue by the same name, this new pub draws on the Park Boulevard bar scene near the Massapequa Park LIRR station. It features more than 40 beers and live bands on Friday and Saturday nights, drawing a casual crowd that tends to skew toward the younger end of the 20- and 30-something age range.