Whether you crave clever cocktails, country nights or colossal TVs, you'll find it at a handful of new venues with lively bar scenes:
INFO 631-587-4400, monsoonny.com
WHEN TO GO 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursdays-Fridays
Primarily a restaurant, Monsoon is nonetheless drawing an after-dinner crowd to its expansive ground-level bar and lounge area. Housed in the historic Bank of Babylon building, the chic space is done up with contemporary Asian decor. The crowd generally ranges from mid-20s to over 50 -- and everyone is well-dressed. The real animation is on the cocktail menu, where specialties like the "Bloody Samurai" (chipotle vodka, tomato juice, wasabi and Thai hot sauce; $13) and "Babylon Express" (cucumber vodka, St. Germain, pineapple and lime juices; $13) are among the inventive options.
1270 Union Tpke. New Hyde Park
INFO 516-358-2222, kpacho.com
WHEN TO GO 4-7 p.m. happy hour Tuesdays-Fridays; bar open until 4 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays
This contemporary Mexican restaurant and lounge has taken over the space of the former Two Steak & Sushi Den. The room now has a regal-yet-earthy place, with exposed brick, burning candles and couches for lounging. Happy hour is a major event here -- the main deal being the $5 "Killer" margaritas. Beer, wine, tequilas and sangria can also be had, along with specialty cocktails such as the $11 "Saintly" (Avion Blanco tequila, Yellow Chartreuse liqueur and muddled limes with juice). DJs spin Thursday-Saturday nights -- patrons tends to be a mix of all ages (over 21).
1702 Middle Country Rd., Centereach
INFO 631-696-1111, middlecountrybeergarden.com
ADMISSION $10 cover charge for some events Friday-Saturday
WHEN TO GO 4 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays
The old Mulcahy's of Centereach is finding new life as a beer garden. And a fairly ambitious one at that, with several dozen ales, stouts and other brews by the bottle and on tap. The bar's side yard now contains an open-air bar and several wooden benches akin to a classic German "biergarten." As it was with Mulcahy's, Thursdays are busy with live country music and line-dancing. Expect a younger crowd (20s-30s) on Friday and Saturday nights, when DJs play club beats.
INFO 516-493-9030, eatatmothers.com
WHEN TO GO Daily; open until 2 or 4 a.m.
The sports bar-restaurant adds a blast of energy into the otherwise mostly nightlife-free Jericho Turnpike in Nassau. A three-sided bar separates the space into two rooms -- there are 50- and 100-inch televisions galore, plus a monster-size projection screen that broadcasts live games. Thursday is "Ladies Night" with half-price drinks for women beginning at 4 p.m. (a DJ starts at 8), while Fridays feature live bands after 10:30 p.m. So far, the largest crowds are coming on Saturday DJ nights -- mostly 20-somethings. The weekend winds down on Sunday evenings, when trivia contests start at 6.
160 Adams Ave., Hauppauge
WHEN TO GO 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, after 10 p.m. on Saturdays
The former Wobbly Olive has been rechristened as Barringtons. Although the main space is basically the same, an elevated area has been turned into a VIP room called The Sapphire Club that offers a more upscale approach. It's done up in hues of blue with its own flat-screen TVs and menu of $12 specialty martinis. However, the main nightlife draw remains in the larger main section, where there's a weekday happy hour, live acoustic music on Thursdays and Fridays (starting at 5:30 p.m.) -- and the ubiquitous Saturday night party starting at 10 p.m.